• ‘[H]andsome, clever, and rich’: Andrew Davies’ Emma (1996)

    Ana Daniela Coelho (see profile)
    Austen, Jane, 1775-1817, Motion picture authorship
    Item Type:
    Andrew Davies, Adaptation, Jane Austen, Screenwriting
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    Jane Austen (1775–1817) is not only a paradigmatic example in adaptation studies but also one of the most complex cultural phenomena of our times. The countless adaptations in various media and a seemingly never-ending interest in everything Austen-related have led to a popular construction of both Austen and her work that is equally defined by the existing body of adaptations and subsequent new recreations. Although academics in the field are now exploring this and other related phenomena, scholarly attention is rarely bestowed on the role of the screenwriter in the process. This article explores the importance of such role by considering Andrew Davies, whose work on Austen and in other heritage adaptations is proof of how one screenwriter’s vision has contributed to the contemporary image of Austen. In particular, I focus my attention on Emma/Emma, whom Jane Austen reportedly described as ‘a heroine no one but myself will much like’. My article aims at discussing the importance of the screenwriter in modelling Emma’s character to modern audiences. Especially known for BBC’s Pride and Prejudice (1995), his work on ITV’s Emma (1996) is just as meaningful and even more challenging, if less recognized. By analysing Davies’ Emma/Emma I will argue how his interpretation influenced subsequent adaptations of the 1816 novel and heroine, thus reshaping them for a twenty-first-century audience.
    This work was funded under the FCT PhD grant (SFRH/BD/103250/2014) (c) [Coelho, 2017] The definite, peer-reviewed and edited version of this article is published in Journal of Adaptation in Film & Performance, 10: 1, pp. 29–41, 2017, https://doi.org/10.1386/jafp.10.1.29_1
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    4 years ago
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