Austen, globalization and FRBR

bride_and_prejudice_270.jpgWe just saw Bride and Prejudice, Pride and Prejudice recast in contemporary Amritsar, London and Los Angeles. Bollywood meets Hollywood was the tagline. The most interesting and telling shift for me was that Elizabeth Bennett’s suitor, the fussy clergyman Mr Collins, who represented financial and social security, was updated here to a Mr. Kholi, an accountant who has emigrated to California. In this modern, global world, a green card has replaced a dog collar as the sign of security: Mr Kholi works with rich clients in Los Angeles and lives in a house whose value is rapidly growing.
As we FRBRize Worldcat and subsections of it one of the things to emerge more clearly is the rich publishing history of the ‘classics’: classics are complex works with many derivatives. Of course this is to be expected: part of what makes a classic a classic is that it is interpreted afresh by new generations, who want their own editions.
Pride and Prejudice is a classic – and one can get a sense of that rich publishing history by clicking on the ‘editions’ tab if you follow the link at the beginning of this sentence. IMDB gives Jane Austen a writing credit on this movie. (I was interested to see that they had a biography and trivia about her, just as they do for other writers, actors and directors.)
Seems to me though that Bride and Prejudice is a quite distinct work from Pride and Prejudice. However, it does prompt me to note that we have very little ‘case law’ or ‘best practice’ in this area yet, as we have not moved very far out of the conceptual phase into deployment. It would be good if there were some more real activity with real data.
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4 thoughts on “Austen, globalization and FRBR”

  1. Hard to say. “Clueless” was a better version of Emma than the Gwyneth Paltrow version. I think this will always be a fuzzy area, but the whole issue of relating an item to parodies/spinoffs is worth thinking about.

  2. Although art building on art may give us a FRBR-induced headache, it is a long-standing aspect of artistic expression, and one that is also seriously violated by the achievements of the copyright fascists. Derivative works are now much more difficult to achieve legally. This situation beggars our society, it doesn’t enhance it, and it also violates the spirit of the U.S. Constitution. The spirit is quite clear in the constitution, but unfortunately the details were left to Congress, which has allowed large campaign contributors to buy the protection at the expense of society.

  3. I suppose part of the question is how important is it to the user to that different works are related to each other. I haven’t seen Bride and Prejudice, but it’s clearly playing off Pride and Prejudice, just based on the title. I’d guess that it’s not essential to know that to enjoy the movie (I suspect many people enjoyed Clueless without having the faintest idea that it was derived from or related to or a version of Emma), but it might well add to your understanding. And if, 200 years from now, you’re a scholar studying global popular culture in the late 20th and early 21st century, it would probably be essential to know those connections. I’d say IMDB is right to give Austen a credit, and library catalogs ought to include that kind of information (possibly in a more sophisticated way) too.

  4. I think that having read P&P adds a dimension to your enjoyment of B&P. But then, I think that you need to know Dublin to appreciate Ulysses.
    We thought the film was better than the score it got on IMDB.
    It does underline for me the attractiveness of better ways of relating data between these types of entity.

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