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:
• 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:
This is all I was able to find about the NZ productions:
• 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:
Here is an extract:
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:
Nothing seems to have come of it.
• Someone made this “summary” of the novel using dolls:
• 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: