Sunday, September 16, 2007

Elisabeth Ladenson's "Proust’s Lesbianism"

Elisabeth Ladenson is Associate Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.

Earlier this year she applied the Page 69 Test to her latest book, Dirt for Art's Sake: Books on Trial from Madame Bovary to Lolita.

Here she sketches the story behind the film adaptation of her first book, Proust’s Lesbianism:
I have always been amazed that Hollywood had not until now recognized the tremendous cinematic potential of academic literary criticism. Luckily, Marshal Zeringue has now rectified this by selling Miramax an adaptation of my first book, Proust’s Lesbianism. And as though Marshal’s screenplay were not compelling enough, he has convinced them to sign Kevin Spacey for the part of Marcel Proust. Spacey spends much of the action looking through a keyhole taking notes as Albertine (Keira Knightley) and Andrée (Christina Ricci), go at it in a luxurious Belle Époque brothel. He then returns to his cork-lined room to write volumes 5, 6 and 7 of his great novel. In the meantime, the action is framed by the reminiscences of a middle-aged academic (Kathy Bates) as she recalls her attempts to get her first book published so as not to lose her job at a prominent state university founded by Thomas Jefferson (Nick Nolte, reprising this role in a cameo).

If this film does as well as predicted, the sky’s the limit for film adaptations of academic monographs. Who has not dreamt of a movie version of Derrida’s Of Grammatology, to name only the most obvious example?
Read more about Proust’s Lesbianism at the publisher's website.

The Page 69 Test: Dirt for Art's Sake.

--Marshal Zeringue