Mature Lust

Last week’s post

Lady Smut

old-acquaintance-2by C. Margery Kempe

I had an unexpected moment of connection in teaching this week. In the medieval course, we were talking about the Wife of Bath and watching the BBC modernised version of the tale and prologue with Julie Walters. In the writers-on-film course, we were watching the Better Davis film, Old Acquaintance. Both deal with older women lusting after younger men. Walters’ embodiment of the bawdy wife is markedly different than the genteel lit’ry author Davis plays, but the tension around their desires is palpable.

Chaucer’s medieval icon has had five husbands, the last two considerably younger than she; in the adaptation, Walters plays her as a much married-soap star who falls for her decades younger co-star. Her fame only increases as the program’s audience seems to think she’s pulling off quite a feat, but her young lover’s star falls precipitously because people can’t imagine him…

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