By Shelley Cobb (auth.)
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Extra info for Adaptation, Authorship, and Contemporary Women Filmmakers
An emphasis on the materiality of writing in films about literary authors has been enough of a trope that at the beginning of his chapter ‘“Miramaxing”: Beyond Mere Adaptation’ Collins has three close-up images of hands holding fountain pens in the act of writing and he labels this triptych Miramax Authors Quiz. M. Barrie (Collins, 2010: 141). Though Rozema’s film does not have a close-up of a writing hand like these, the images behind the opening credits function similarly to revel in the materiality of writing.
Unlike the phallocentric auteur who wields his camera in order to overcome the author’s mighty pen, Potter and Rozema collaborate with Woolf and Austen to bring forth the figure of the woman author who represents them both by narrativizing a process of selfauthorization. The relationship between the women filmmakers and the women authors is not always an easy relationship of feminine camaraderie. But the women filmmakers’ resistances to and deflections of the demands of fidelity voice a conversation about what it means to be a woman author at a time when there are not many others.
Mothers, and their importance in the creation, maintenance, and empowerment of a matrilineal legacy, even history, of female authorship that stands in opposition to the dominant patriarchal discourse hold a significant place in feminist criticism, and the presupposed primacy of ‘mother-and-daughterhood’ over ‘sisterhood’ necessitated that the sisterhood find its mother. In Virginia Woolf they found the granddame of them all: By the early 1970s, the emerging women’s movement had made Woolf’s words – ‘a room of one’s own’, for instance – into public slogans and her face, emblazoned on T-shirts, into a public sight.