You Know You Want It

Well, those silly Victorians, you know, of course they thought about sex every instant of their lives just as we do, but they wouldn’t admit it, the nasty hypocritical creatures, but we’ll fix them, we’ll just make a lot of movies and tv shows based on 19th century novels and if the sex isn’t there we’ll just damn well insert it! So to speak. There is an excellent article on this subject in the Boston Globe today. In it Abby Wolf reports, among other things, that child sexual abuse was featured in a tv drama based on Trollope’s The Way We Live Now, a feature that is entirely absent from the novel. This is one reason not to see movie or tv ‘adaptations’ of novels and expecially of novels that were written more than about five minutes ago. They just can’t get it right. All those Elizabeth Rs and Shakespeare & Lady Violas and Queen Margots having gleeful free-spirited fearless consequence-free sex on ten minutes’ acquaintance or less (Margot grabs the first man she sees on the street and they copulate against the nearest wall, implausible behavior for a 16th century princess, I would have thought, even a French one). We just can’t believe that they really were more inhibited than we are, and for good reason. We also can’t believe that they just weren’t as interested as we are, because we take it for granted that we’ve got it right and they had it wrong. But as Wolf says, ‘That we see sex wherever we see Victorians may say less about them than it does about us and the way we see things now.’

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