Why does Farmer Boldwood keep so many time-pieces on the mantel-shelf of his dining-room in J. Schlesinger’s film adaptation of T. Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd?

Abstract : The main purpose of this article is to try and overcome the time-worn polarity fidelity/betrayal by which the issue of film adaptation is often plagued. We would like to call viewer-response criticism the taking into account of the spectator's cultural, artistic and hermeneutic horizon of expectancy, which implies that the film adaptation of a literary text should be taken as yet another reading: “Le cinéma est une lecture” (Renaud Dumont). But it may also be argued that literary texts, in turn, contain a wealth of cinematic material, as David Lodge has shown in a ground-breaking article on Hardy. If film adaptation is a reading of its own, cinema may well be written into 19th century literary texts. A good case in point is John Schlesinger’s 1967 adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd (1874). Schlesinger's and Raphael's reshuffling of the textual economy and chronology, their introduction of replays and slow motions, especially during the Market-Place sequence where Farmer Boldwood (Peter Finch) is the key focalizer, is a means of highlighting optical devices and cinematic metaphors to be found in Hardy's text. A key scene is studied at length, that of Boldwood gazing at the Valentine on the mantel-piece of his dining-room, while so many (too many) clocks tick around the place. Schlesinger's reading and interpretation of the verb to strike and other time-related words to be found in Hardy's text thus amplify and distort the letter of the text (in which only one time-piece is mentioned), but also highlight and emphasize significant aspects of the novel, like ocular fascination and Hardy's ambivalent conception of time as striking death into human lives or, on the contrary, extending the freedom of space.
Type de document :
Article dans une revue
Babel : Littératures plurielles, La Garde : Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines - Université de Toulon et du Var, 2011, pp.61--75. 〈10.4000/babel.148〉
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https://hal-univ-tln.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01326922
Contributeur : Cécile Ferran <>
Soumis le : lundi 6 juin 2016 - 10:40:05
Dernière modification le : mardi 11 octobre 2016 - 11:57:20

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Jean-Pierre Naugrette. Why does Farmer Boldwood keep so many time-pieces on the mantel-shelf of his dining-room in J. Schlesinger’s film adaptation of T. Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd?. Babel : Littératures plurielles, La Garde : Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines - Université de Toulon et du Var, 2011, pp.61--75. 〈10.4000/babel.148〉. 〈hal-01326922〉

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