The French Lieutenant’s Woman

As the research assistant for this class, I am going to be looking for as many adaptations as I can find of our test cases, and posting about them on this blog.  I will also be putting the things I find on reserve in the library whenever possible.  First up is The French Lieutenant’s Woman.  A similar post for Wuthering Heights will follow.

 

• Fowles’s text draws on the 1823 novel Ourika by the French writer Claire de Duras.  Fowles also produced a translation of Ourika in 1977.  I don’t think The French Lieutenant’s Woman would generally be considered an adaptation, but for the sake of completeness I have requested that both the original Ourika and Fowles’s translation be put on on reserve.  Here is an article about the relation of the two novels:

Rewriting Women’s Stories: “Ourika” and “The French Lieutenant’s Woman”

Doris Y. Kadish

South Atlantic Review , Vol. 62, No. 2 (Spring, 1997), pp. 74-87

Published by: South Atlantic Modern Language Association

Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.gc.cuny.edu/stable/3200841

 

• The most well-known adaptation of The French Lieutenant’s Woman is the 1981 film directed by Karel Reisz with a screenplay by Harold Pinter, and starring Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons.

 

• YouTube has a bunch of videos of people reciting Streep’s “You cannot understand because you are not a woman” monologue from the 1981 film:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0LeV7SNOqo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tbxk8–Qf2c

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwNM1LUiBDw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBw-9hjzYuw

 

• The novel was also adapted for the stage by Mark Healy.  The first production of this adaptation (as far as I can tell) was in Lancaster, PA in 2003, directed by Kate Saxon.  A subsequent production toured England in 2006, also directed by Kate Saxon but with a different cast and different set/costume designers.  There were also at least two productions in New Zealand, in 2007 and 2010.  Healy’s script does not appear to have been published, but a number of reviews of the performances can be found online:

http://articles.philly.com/2003-02-05/news/25449717_1_john-fowles-french-lieutenant-s-woman-novel

http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-9165310.html

http://www.britishtheatreguide.info/reviews/frenchlw-rev

http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/1007734.0/?act=login

This is all I was able to find about the NZ productions:

http://www.manalittletheatre.org/frenchLieutenantsWoman.html

http://www.wellingtonrepertory.org.nz/old%20images/the_french_lieutenants_woman.jpg

 

• BBC Radio 7 produced a two-part radio play of The French Lieutenant’s Woman in 2009.  Here is BBC’s (not very informative) Web site for the program:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00hkl28

Here is an extract: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5V_I9a1jrTQ

There are some bootleg copies of the entire play floating around on the Internet.  It doesn’t appear to be available legally anywhere.

 

• Around the same time that the radio play came out, BBC and MGM were talking about producing a TV miniseries of the novel:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/4601318/BBC-in-talks-to-remake-The-French-Lieutenants-Woman.html

http://news.oneindia.in/2009/02/13/bbc-in-talks-to-remake-classic-film-the-french-lieutenants.html

Nothing seems to have come of it.

 

• Someone made this “summary” of the novel using dolls:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUblzVPcPOo

 

• A musical group called Thumpermonkey recorded a track called “How I Wrote the French Lieutenant’s Woman”.  It is constructed around what seems to be a recording of Fowles talking about his experiences while writing the novel, although it is not clear whether it is really him.  It is available here:

http://thumpermonkey.bandcamp.com/album/pigheart-2

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