'Only Four Months a Widow': The Softened Colours of Lady Susan's Wardrobe in Whit Stillman's 'Love and Friendship' (2016)

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Abstract

This essay examines the impact that cinematic sartorial choices have upon Jane Austen’s most audacious and amoral protagonist and, by extension, what the name ‘Jane Austen’ conveys to a modern audience. The full mourning implied in the source text makes clear Lady Susan’s Machiavellian character and gives real bite to Austen’s satire upon the discrepancy between surface and substance. The softer colours in which Lady Susan is presented in Whit Stillman’s Love and Friendship (2016) reduces her ruthless manipulation of social propriety to a gentler comedy of manners and marriage that has become synonymous with the ‘Austen’ heritage brand of visual pleasure and cultural tourism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAfter Austen
Subtitle of host publicationReinventions, Rewritings, Revisitings
EditorsLisa Hopkins
PublisherPalgrave
ISBN (Electronic)9783319958941
ISBN (Print)9783319958934
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

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