Dear Readers,

I now consider this blog to be my Juvenelia. Have fun perusing the archives, and find me at my new haunt, here.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Cranford--The PBS Mini-Series, Part I

How awesome is it that PBS is putting the BBC's awesome-making production of Cranford online? This way I got to watch the end of Dexter, season 1 last night and still indulge myself in an orgy of Victorian nostalgia and sentiment today. By the end of part 1, with its many ominous doctor's visits and tears, I was sitting on my couch, laptop perched on lap, bawling.

Seriously, how could you not like this mini-series? It's the Beeb at its best--beautifully shot , thoughtfully scored, perfectly acted without being a caricature. It takes Gaskell's meandering book and twines it together with some of her other novellas, adds some heft, and voila! Mini-series magic.

The reviews have been totally positive, even glowing, with one exception: Ginia "feminism is dead" Bellafante at the Times, who concludes

"The impulse to produce “Cranford” stemmed, I would guess, from an understanding of it as a treatise of feminism little known beyond the world of women’s studies. But adapting “Cranford” only highlights how tenuous its feminist message really is. What single life does to women, apparently, is turn them into dithering twits. And the series only reminds us that what constitutes a happy ending is the attention of a good-looking and prosperous man."

Seriously Gina, are you the same woman who declared HEIDI F-ING MONTAG of "The Hills," a feminist hero? Obviously, you, Gina, are the twit! The novel is steeped in irony, and Gaskell isn't a feminist by our contemporary standards anyway. She is a proto-pseudo-feminist, and an interesting one at that. The film satirizes the aging process and has nothing but positive things to say about sisterhood. The novel's most touching moments are when the ladies band together to help their neighbors. Several of its heroines are spinsters by choice. Stop trying to read stuff that's 150 years old into a modern framework! As the ladies of Cranford would say, "This is highly irregular."

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