Morris in The Time Traveller’s Wife

I didn’t see the film, The Time Traveller’s Wife, nor did I particularly want to. Audrey Niffenegger’s 2003 novel is he kind of book which would only be ruined in by cinematic treatment. Leave it in my memory as a wonderful read, unsullied by a director’s interpretation, actors’ voices, and the simplification and manipulation which must come in an adaptation. Sorry . . . this is a William Morris blog, not an outlet for film critics. What’s worth mentioning here is the Morris connection. It’s small, but noteworthy. It consists of one bit of dialogue. Clare, the wife of the title, becomes reacquainted with Henry, the time traveller (they had met and fallen in love before) when she comes to the Newberry Librarary on a research trip. Claire, asks Henry, who is a rare book librarian, “Hi, I’m looking for a book on papermaking at the Kelmscott Press. . . ?” This line is not in the novel—in which Claire simply states:

I’m writing a paper for an art history class. My research topic is the Kelmscott Press Chaucer. I look up the book itself and fill in a call slip for it. But I also want to read about papermaking at Kelmscott. The catalogue is confusing. I go back to the desk to ask for help.

after stating that she’s filled in a request slip for the Kelmscott Chaucer. The scene was filmed in Toronto’s Osgoode Hall Law Library, which stood in for Chicago’s Newberry.

Audrey Niffenegger is not only a bestelling novelist but also a noted book artist and designer who has an admittted to a love of Aubrey Beardsley (and, presumably, William Morris). So we assume the passage is autobiographical.

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