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PUBLISHED: 09:41 12 February 2018 | UPDATED: 14:41 12 February 2018

Would classic romance (such as that portrayed in Wuthering Heights) survive in a digital age? Picture: UKTV

Would classic romance (such as that portrayed in Wuthering Heights) survive in a digital age? Picture: UKTV

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A re-working of classic novels to introduce social media has Lynne Mortimer all a-twitter

Has technology ruined the classic novel? Now that smartphones and the internet have made it almost impossible to be out of touch (with the exception of locations on the East Anglian coast where connectivity is abject) it isn’t easy to have a situation where someone cannot summon help or post a selfie. It takes some literary skill to incorporate the modern world into a good old-fashioned tale without compromising the plot. I am, thus, in awe of UKTV Drama’s take on three classics that now have added social networking.

Wuthering Heights, for example, is re-imagined as a series of blog entries posted by Mr Lockwood. In this passage from Emily Bronte’s reworked masterpiece (Bloggering Heights?), Nelly cannot believe that Cathy has fallen for Edgar Linton after he displays such bad manners on social media:

Worst of all. And now, say how you love him? You can’t have happened to miss the fact that he never comments on any of your Facebook photos, doesn’t watch your Instagram stories and scarcely replied to your WhatsApps even though he knows you can see the blue ticks?

I am disadvantaged by having no idea what the blue ticks mean. And who would want a woman who clearly spends most of her time posting on social media?

In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice Darcy’s narcissism is accentuated by his popularity on Tinder. Then, Elizabeth Bennet accidentally causes a Twitter storm by inadvertently tagging Mr Darcy in a photo she takes of him swimming in the lake:

She... reached for her phone to take a photo of Mr Darcy emerging, white shirt clinging to his chest, water falling from his thick dark hair, rendering him absolutely the most exquisite sample of male perfection she - and later Twitter - would ever see. Indeed, out of pure habit, she immediately posted the image on Twitter with the caption: ‘OMG’. Neither was she conscious of the fact she had also tagged Mr. Darcy himself!” The third classic is a fully tech-savvy Tess of the D’Urbervilles, by Thomas Hardy.

All clever stuff… but maybe I should re-read the originals first.

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