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David Monaghan will talk about “The Adaptor as Author in Andrew Davies’s Sense and Sensibility” at our next JASNA Nova Scotia meeting on Sunday, May 6th at 2pm. Dr. Monaghan is Professor Emeritus at Mount Saint Vincent University here in Halifax, and his most recent book is The Cinematic Jane Austen (2009). His talk is based in part on interviews he conducted with Davies.

Laurel Ann Nattress of Austenprose and Vic Sanborn of Jane Austen’s World reviewed Davies’s adaptation of Sense and Sensibility in 2008, and both of them raise questions about changes and added scenes in the film. “Overall, this is nice stuff,” writes Nattress, “but why can’t these movie makers ever get it right? Is Austen to be forever edited, misinterpreted, misapplied, rewritten, and in this case sexed up?” The question of what constitutes a successful adaptation is complex and endlessly fascinating, as evidenced by these and other reviews, by the many books and articles on the topic, and by the many discussions among fans of Austen’s novels and fans of the films inspired by them.

You can find JASNA’s guide to Jane Austen on Film here: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that the book is always better than the movie, but what fun we have watching those movies!” The JASNA guide includes a list of on-line articles about film adaptations of Sense and Sensibility.

If you haven’t already seen Davies’s S&S, you might want to watch that one in the next couple of weeks, and perhaps also the 1995 Ang Lee/Emma Thompson S&S. As always, please let me know if you’d like to attend and I’ll send you directions.

Come and join the conversation with David on May 6th about adapting Austen — and/or leave your opinion here about what you think of the film adaptations of S&S, and about what you look for in adaptations of Austen’s novels. What do you think about the question of fidelity to Austen’s plot and dialogue — and to her satire? Do the films enrich your experience of Austen’s novels? What do you think of the addition of the sex scene that opens Davies’s adaptation of Sense and Sensibility?