Saturday on the Couch – Let Sleeping Characters Lie!

Nov 05, 2016

I do wish the current craze for resurrecting past literary heroes and heroines would cease.

I have read a number of books from the nineteenth and twentieth century, enjoyed them and re-read some. I truly do not want them updated or new adventures imagined for them.

Agatha Christie was a prolific writer and her characters of Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot are much loved. There have been many fine adaptions of the works featuring this characters for the stage, film and television. I’m all for adaptions. However, I recently finished ‘Closed Casket’ by Sophie Hannah, a new adventure for Poirot. This is the second Poirot by Ms Hannah and she has the blessing and cooperation of the Christie family. The setting –country house, family rivalries, the denouement where all is explained by Poirot are all there and it’s a good read. But it’s not Christie.Agatha

Jeeves and Bertie Wooster are another couple who have been successfully adapted to stage, film and television. Sebastian Faulks, a noted writer himself, tackled a further Jeeves, but as PG Wodehouse published ninety six books about Jeeves and Wooster, I hardly think the world needed one more.

JeevesJane Austen’s six novels have been successfully adapted to stage and screen, and I’m sure fans of the books all have their favourite adaptation. I saw a lovely exhibition in Bath featuring costumes from various productions. In recent years, the novels were re-set and imagined by writers whose own works I admire –people like Joanna Trollope and Alexander McCall Smith. While these were entertaining, I didn’t think they were either Austen or the authors. For about $2 I downloaded on kindle an execrable account of Mr Darcy sowing his wild oats in London. Fortunately, the title and author escape me.

Pride & Prej‘Clueless’ is supposed to be a modern twist on ‘Emma’ and Bridget Jones on ‘Pride and Prejudice’. These have been wildly popular and ‘Clueless’ and ‘Emma’ were at one stage set for comparative study in one strand of the HSC English course in NSW.  Bridget Jones is pulling them in at the cinemas at the moment.

Me, I like the originals. I like the spinoffs, too, but for their own sakes.

There are some marvellously talented new works being published that don’t rely on the previous pulling power of older writers.

Let’s foster originality.

The books mentioned in this blog, and other titles by their authors, are available from Dymocks


Leave your comment

Please sign in to post a comment.
Retrieving conversation…
Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up