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[personal profile] tealin
I still haven't finished that essay series, but it didn't stop my heart singing when listening to the Q&A at the end of Hilary Mantel's last Reith Lecture:
SUE LAWLEY: Now on the front row here, we have Peter Kosminsky, who directed the television adaptations of Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies. Famously Peter, and somewhat controversially, you lit them – because we were talking about lighting – by candlelight. I mean, did you two agree that? Was that collusion or did he rush off and – or did you approve, Hilary?

HILARY MANTEL: When Peter and I first met, what I said to him is, “When I imagine this book ..." I didn’t really have to say about lights and shades, candlelight. I think he just knew that, but I remember saying to Peter, “In every frame of the book, on every page in every transaction I see the wobble of the handheld camera, which brings me back to witnessing and reliability.” And I think your face illuminated my sitting room at that point, because I think it was catching onto your thought about what the mode of the drama should be.

and later ...

Anne Holland, retired Head Teacher and Volunteer at Chastleton National Trust House, which of course, part of Wolf Hall was filmed in. It’s a very naïve question. I’m a Catholic, and to me, the character of Thomas Cromwell was portrayed as a great hero. And of course, like everything, nobody’s black or white, but it intrigues me to see how strongly the views were both within the book, the film and the TV.

HILARY MANTEL: I hope to produce a nuanced portrait of Thomas Cromwell, as of Thomas More, of Henry VIII and all my characters, but good writers need good readers. The reader has to be prepared to lay aside their prejudices and read the nuances and interrogate every line asking how reliable is this person as witness to his story or someone else’s story. The texts of Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies ripple with doubt. My aim is to keep the text alive. It’s all about, as it were, putting the past back into process. So, what I’m trying to do ... if I had written my books at, say, from the point of view of Ann Boleyn, or I had chosen Thomas More as my lead character, then you would have a very, very different text but it doesn't mean that I am insincere or that text contains lies. The novel cannot, I think, be a neutral text but it can be a nuanced one.

August 2017

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