Jane Austen's worldwide popularity is not least due to the remaking of her novels for the visual media. Of the fifty-odd Austen related productions since 1938, forty-three of them adapt her novels to the various screens of cinema, television, computer and tablet. However, her attraction for film-makers is undoubtedly promoted by her own qualities. As a novelist, Jane Austen has been particularly recognized for her ironic voice, which dominates all her stories and gives the readers a peculiar perspective on her world. Do film-makers want this, and if so, how do they transmit her attitude of amused distance? In the present book, Marie N. Sorbo investigates the function and targets of irony in two novels and seven films. Irony and Idyll is the first book-length study of Austen's irony since 1952, and the only comparative analysis of all the available screen adaptations of Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park. On the bicentenary of their publication, these novels continue to influence modern culture.
Marie Nedregotten Sorbo has taught English literature at Volda University College, Norway, for many years, including courses on film and fiction. For her doctoral degree she wrote a dissertation on the reception of Jane Austen on screen. Sorbo has contributed the Norwegian chapters to the volumes on The Reception of Jane Austen in Europe (2007) and The Reception of George Eliot in Europe (forthcoming, 2015). She was part of the leadership of the European COST Action "Women Writers in History" (2009-13), and is a Principal Investigator in the HERA funded project "Travelling TexTs 1790-1914: The Transnational Reception of Women's Writing at the Fringes of Europe" (2013-16).
Illustrations Acknowledgements Introduction: Responses to Austen's Novels Part I: Pride and Prejudice Chapter One: The Novel: Austen's Ironic Voice Chapter Two: The Novel: Courtship Couched in Irony Chapter Three: The 1940 Film: Old England Invoked Chapter Four: The 1980 Miniseries: Faithful to the Feminist Perspective? Chapter Five: The 1995 Miniseries: Faithful to the Female Audience Chapter Six: The 2005 Film: Everybody Loves the Bennet Family Part II: Mansfield Park Chapter Seven: The Novel: Class and Patriarchy Undermined Chapter Eight: The Novel: Marriage as a Game of Speculation Chapter Nine: The 1983 Miniseries: The Beauty of Tradition Chapter Ten: The 1999 Film: Aiming for Austen's Voice Chapter Eleven: The 1999 Film: The Targets of Irony - Racism, Sexism and Class Chapter Twelve: The 2007 TV Film: "Some Much Needed Sizzle" Conclusion: The Voice of Irony and the Urge for Idyll Filmography Bibliography Index