By Katherine Byrne
This e-book explores television's present fascination with the Edwardian period. through exploring renowned interval dramas akin to Downton Abbey , it examines how the early 20th century is represented on our displays, and what those indicates let us know approximately category, gender and politics, either previous and current.
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Extra resources for Edwardians on Screen: From Downton Abbey to Parade’s End
She does appear as a speaker at a suffragette rally at the start of series 2, but that brief scene is the only real engagement The Forsyte Saga has with first-wave feminism, in contrast to the way Parade’s End d would foreground the woman’s movement, via one of its central characters, ten years later (perhaps, by 2012, feminism has become “mainstream” enough to be attractive to even the most middle England audience, or perhaps the more highbrow Parade’s End d is more willing to take risks with its material).
So Downton, Mr Selfridge and others are trying to escape their present by harking back nostalgically to period drama’s first heyday in the years following 1967, to programmes which were in their turn constructing a fictionalised Edwardian past for their own political reasons. Recent neo-Edwardian fictions are hence complicated, post-modern productions: recreating more than one past, while aware that there are multiple versions of those pasts, in political as well as literary terms. It all started, however, with the Forsyte Saga, and it is to this, and to its 2002 reworking, that we will now turn.
I’d be no good as Lady Haselmere. I’m best left as Louisa Trotter. Best to be honest about things, eh. Not to pull the wool. Just leads to trouble later on. (series 1, episode 5) Again in a link with the gender dynamic in Edward the King, g Charlie is more interested in the child that Louisa – and it is he who takes charge of it. The challenge to conventional gender roles is apparent here and is particularly interesting because there is no condemnation, either from her lover or the plot, about Louisa’s unsentimental attitude towards motherhood.
Edwardians on Screen: From Downton Abbey to Parade’s End by Katherine Byrne