A couple of years back I attended a lecture at Emory University where Salman Rushdie spoke about adaptations of literature to the screen in the form of movies and television. It was a memorable and thought-provoking event, held in the chapel and attended by several hundred admirers of Rushdie. He spoke of the newly crowned Oscar winner, “Slumdog Millionaire,” with less than appreciative words. Since Rushdie was working on adapting his own works, especially Midnight’s Children, his lecture was very relevant.
Now I see that HBO has the rights to the works of William Faulkner and intends to develop a series of adaptations for television. I can see Midnight’s Children being adapted, even the dream-like parts, but Faulkner raises some questions.
We all know that Faulkner once wrote for Hollywood (go back and watch the Coen Brothers adaptation in “Barton Fink”) and several of his titles have been made into movies but I don’t think any Faulkner movies are terribly memorable unless you watched the Snopes-less “Long Hot Summer” from the back seat of your father’s 1956 Ford Fairlane with a warm squeeze who drawled “Oh Big Daddy” at appropriate points in the action. So how successful is HBO going to be?
Will they start with the more straightforward works? Didn’t Steve McQueen star in an adaptation of The Reivers? How are they going to handle stream-of-consciousness? What works do you think HBO might adapt? Wikipedia has an excellent bibliography of Faulker’s works.
As a side note: Faulkner is known for his radicalenjambmentofwordsandphrases. That right there is a clear reason why actually reading the book is important. These booksontape should be returned to the seeing impaired and no longer be used by people that only dedicate a sliver of their consciousness to the audio book and then boast that they read it. Unacceptable! If someone needs to do more than one thing while stirring the risotto or weeding the garden, I recommend learning a new language: there are many great recorded language lessons and practice units available. Soon you’ll be able to read the literature of another country in the original language. Now that’s a good thing.