Friday, November 25, 2011

Unwrapping: Literary Remakes

I just caught the tail end of an old episode of MOONLIGHTING, remember that funny show that launched Bruce Willis when he still had hair. This particular episode was called, "Atomic Shakespeare" based on William Shakespeare's THE TAMING OF THE SHREW and I remembered it being funny when it first aired but I have to admit, I think I laughed harder this time because I'd forgotten how crazy that show could be. 

The innuendos and slapstick, not to mention the antics of Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd, were timely and delightful ... it's by far, my favorite episode. 

Seeing that episode got me to thinking about Literary Remakes. I know there are several stories being pulled from fairy tales right now but how about the ones that find their base in acclaimed literature such as those of William Shakespeare or others.

Immediately, THE DEVIL WHO TAMED HER by Johanna Lindsey came to mind. This delightful Regency Romance starring Ophelia Reid as 'the Shrew' and Rafe Locke as the brave man who tamed her proved to be as equally entertaining as either ATOMIC SHAKESPEARE or THE TAMING OF THE SHREW but with a lot more romance and no singing, unfortunately.

The back cover reveals the plot so similar to THE TAMING OF THE SHREW:
The heir to a dukedom, Raphael Locke is the most sought-after young lord in England. When Duncan MacTavish, the man Ophelia was set to marry and changed her mind, claims that Ophelia will never be anything but spiteful, Rafe bets his friend otherwise. Whisking her to his country estate, Rafe shows his furious, sharp-tongued "guest" the error of her ways and discovers the surprising reasons for her bad behavior. When Rafe champions the new and improved Ophelia's re-entry to London society, marriage proposals pour in. But has Rafe gone and fallen in love with Ophelia himself?

See for yourself what the poor man  is up against in THE DEVIL WHO TAMED HER by Johanna Lindsey.  The battle between Ophelia and Rafe begins at breakfast their first morning together:

"If you've finished your breakfast," [Ophelia] finally remarked, "I'd like an answer to my original question."

[Rafe] was only half-finished eating, but she'd asked so many questions that he hadn't exactly answered that he replied anyway, "Which was?"

"Why are you doing this to me?"

"Ah, that again. For a number of reasons."

"Just give me one."

"You are universally disliked, except by a seemingly endless stream of men who haven't discovered yet that you're a shrew."

"I'm not a shrew.  But that has nothing to do with you, so give me another reason."

"Very well, I find it quite odd that anyone as beautiful as you are could be so obviously unhappy. I've taken it upon myself to correct that, my good deed the year, you could say. And I must disagree with your response to my first reason. I lean toward the underdog, always have, and help them when I can. In  your case, I can."

"It's well known that you champion the underdog," she allowed. "Even I've heard it mentioned. But I am not an underdog! And for you to insinuate that I am ---"

"Of course you are, m'dear," he interrupted calmly. "Name me one person who likes you, aside from your parents and that stream of idiots we've already mentioned."

"My maid," she retorted looking rather triumphant to have come up with that answer.

He rolled his eyes. "Maids don't count."

"Go to hell," she said, and surprised him by leaving the table.

"Where are you going?"

"I'm going to walk home," she informed without looking back.

He started to laugh. That halted her before she reached the door.

"I'm serious," she swung around to tell him, in case he doubted it. "I'll find someone who can help me get back to London."  ---

Well, Rafe has his hands full with a stubborn woman like Ophelia much as Petruchio had with Kate but just how will Rafe tame Ophelia? With love as did Petruchio? Actually, did Petruchio really tame Kate or did she just let him believe he did?

Let's take a look at this scene from THE TAMING OF THE SHREW by William Shakespeare:

PETRUCHIO:  Come on, i' God's name; once more toward our father's. Good Lord, how bright and goodly shines the moon!
KATHARINA:  The moon! the sun: it is not moonlight now.
PETRUCHIO:  I say it is the moon that shines so bright.
KATHARINA:  I know it is the sun that shines so bright.
PETRUCHIO:  Now, by my mother's son, and that's myself, It shall be moon, or star, or what I list, Or ere I journey to your father's house. Go on, and fetch our horses back again. Evermore cross'd and cross'd; nothing but cross'd!
HORTENSIO:  Say as he says, or we shall never go.
KATHARINA:  Forward, I pray, since we have come so far, And be it moon, or sun, or what you please: An if you please to call it a rush-candle, Henceforth I vow it shall be so for me.
PETRUCHIO:  I say it is the moon.
KATHARINA:  I know it is the moon.
PETRUCHIO:  Nay, then you lie: it is the blessed sun.
KATHARINA: Then, God be bless'd, it is the blessed sun: But sun it is not, when you say it is not; And the moon changes even as your mind. What you will have it named, even that it is;
And so it shall be so for Katharina.

Hmm ... always seemed to me that Kate just told Petruchio what he wanted to hear. What do you think? Can a man really tame a woman who doesn't want to be tamed?  Or is it the other way around and it's the woman who is actually taming the man?

Are there other Romances that remind you of literary works?

Love to know what you think - in the meantime - Happy Reading Everyone!


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