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'Shadowy Copies'? Film Adaptations of the Second Austrian Republic

FIRTH, CATRIONA,ALISON (2010) 'Shadowy Copies'? Film Adaptations of the Second Austrian Republic. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



For many years adaptation has been passed between literature and film studies, frequently dismissed as ‘shadowy copies’ and parasitic reproductions, the unwanted bastard child of the disciplines searching in vain for an academic home. Despite the emergence of insightful new scholarship into the development of Austrian film in the twentieth century, the role of the adaptation genre within Austria’s film industry and literary landscape remains an academic blind spot. This study aims to address this gap in critical knowledge, reviewing the potential function of filmic adaptations within the field of Austrian studies. Through five case studies of canonical works of post-war Austrian literature, this thesis sets out to establish adaptation both as a critical tool through which to approach literature and as an object of academic interest in its own right. Drawing on psychoanalytic theory and its application in film studies, these studies compare and contrast the position occupied by the film’s implied spectator with the relationship of the implied reader to the literary text. Rereading the novels retrospectively in light of their adaptations, this approach has the ability to ‘light up dark corners’ of the novels, illuminating those aspects hitherto left in the shadows by literary criticism. It will be argued that adaptation is uniquely positioned to hold up a mirror to literary texts, reflecting their concerns not through the filters of established grand narratives and generic taxonomies but through their creative, cinematic reworking of the novels. In challenging those assumptions that have become commonplace within Austrian literary history, this study calls for a more nuanced approach to literature of the Second Republic and proposes adaptation as the means by which this may be achieved.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Modern Languages and Cultures, School of
Thesis Date:2010
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2010 15:19

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