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Love and Author-ity vs. Existential Freedom. In The French Lieutenant's Woman. Outline. Starting Questions General Introduction – FLW ; in relation to the other texts discussed The Film – plot (1): social conventions ; Sarah’s attempts to win freedom meta-filmic techniques

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Love and author ity vs existential freedom

Love and Author-ity vs. Existential Freedom

In The French Lieutenant's Woman


Outline
Outline

  • Starting Questions

  • General Introduction –FLW; in relation to the other texts discussed

  • The Film –

    • plot (1): social conventions; Sarah’s attempts to win freedom

    • meta-filmic techniques

    • plot (2): “freedom” vs. involvement

    • the endings --Romantic love vs. emptiness

  • The Novel

    • Chap 13 – the Author and his Characters’ Freedom

    • The Endings – Characters in a Changing World

    • The Two Endings – Romantic love vs. Existential Freedom


Starting questions
Starting Questions

  • What does the title mean? How is Sarah presented? Is she in any way similar to the other 19th-century female characters we have discussed so far (Ada, Edith, Antoinette, etc.)?

  • What do you think about the different endings (of the film, and the novel)? Which do you like better? What types of love are presented in the text(s)?


General introduction the novel 1969 vs film 1981

Novelist: John Fowles

Intrusive and Self-Reflexive narrator

discusses Victorian society (like realist narrator)

his views of Sarah, the characters and writing (e.g. chap 13)

goes into the novel and take the same train Charles takes

Brushed off like “a peck of dust” by Charles

Screenplay: Harold Pinter

Director: Karel Reisz

double plotline

Sarah / Anna

Charles Smithson/ Mike

Meta-Filmic Techniques (later) –film shooting and acting rehearsal

General Introduction: The Novel (1969) vs. Film (1981)


Texts re conventions and social discourses
Texts re. Conventions and Social Discourses

  • Women in the 19th-century Patriarchal Society: confinement or radical self-assertion

    • Angelina in "The Trial of Love“

    • Edith in "Snowed Up“

    • Antoinette in WWS – fragmentation and fatalism

    • * Ada in The Piano –muteness, piano and sex

    • * Sarah in FLW -- self-assumed role of “whore”

  • Women in the modern age (and for Modernist writers): confinement and symbolization

    • Isabel as a mother and wife in "The Blind Man“; Eveline as a daughter in “Eveline”

    • Daisy in The Great Gatsby; the lady in “Prufrock”

  • In postwar and contemporary America (capitalist society) confinement, self-construction and/or compromise

    • Jane in “Faces of Madness”; Girl Interrupted

    • the mother and daughter in The American Beauty


Texts re conventions and social discourses 2
Texts re. Conventions and Social Discourses (2)

  • Men in the 19th-century Patriarchal Society: class/race distinction, antagonism and gender privilege

    • Ippolito in "The Trial of Love“

    • The three men in "Snowed Up“

    • New and old Mr. Mason in WWS

    • Stewart vs. George in The Piano

    • * Charles’s growth in FLW –from a gentleman to an exile

  • Men in the modern age (and for Modernist writers): wandering or self-accomplishment

    • Frank the sailor in “Eveline”

    • Gatsby in The Great Gatsby; Prufrock in “Prufrock” –failed because of social corruption

    • Maurice "The Blind Man” – successful in private encounter

  • In postwar and contemporary America (capitalist society) self-realization or living in fiction and/or compromise?

    • Norman in Psycho; William in “Faces of Madness” –schizophrenic or wish fulfillment

    • Lester and Ricky in The American Beauty – beauty redefined as?

    • Coleman in The Human Stain --boundaries crossed?


Conventions and social discourses in flw film
Conventions and Social Discourses in FLW (film)

Victorian Society: social propriety vs. sexual release

-- morality vs. science: Mrs. Poulteney (31:30)

-- those beyond bounds in Lyme Regis–

  • Boys and girls going out to Undercliff.

  • Sarah – “Poor Tragedy”—Grogan; Dairyman: “But she be no lady. She be the French lieutenant's whore.


Conventions and social discourses in flw film1
Conventions and Social Discourses in FLW (film)

Victorian Society: social propriety = hypocrisy & social inequality (18:32)

-- those beyond bounds in London –

  • In 1865, it is estimated there were 80,000 prostitutes in the county of London.“

  • One brothel in every 60 houses in London.

  • Working class women


Conventions and social discourses in flw film 2
Conventions and Social Discourses in FLW (film) --2

-- Marriage and Class: Charles marrying into trade

e.g. –dowry; Ernestina Freeman ("exactly the right face for the age--small-chinned, oval, delicate as a violet" novel)

  • signs of mobility: Sam and Mary;

  • Signs of change: Charles (1:39:45) and (later) the Pre-Raphaelite for Sarah


Conventions and social discourses in flw film 3
Conventions and Social Discourses in FLW (film) --3

sciences: psychology, Darwinism and paleontology (the study of fossil)

  • Dr. Grogan –photos, telescope and his theory of Sarah (obscure melancholy, )seduction 54:00)


Sarah s attempts to win freedom
Sarah’s attempts to win freedom

  • Daughter of a the daughter of a tenant-farmer, but well-educated

  • Her only choice: marriage or the job as a governess (e.g. Vanity Fair)

  • Be an outcast as the self-assumed French Lieutenant’s woman

  • “obscure melancholia”? Or living with a painful awareness of her limitations?


Sarah s attempts to win freedom 2
Sarah’s attempts to win freedom (2)

  • realize her position as an outcast with Charles (chap 7 43:20 vs. 1:24:00)

  • (film) passes as a widow; serves as a tutor and does her own work (painting)

  • Why doesn’t she contact Charles? Doesn’t she love him?


Sarah s attempts to win freedom 3 vs love
Sarah’s attempts to win freedom (3) vs. Love

  • (1:56) “There was madness in me... at that time. A bitterness, an envy. I forced myself on you, knowing that you had other obligations. It was unworthy! I saw after you had gone that I had to destroy what had begun between us!”

  • Love can happen only after the two are both “self-accomplishing” (developing their own spaces).


Meta filmic techniques in flw film
Meta-Filmic Techniques in FLW (film)

Transitions from the past to the present

Made thru’ --

Film shooing (opening scene) –Sarah in transition

Rehearsal – showing

  • contrast between the present and the past;

  • the characters’ being influenced by the past

    (e.g. 《阮玲玉》、 《胭脂扣》)


Freedom in the present
Freedom in the “Present”

  • after the proposal scene

  • Mrs. Poulteney’s prohibition of S’s going to the Cobb or Undercliff

  • Charles suggests that S go to London


The actors involvement

Mike

Gets to love Anna more

Unsure about the love

Anna

Careless involvement, calls Mike David once

Disengages herself once David comes to London

Looks sad, envies Mike’s wife, looks at the mirror uncertainly.

The Actors’ Involvement


The endings
The Endings

  • Mike calls out to “Sarah” when A leaves;

  • The scene of Romantic love emptied

  • Final (unreal?) scene of release and freedom


The novel chap 13 author ity vs characters freedom
The Novel (chap 13): Author-ity vs. Characters’ Freedom

Who is Sarah? Out of what shadows does she come?

I do not know.

  • Exposes narrative conventions:

    • 19th-century author god (p. 80)

    • The author as a human being with different purposes (80, 81)

  • Re-Define Authorship:

    • The world as an organism—beyond planning;

    • author-ity re-defined: “the freedom that allows other freedoms to exist”


The novel author ity and his characters freedom
The Novel: Author-ity and his Characters’ Freedom

  • Can an author really give freedom to his/her characters, or his/her readers?

  • Paradoxical Freedoms:

    • Control/Disrespect vs. freedom –limited by one’s respect for ‘other freedoms’

    • Writing = “I report” -- spontaneity in writing, inner logic of the text

    • Freedom given to the characters to allow readers’ “some” freedom to choose.

  • Is a character either real or imaginary?

    • “fiction is woven into all”


The endings in flw
The Endings in FLW

  • Three or four endings

    • On the train back to Lyme Regis – complete openness

    • Marrying Ernestina – Victorian ending


The endings a changing world
The Endings – a Changing World

  • Charles in transition –

    • from American self

    • to England, (pays attention to terms of address, the house, the gentlemen, and then becomes suspicious 346)

    • and then “back to America” when facing Sarah (her New Woman look)

    • Tries to find the old Sarah 347

  • Two selves – 349-50

  • Made aware of his formality and artificiality (351)


The endings a changing world1
The Endings – a Changing World

Sarah in the Pre-Raphaelite Painter’s house, serving as a model and amanuensis (secretary) (346-47, 348-49)

  • Historical context:

  • Pre-Raphaelite Painters (the fleshly school of art): Dante Gabriel Rossetti

  • John Swinburne: labeled by John Morley as "the libidinous laureate of a pack of satyrs”

Photograph of Fanny Cornforth, 1863

Fazio's Mistress, 1863.D.G.Rossetti (source)


Sarah s new self vs charles s two selves
Sarah’s New Self vs. Charles’s Two Selves

Sarah

  • Destroys a fiction wrongly done

  • Refuses to follows Charles’ plotlines (1) redeeming the pure part; (2) not loving him ever

  • “There is another” – Sarah herself (352-53)

    Charles’ Conventional Self

    • “the natural law” – women should marry (354)

    • Feel like being denied “a fortune”

      Charles’ understanding of Sarah (353; 355)


The two endings 1 romantic love
The Two Endings – (1) Romantic love

  • In the battle of the two wills, Sarah submits herself

    • by presenting the baby “Lalage”

    • while insisting that their argument has to happen and that she has to remain a mystery.

  • images of romance: “rock of ages” tears shed, hands joining, “a thousand violins cloy very rapidly without percussion.”


The two endings 2 existential freedom
The Two Endings – (2) Existential Freedom

  • The author surrogate (as an impresario or author-god) leaves the scene

  • Charles’ interpretation

    • She smiles to ask for a compromise.

    • Sarah is manipulative; she is unwilling to give, while Charles is willing to give but not to compromise.

    • Leaves Sarah as well as her mystery with an atom of faith in himself.


Existential freedom
Existential Freedom

  • "The river of life, of mysterious laws and mysterious choices, flows past a deserted embankment; and along that other deserted embankment Charles now begins to pace, a man behind the invisible gun-carriage on which rests his own corpse. He walks towards an imminent, self-given death? I think not; for he has at last found an atom of faith in himself, a true uniqueness, on which to build; has already begun, though he would still bitterly deny it, though there are tears in his eyes to support his denial, to realize that life... is not a symbol, is not one riddle and one failure to guess it, is not to inhabit one face alone or to be given up after one losing throw of the dice; but is to be, however, inadequately, emptily, hopelessly into the city’s iron heart, endured. And out again, upon the unplumb'd, salt, estranging sea."


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