Agnieszka Holland vs William Wyler: On Two Adaptations of Henry James's Washington Square. - Post Script

Agnieszka Holland vs William Wyler: On Two Adaptations of Henry James's Washington Square.

By Post Script

  • Release Date - Published: 2004-06-22
  • Book Genre: Business & Personal Finance
  • Author: Post Script
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Agnieszka Holland vs William Wyler: On Two Adaptations of Henry James's Washington Square. Post Script read online review & book description:

Since the outset of her film career Agnieszka Holland has shown an inclination to concentrate on psychological and sociological issues related to gender. Prior to emigration from Poland in 1981, she made two movies devoted entirely to portraits of their women protagonists: Cosza cos [Something, for Something, 1977] and Kobieta samotna [A Lonely Woman, 1980]. Similarly, Henry James was an author of women's portraits, a "feminine" writer, as it were, keenly interested in the psyche of women, in the condition of women in Western society. (Gustave Flaubert, author of Madame Bovary the first novel about the soul of a woman--was his model). Agnieszka Holland based her Washington Square (1997) on Henry James's novel of the same title, a book Graham Green called "[...] maybe the only book in which a man successfully entered the feminine world and created a work following the example of the novels of Jane Austen" (Green 16, my translation). Illustrating in his works the conflict between Good and Evil, James sharply contrasted evil with virtue, purity,, and innocence--values almost always represented by women. In his novels they are usually "the centres of innocence, the objects of betrayal" (Green 17). The second important characteristic of James's writing that may have attracted the Polish filmmaker to his prose is the priority of the psychological perspective over plot events (action) and over any sociological perspective. His novels, pervaded by a deep psychological realism, are above all psychological studies--subtle, convincing spiritual portraits of their heroes and, in particular, their heroines, whose inner (psychological) experience is placed at the centre of attention, for according to James "the task of a novel is to record experiences" (Zbierski 522).

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