Seeing Hardy

Film and Television Adaptations of the Fiction of Thomas Hardy


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About the Book

“Great authors” are increasingly being encountered by general audiences and critics thanks to films and television programs that have been adapted from their best-known works. Thomas Hardy is one of those authors. His work has inspired filmmakers from the silent age and modern times.
This book is the first book-length study in what has become a growing field of interest in film adaptations of Hardy’s novels. Part One of this book analyzes the popular image of Hardy and his work, the reproduction of this image in film adaptations, and critical stereotypes about him and his fiction. Part Two juxtaposes Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd and Schlesinger’s adaptation, Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Polanski’s adaptation, and Hardy’s Jude the Obscure and Winterbottom’s adaptation. Each discussion of the novel and adaptation in question considers the novel itself, the critical history of the novel, how it has been adapted to film, and how the individual filmmakers have struggled with problems inherent in Hardy’s novels. Part Three analyzes adaptations of The Woodlanders, The Scarlet Tunic, and The Claim, all of which have scarcely been seen in the United States or which were not distributed in the United States, and four television movies and miniseries that were based on Hardy’s work.

About the Author(s)

Paul J. Niemeyer is an assistant professor of English at Texas A & M International University in Laredo. He is also a vice-president of the Thomas Hardy Association, for which he directs a film web page. He lives in Laredo, Texas.

Bibliographic Details

Paul J. Niemeyer
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 308
Bibliographic Info: photos, appendices, notes, filmography, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2003
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1429-1
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8135-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION: Seeing Hardy, Knowing Hardy     1

PART ONE : Filming Hardy

1 “Strange Business”: Thomas Hardy, the Cinema, and the Critics     13

2 What You See Is More Than What You Get: The Problem of Adapting Hardy to Film   34

PART TWO : Filmed Hardy

3 Far from the Madding Crowd: How Schlesinger Contained the Uncontainable   59

4 Tess by Hardy, Tess by Polanski: Convergence and Fulfillment    94

5 Hardy’s Jude the Obscure and Winterbottom’s Jude     147

PART THREE: Hardy in Other Forms

6 The Lesser Known Hardy Adaptations: The Woodlanders, The Scarlet Tunic, and The Claim     189

7 “Moments of Television”: Thomas Hardy Is Brought to You By     206

POSTSCRIPT: Hardy on the Horizon     241


A: The “Lost” Hardy Adaptations (1913–1953)     247

B: Film Adaptations of Hardy (1967–2000)     256

C: Television Adaptations of Hardy’s Works     261

Notes      267

Works Cited     289

Index      293

Book Reviews & Awards

“Paul Niemeyer should first of all be congratulated on producing the first systematic book-length study of the film and television adaptations of Hardy’s fiction…lively, well-structured and clearly argued…well presented…contains much interesting information about the history of filming Hardy during this period…well worth reading”—Thomas Hardy Association; “substantial”—Nineteenth-Century Literature.