Excellent piece. But for the further illumination of this novel we might turn to France, to Balzac, who also created vain heroes dazzled by wealth and metropolitan glamour; whose hearts were similarly misdirected and hardened by the competitive rush for conquest and success. The point of all these works is less the source of such success – it can be perfectly legitimate (in ways which only Marxist hysterics would criticise); the danger arises from reliance upon one’s own mettle in a defensive and calculating spirit which gradually drives out the capacity to love. Some would call this process maturity, but the Romantic nineteenth century did not. The dispute is found between Blake and Bacon, the former calling the latter’s essays of civil and moral counsel “good advice from Satan’s Kingdom”. Jane Austen? More of the Bacon tendency, perhaps. Balzac himself? Well, in figures like de Rumbempre, he is Blakean; in Rastignac, however, he supplies a figure of Baconian success. Like Milton, perhaps he was “of the devil’s party without knowing it”. It is on this axis of a personal, individual response to the circumstance of being alive that the novel’s true concerns are to be found. Sociological issues are simply the surrounding colour of the canvass. And in this latest eructation from the Beeb we have the ultimate philistine rejection of this point.
Don’t get why so many intelligent reviewers across all media over the last ten days are flexing their intellects and wasting key strokes taking to pieces what’s patently a risibly rubbish dramatisation. Do better instead to critique Blue Lights (iPlayer), the chunkiest, chewiest bit of TV storytelling since…well …Dickens.
Lean’s film is, like Alastair Sim’s portrayal of Scrooge, nonpareil. If one wants to read a tremendous adaptation of Pip’s story from another perspective, I can’t recommend highly enough “Jack Maggs” by Peter Carey.
And once you have done that, read everyting else Peter Carey has written, you won’t regret it.
You better believe it. Brilliant writer, good advice!
Very helpful and insightful piece. I have been nervous since I first heard this series was to be aired. The trailers promised …. “from the writers of Peaky Blinders”…. more sexed up….. more woke…..more sweary…. the signs weren’t good. Got to say that Episode 1 wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. But I am not hopeful for the remainder!
First time commentator! Be gentle…
Your comment Paul reflects pretty much how I felt and in many ways I liked it
I’m reserving judgement though until I actually see the rest..
I did feel a lot of the time I was watching TABOO series 2 .. cant wait for that!
OK after seeing Ep 2 I’m done with this series. I really can’t bring myself to watch another episode. Dramatisations usually inform my recollection of a novel, and I have too many precious memories of GE. I don’t want those memories infected by this tripe – particularly not by Matt Berry’s buttocks!
Watch Korean drama – it’s superior in every way.
Thank you for an excellent review that sheds new light on a great classic, I will have to re-read it! Also saves me wasting time watching the latest adaptation and getting cross about it.
Don’t get why so many intelligent reviewers across the media over last ten days are flexing their intellects and wasting key strokes taking to pieces what is patently a risibly rubbish dramatisation. Talk about pile-on. Or shooting fish in barrel.
Do better instead to critique “Blue Lights” (iPlayer), the chunkiest, chewiest bit of TV storytelling since…well…Dickens.
I haven’t watched this GE as I know the story, and much as I love Ms Coleman I just can’t be arsed! However although I watch very little tv I did watch the first episode of Blue Lights and was gripped as it was so very well done – not for everyone though as my missus wasn’t that impressed – Hey Ho.