context of the mutiny. Here, Bligh’s account also connects the ideas of primitivist idealisation, degeneration and criminology. Opposing narratives, primarily from Fletcher Christian’s brother, consider a more noble form of primitivism whereby Christian’s tattoos reveal a class-kinship with the social hierarchy in Tahiti. I expose the role of the tattoos in this process of criminological blame and consider the construction of primitivist idealisation in Bligh and Christian’s narratives. Their opposing viewpoints are represented in the variety of adaptations of the event
Adaptive symbiosis and Peake’s Presumption, or the fate of Frankenstein
of ‘all kinds of [perceived] political monstrosity’ (Armitage 224). And we can add adaptation theory to the metaphoric cultural possibilities of the Frankenstein trope. This chapter argues for the productivity of what I call a Frankensteinian model for adaptation studies, which attempts to systematically trace and account for the work of intertextuality in the act of adaptation.
The Frankensteinian model, or ‘Not things learned so much as things remembered’
In imagining Frankenstein as a model for adaptation, we
M ARY S HELLEY ’ S F RANKENSTEIN (1818) occupies a rare position in our cultural memory: most of us ‘know’ it regardless of whether or not we have read it.
This circumstance owes much to James Whale’s 1931 film adaptation, which is often credited with establishing the definitive visual lexicon for Frankenstein . 1 Of course, Whale’s is not the first visual adaption of the novel. Prior to 1931, Shelley’s novel was adapted numerous times for the stage – e.g., Richard Brinsley Peake’s Presumption (1823) and
Forbidden Planet, Frankenstein, and the atomic age
Dennis R. Perry
F ORBIDDEN P LANET (W ILCOX 1956), MGM’s big-budget entry into the 1950s ‘golden age’ of cinema science fiction, has long been considered the best science-fiction film from the decade, only surpassed by Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey some twelve years later. Beyond its spectacular special effects and memorable robot, Robby, Forbidden Planet ’s story has had the added prestige of being considered a thoughtful adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest , with Morbius as Prospero, Robby as Ariel, Altaira as Miranda, Commander Adams as
Movies speak mainly to the eyes. Though they started talking in words some seventy years ago, what they say to our ears seldom overpowers or even matches the impact of what they show us. This essay proposes to read one more time the issue of homosexuality in Mary Shelley‘s first novel, Frankenstein. In order to offer a new angle on the homosexual component of Victor Frankenstein‘s relationship with his creature when next teaching this most canonical Romantic novel, this essay considers Shelley‘s work alongside four film adaptations: James Whale‘s 1931 Frankenstein, Whale‘s 1935 The Bride of Frankenstein, Richard O’Briens 1975 The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Kenneth Branagh‘s 1994 Mary Shelley‘s Frankenstein. These films present their audience with original readings of their source material, readings that can be questioned with regards to their lack of truthfulness to the original works themes and characters.
T WO PRODUCTIONS OF STAGE adaptations of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein emerged in the UK in the spring of 2011, both of which made explicit reference to their liveness in performance. The National Theatre in London production was based upon Nick Dear’s stage adaptation of the novel and was directed by celebrated filmmaker, Danny Boyle. It featured acclaimed popular television and film actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller. As part of its theatrical run, the production was commissioned, on a couple of occasions, to be
Adapting a novel for the stage is no easy task, especially if the novel in question is as famous and omnipresent as Bram Stoker‘s Dracula. Seven years prior to Francis Ford Coppola‘s box office hit, the Scottish poet and playwright Liz Lochhead wrote a version of the vampire saga which not only successfully translates the technical complexities of Stoker‘s text into the difficult medium of the theatre, but also offers a careful reading and contemporary evaluation of the subversive potential of the novel. In her adaptation, the fundamental dilemma of subjectivity and otherness becomes visible and demonstrates why Stoker‘s creation keeps fascinating readers, film audiences and critics alike.
This essay examines the proliferation of visual representations of Robert Louis Stevenson‘s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), considering the question of what links contemporary (Scottish?) Gothic to its problematic origins. After a survey of cinematic and graphic adaptations, the essay focuses on Steven Moffatt‘s Jekyll (BBC, 2007), which combines the post-Darwinian anxieties surrounding Stevensons tale of human regression with a much more contemporary interrogation of the ‘human’ against the backdrop of complex globalised scientific conspiracies. Significantly, the production draws on the Scottish origin of the text, re-proposing the question of (national) identity and authenticity against the threat of globalisation.
Baldwin, Racial Melancholy, and the Black Middle Ground
This article uses Baldwin’s 1949 essay “Everybody’s Protest Novel” to consider that literary mode’s corollary in the 1990s New Black Cinema. It argues that recent African American movies posit an alternative to the politics and aesthetics of films by a director such as Spike Lee, one that evinces a set of qualities Baldwin calls for in his essay about Black literature. Among these are what recent scholars such as Ann Anlin Cheng have called racial melancholy or what Kevin Quashie describes as Black “quiet,” as well as variations on Yogita Goyal’s diaspora romance. Films such as Barry Jenkins’s adaptation of If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) and Joe Talbot and Jimmy Fails’s The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) offer a cinematic version of racial narrative at odds with the protest tradition I associate with earlier Black directors, a newly resonant cinema that we might see as both a direct and an indirect legacy of Baldwin’s views on African American culture and politics.