In search of Shakespeare and Austen: travels in time and place

WARDLE, Janice (2021). In search of Shakespeare and Austen: travels in time and place. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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This thesis comprises six published works, preceded by four sections which provide context for the publications, and summarise their significance. The overall project is to examine an aspect of the engagement between contemporary culture and the figures of William Shakespeare and Jane Austen: a set of contemporary texts, including theatre productions, films, novels, and television dramas, which attempt to connect the present-day audience to the personal identities, and the historical worlds, of these two authors. The project explores the imaginative journeys that such works attempt, critically examining and appraising their techniques, particularly focusing on how the idea of travel between moments of time and/or place shapes these adaptations, as well as investigating how the engagement with the authors can be framed as acts of literary tourism. This exploration broadens, at points, into a more general discussion of the inherent excitement, and inherent jeopardy, of imagined and reported travel in time and place, including encounters in the experienced spaces of theatre, cinema and culturally significant sites. At a theoretical level, the thesis draws upon previous research in relevant fields, especially those of adaptation, and literary tourism. It also reflects upon the paradox of popular and commercial fascination with the lives and personalities of canonical authors, in spite of influential moves in recent decades to challenge the canon and to decry interest in authorial motives and intentions. The focus on the idea of place and time travel in this study offers an innovative framework within which to investigate both the production of these texts and their consumption by readers and viewers. Such travels in search of the author are shown to help us to interrogate central questions in adaptation studies around the authenticity and fidelity of texts and performance. The chief aim of the thesis, however, is not to provide an all-embracing theory, but to bring out the sheer complexity of the phenomena it discusses, and to analyse and illuminate these complexities.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Hopkins, Lisa
Thesis advisor - Cadman, Daniel [0000-0002-5732-0131]
Additional Information: Director of studies: Prof. Lisa Hopkins / Thesis supervisor: Dr. Daniel Cadman
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2021 14:00
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 02:00

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