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The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Lost in Austen TV series.

Lost in Austen is a four part British TV series, in which a modern day woman, Amanda Price, played by Jemima Rooper, is propelled back into the fictional time and world of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It was written by Guy Andrews and directed by Dan Zeff.

Now, what I found most curious about this programme, was its air of familiarity. You see, in the early 1990s, I invented a character I called Lord Valentine the Misplaced, who was an 18th century dandy, alive and well, in 20th century London (and New York). Thus, the juxtaposition of the 18th century and the modern era – which is evident in Lost in Austen, is something which I really did, for myself, in my own life, long before this tv series was written. My work was also covered in Time Out magazine, The Observer newspaper, on CNN, on Reuters and NBC news, and on the radio, so many people would have heard about it. It is possible that one of those people was Guy Andrews (or Dan Zeff for that matter). Either that, or they could have been indirectly influenced by my work, through the imitations of others, of which there were many.

For most of the film, Amanda Price is in the 18th century. She is initially dressed as a modern woman. This juxtaposes the imagery of the modern era, with that of the 18th century, just as I did in my work, Lord Valentine the Misplaced (or simply Lord Valentine). In the final episode, there is a scene which is straight out of my own life (and which was photographed, in the early 1990s). Darcy, played by Elliot Cowan, is transported into the modern era and is seen in the environs of Piccadilly Circus in London. The interest of this moment, comes from the shock of seeing Darcy’s 18th century clothing, in a modern setting. He looks out of place, or should I say, “Misplaced”…just like Lord Valentine was. In fact, this imagery is completely unoriginal and is a direct lifting of my own, prior work.

What I find tiresome about these plagiarisms from my own lived experience and created work, is that the borrowers never acknowledge their source, or that what they are doing, is not original. They just lift it, without giving credit. What is even more bothersome is that some critics praise the plagiarists for their “creativity”. These are clearly critics who have not heard of my prior work.

Lost in Austen is enjoyable. It is a good, fun series. However, the imagery used is not original, in any way. It is just an echo of what I expressed in the early to mid 1990s.

I understand that Sam Mendes is to be Executive Producer on a film version of Lost in Austen. That is great – but it still won’t make it an original conception. It might make it an enjoyable movie, however.

So, when the film comes out, remember to tell your friends about the true inspiration behind the imagery of the film. Tell them of Lord Valentine the Misplaced, the 18th century dandy, alive in the modern world - and my creation of him. Thank you.

(If you would like to support my continued writing of this blog and my ongoing campaign to raise awareness about giftedness and all issues pertaining to it, please donate, by clicking on the gold button to the left of the page. To read about my fundraising campaign, please go to: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2011/01/fundraising-drive-in-support-of-my.html and here: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2011/01/fundraising-drive-first-donation.html

To learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, 10, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, 7 and Tiarnan, 4, this month, please go to: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.html

I also write of gifted education, child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, savant, megasavant, HELP University College, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, Malaysia, IQ, intelligence and creativity.

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Ainan's IMDB listing is at http://imdb.com/name/nm3305973/

Syahidah's IMDB listing is at http://imdb.com/name/nm3463926/

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 10:08 PM 

2 Comments:

Blogger Mia said...

Actually, time travelers misplaced in time is a very popular genre of fiction, especially romantic fiction. See, for example, the work of Diana Gabaldon. Most of the romance market publishers have or have had a time-travel category for at least the past decade. Scenes where a character appears in clothes from their original time that are strikingly out of place in the time they're transported to are stock scenes is all these books, so it seems unlikely that the Lost in Austen creators had to plagiarize from you. It seems more likely you just aren't familiar with how ubiquitous the theme is than that they stole your idea. Cheers!

3:21 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

No, Mia, you have completely failed to understand my post. When I did Lord Valentine the Misplaced there was NO “time travel romance genre”, there were NO other examples of what I was doing. That was WHY CNN, Reuters and NBC covered it. Had that misplacement in time been a common theme in the early 1990s, no-one would have thought it news and no-one would have covered it.

However, what happened after news of my work broke is that everyone started doing it: it became a meme that spread throughout global culture. Yet, that meme started with my work and my actions. Had that not been so, it would not have been news in the first place. ALL of those who now employ that meme are derivative descendants of my initial piece of work – every single one of them – whether direct derivatives or indirect derivatives, through imitating those who imitated me.

You are a little confused, in your reasoning. You say that there has been a time travel romance genre for a decade or so…but my work goes back almost 20 years, so that certainly is no defence or explanation of the situation. In the early 1990s, my work was unprecedented and most striking. Noone had done it before. I actually BECAME an 18th century gentleman in the modern world. So, I actually have DONE what was depicted in Lost in Austen.

Your assessment is using the present commonality of the theme to attempt to deny me credit for starting off the whole craze in the first place. It is illogical and rather unjust, too, actually.

10:52 AM  

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