Is The Buccaneers based on a novel?

The Buccaneers on Apple TV+ Nov. 8, 2023
The Buccaneers on Apple TV+ Nov. 8, 2023 /

The Buccaneers seems set to be another hit show for Apple TV+. But is this new period drama based on a book, and what’s the interesting history of it?

Lately, there’s been a push for period dramas between Netflix’s Bridgerton and HBO’s The Gilded Age. Now, The Buccaneers is trying to fill that niche. Despite what the title may indicate, this has nothing to do with pirates. Rather, it refers to a pack of American women who crash London society in the 1870s and throw the staid British folks off.

The series will have a good vibe to it, mixing modern music and sensibilities with a great cast. But, is it an original work or based on someone else’s?

The Buccaneers is based on an unfinished novel

The Buccaneers is inspired by Edith Wharton’s final novel. Born and raised in a wealthy family in the famed “Gilded Age” of New York at the turn of the 20th century, Wharton drew upon her knowledge for her works.

While pushed as a debutante, Wharton’s true passion was reading and writing, including her breakout 1905 novel The House of Mirth. In 1920, she made history as the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for her masterpiece, The Age of Innocence (later turned into a 1993 film). She also wrote scores of novellas and short stories.

Wharton was halfway through writing The Buccaneers in 1937 when she suffered a heart attack, followed by a stroke and died at the age of 75. The book (which still had a few chapters left to complete) was published in 1938, while in 1993, Marion Mainwaring used Wharton’s notes to finally wrap it up.

The book was already turned into a 1995 BBC miniseries, which was criticized as not being true to Wharton’s original text. It’s yet unknown how the new series will turn out and if it takes liberties from the original text. However, it should lead to more attention on Wharton’s works as her final novel gets a lavish new treatment.

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