Flashback Friday: George Eliot: A Scandalous Life

Drawing outside of the lines requires a backbone and a belief that you can withstand the questions and the judgment coming from those around you.

The writer George Eliot was one of those people. The 2002 television program, George Eliot: A Scandalous Life, is a television biopic of the author. Starring Harriet Walter in the title role, this hour-long drama tells Eliot’s story. The daughter of a clergyman, she was a rebel at a young age. Knowing that her looks would not secure her a husband, the future writer then known as Mary Ann Evans decided to blaze her own path. That included writing books that would scandalize Victorian England and living in sin with her married boyfriend, George Henry Lewes (John Sessions).

I personally enjoyed this program. But I am a fan of Eliot. Overall I would say that it is worth watching, but only if the viewer is curious about this period or has read George Eliot’s books.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Flashback Friday-The Governess

Sometimes, in life, it is the challenges the define us.

In the 1998 movie, The Governess, Rosina da Silva (Minnie Driver) is the daughter of a privileged Sephardi  Jewish family. When her father dies, she takes a position as a governess in the home of Charles Cavendish (Tom Wilkinson).  Mr. Cavendish’s wife (Harriet Walter) takes little notice of her husband’s work.  Rosina, under the name of Mary Blackchurch, has an affair with her employer while his teenage son, Henry (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) also starts to look differently at his sister’s governess.

I enjoy this movie. It is quiet, simple British indie drama was a top notch cast and a story that draws the audience in.

Do I recommend this movie? Yes.

The Friendly Jane Austen- Friendly Indeed

To those of her time, Jane Austen seemed to have lived an unremarkable life. She was the youngest daughter of a country rector. She never married or had children. During her lifetime, her books were published anonymously as “A Lady”. ¬†Northanger Abbey, her first completed novel and Persuasion, her last completed novel, were published posthumously.

Why is it that a woman seemed to have lived an unremarkable life during her own time period, is still discussed and debated nearly 200 years after her death? Natalie Tyler’s 1999 book, The Friendly Jane Austen¬†answers this question.

Through interviews with academics, writers and performers who have acted in the various adaptions, Ms. Tyler makes Jane Austen as vibrant and alive as she was 200 years ago.

I bought this book at a used book store. I didn’t expect to find it, but it was too tempting to not purchase.

I loved this book. Some Jane Austen related books are written only for the Janeite fan community, an newbie or an outsider might find those books to be boring and unreadable. But not this book. The interviewees include writer Fay Weldon and actress Harriet Walter (Fanny Dashwood in the 1995 Sense and Sensibility). This book is for everyone, whether they be a newbie or a long time Janeite or anyone who is curious about her novels.

My favorite part of the novel was the quizzes. Ms. Tyler creates multiple quizzes, asking the reader what type of Jane they might be and asking them to guess the quotes from the various novels.

I highly recommend this book.

 

 

 

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