Kelsall, Holly Anne (2022) Adapting Dickens for the screen. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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This thesis examines the value of film and television adaptations of Dickens’ novels; Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, Bleak House and Great Expectations. Adaptations are bound to the multiple landscape, where they emerge from social, economic, commercial, and filmic contexts. Adaptations are not just bound to the original novel, they have the ability to undermine, parody, quote, and reframe it, to add new meanings relevant to its new audiences. Each adaptation interacts with its original novel differently, whilst using its own individual artistic license to engage their audiences. They also simultaneously engage in an intertextual conversation with other adaptations and films within their genres, adding layers of new meanings and interpretations. Collectively, they create an adaptive legacy which revitalise their original novels through new registers.

Using textual analysis this thesis explores a range of film and television series adaptations of Dickens’ work, and considers the deeper meanings that they construct in relation to thematic concerns of national identity, ethnicity, and gender. Additionally, the popular appeal of adaptations for new audiences is considered in light of film and cultural theory to determine the unique and often complex work that they engage in. This thesis explores the ways that adaptations have the potential to be situated in line with the auteur’s individual style, whilst simultaneously respecting the essence of the novel from which they take inspiration. I suggest that the way in which adaptations interrelate with their own specific modes of production, and have the potential to converse with topical issues and the zeitgeist of the time, reveals the complex nature of film and television adaptations. This thesis asserts that adaptations must be situated within their own filmic, social, and economic context to appreciate the multiplicity of their response.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Adaptation studies, aesthetics, auteur theory, Charles Dickens, cultural studies, ethnicity, film theory, gender, national identity, representation, taste
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Contributors: Poole, EA (Thesis advisor)
Andrew, Joe (Thesis advisor)
Archer, N (Thesis advisor)
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2022 12:23
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 12:23

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