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Perspectiva: La mala pata de Jane Austen (The Jane Austen Curse)

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Hear this perspective in English

Una autora cuyas obras han sido adaptadas a la pantalla con resultados desiguales es Jane Austen.

Sólo leí novelas de esta autora hasta mi edad adulta. Después pude disfrutar adaptaciones al cine de Orgullo y prejuicio, Sentido y sensibilidad, Persuasión y otras. En todas ellas encontré el mismo tipo de heroína: una mujer que no depende de nadie y tampoco puede confiar en su belleza para avanzar en la vida. Sin embargo, tiene inteligencia, talento y vivacidad que la hacen sobresalir y es admirada por muchos.

En las películas, he visto a Elizabeth Bennett, Elinor Dashwood y Anne Elliot retratadas en maneras que habrían causado una reacción similar, pero también tenían momentos en los que era evidente que los autores del libreto no comprendían el predicamento de las heroínas de Austen. Por eso, en lugar de retratar sus virtudes, enfatizan aspectos ridículos, pueriles y superficiales.

No entiendo por qué estas heroínas salen perdiendo de esta manera al pasar de la página a la pantalla. ¿Es porque los productores quieren satisfacer al público? ¿Tienen que ser aprobadas por grupos de enfoque? ¿Acaso el mundo no está listo para que las mujeres inteligentes se encarguen de cosas importantes?

Lamentablemente, creo que si Jane Austen estuviera viva hoy la criticarían sin comprenderla. Considerando la campaña electoral del 2016, y la reciente decisión de la Corte Suprema de Justicia, es triste admitir que pese a que han pasado 200 años, todavía no hay cambios sustanciales.

Me llamo Francisco Solares-Larrave, y esta es mi perspectiva.

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(If there's an author whose works are adapted to the screen with mixed results, that's Jane Austen.

I learned about Ms. Austen's novels late in life. Then I was able to enjoy film adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility and others. In all of them I found the same heroine: a woman who does not depend or cannot trust her looks to get ahead, but instead is remarkably smart, lively and intelligent. As a result, she stands out and tends to be admired by everyone.

In the films, I saw Elizabeth Bennett, Elinor Dashwood and Anne Elliot portrayed in ways that should have caused a similar reaction. However, there were moments in the films that showed that the writers didn't get the Austen heroine. Instead of seeing what the books show, we find shallow and immature characters with childish reactions and anachronistic language.

Why is that these heroines get the short end of the stick when they go from the page to the screen? Is it to satisfy specific expectations? Are they approved by focus groups? Is it that the world isn't ready for smart women to take charge?

If Ms. Austen were alive today, she'd be criticized and misunderstood. In fact, considering the 2016 presidential election results and the recent Supreme Court decision it'll be evident that things haven't changed much in 200 years.

I am Francisco Solares-Larrave, and this is my perspective.)

A Guatemalan native, he arrived in the United States in the late eighties on a Fulbright Scholarship to do graduate studies in comparative literature at the University of Illinois in Champaign Urbana. He has been teaching Spanish language, literature and culture at NIU since August 2000, and his main research interests are 19th-century Spanish American literature.
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