August 2nd, 2015
|06:32 pm - Thinly Veiled Versions of Other Works, Post #45|
Tonight is the American airing of the last episode of Poldark Series One. I'll watch it tomorrow or the next day via PBS Online; I can't say that I'm particularly invested in this version, not like I was as a v.v. young girl mooning over Robin Ellis' Ross and Angharad Rees' Demelza. However, I am keeping up. Ish.
But I found myself thinking today about the first time I 'remember' reading a genre novel which referenced in disguise a real-world popular text. (I say 'remember' because I could easily have read one before this.) Anyway, a couple of years after the airing of the original Poldark on Masterpiece Theater, my mother brought back a Harlequin/Mills and Boon romance from the used-bookshop: Jacqueline Gilbert's Scorpio Summer, published in the US in 1980 and the UK in 1979. I read it, as I read voraciously all manner of text -- if something had words, I consumed them -- and found myself delighted by the book's very thinly veiled version of Poldark.
As I learned later upon searching out used-bookshops across this fair land, Gilbert wrote more than half a dozen romances set in a loosely connected world of English drama; most of the books either had as a setting a (fictional) town with a very good regional theatre, and/or an appearance by one of the Raynor family (two generations of luvvies; Charles the patriarch, Julian the youngest son, Matthew the middle son who gets his own romance) or marrieds artistic director Adam and former assistant stage manager Liz Carlyon. Julian Raynor shows up in Scorpio Summer to play the lead in a historical TV drama set in 18th-century Cornwall.
He's not the hero, though; that honor goes to Felix, the director of the TV series. The heroine of the novel is Frances, the actress playing the female lead -- and if there is any doubt that Gilbert was referencing Poldark, it's emphasized that our heroine Frances has auburn hair, which is necessary for the character she plays in the series. Yep, she's playing Demelza-by-another-name.
The filming of the series takes up about half of the novel; the description of the work is very unromantic, in fact, as is Gilbert's wont. (I'm convinced Gilbert was either a jobbing actress or a behind-the-scenes tech, because she grounds that aspect of the novels in deftly drawn mundanity.) This is also the only romance novel -- or novel, full-stop -- I've ever read that has as a plot-point a character deciding whether or not to take a role in a new Tom Stoppard play. ;)
[Note: according to the timeline of Kelly Faircloth's great overview of Harlequin/Mills and Boon, this book was written and published before the change in editorial rules about unmarried couples having sex, by which I mean Frances and Felix don't. It is frankly the most unbelievable part of the novel.]
So it got me thinking. Have you read a novel that uses a thinly veiled version of another text? I can think of a lot of books which explicitly reference other words, but not quite like this.
May you enjoy whatever works you come across, veiled or clearly marked, in the next few days. :)
I can't think of any off hand. In the author note for The Not-World Thomas Burnett Swann said he used Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart's characters in The African Queen as models for his characters, but that's no where near the same thing. It did make me seek the movie out, though, and that led to my watching as many other classic Hollywood movies as were aired on network TV back then.
Hmmm -- your example is close but not quite, yes. And what a great result! :)
Hugs and old movies, my friend!
That novel sounds pretty great.
Scorpio Summer's hero (who is suave and dryly funny and totally my type) needs to Use His Words -- there's a Big Misunderstanding that could have been cleared up much earlier, although the novel does provide reasons he doesn't say anything sooner -- and the resolution of the love story is problematic, due to the Mills and Boon editorial requirements. But the epilogue is utter delight. :)
:drive by hugs:
oh, and a nice glass of iced tea. :)
Hugs and iced tea right back! :)
Hmmm, that sounds like a fun read...at the moment I can't think of any such referential text from my past, but I do remember watching the original Parent Trap with Hayley Mills and recognizing the plot to a children's book set in Germany I'd had out of the library some years earlier. THe book was called "Lise and Lotte" to the best of my recollection, but I doubt Disney gave it any credit...
::waves feebly after an exciting week of local fires that have subsided at last::
The book is very light, but it's diverting. :)
Oh, I hadn't realized The Parent Trap was an adaptation! The More You Know....
Hugs hugs and NO FIRES. I hope your garage build continues apace.
In re the garage, we await the first inspection this morning of the new additional support structures.
We persevere, yes?
I found the modern Poldark terribly sanitised compared to both the books and the 1970s TV series. Still, at least it wasn't the ITV series of which we shall speak no more.
I saw a bit of that ITV series. You are correct: it should not be spoken of.
Cheers to you, and a good start to your week!