Beyond Textuality and Back: Gurinder Chadha’s Literary Adaptation Bride & Prejudice as a Product of The Adaptation Industry
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“Beyond Textuality and Back: Gurinder Chadha’s Literary Adaptation Bride & Prejudice as a Product of The Adaptation Industry” considers how the Adaptation Industry and an audience-focused approach to Bride & Prejudice can function as a necessary complement to the existing, text-focused academic debate, and proposes an alternative way of engaging with objects such as adaptations and literary works. By going beyond textuality and interacting with the academically underrepresented Adaptation Industry, one can uncover how the institutional actors influence and shape the textual form an adaptation takes. This approach helps give depth to the popular existing text-focused research while at the same time providing an extra layer of depth by acknowledging the extratextual presence of the influential, yet largely overlooked, actors within the Adaptation Industry. With the help of this theory, as constructed by Simone Murray, one will be able to better understand how an adaptation is the product of complex sociology of adaptation that leaves nothing to chance. This thesis takes Murray’s theory a step further by engaging with the audience reactions to the influence of the Adaptation Industry as reflected in the adaptation. Even more so, this thesis analyzes the contradicting extratextual ideal audience versus the actual audience. It is important to include the audience reactions to the Adaptation Industry as reflected in Bride & Prejudice in this research, as the academic debate rarely mentions its presence, much less critically engages with it. With clear structure, this thesis project will address the perfectly valid existing text-focused research on Bride & Prejudice, while functioning as a demonstration as to how the Adaptation Industry and an audience-focused approach to Bride & Prejudice can function as a necessary complement to the existing academic debate. This will firstly be done by engaging with the influence of the director as the “author” that shapes Bride & Prejudice as a literary adaptation. After all, a film’s final product and perception are influenced by the persona, background and media image of the director as well as the classificatory genre and ideal audience she has appointed the production. Secondly, this thesis will draw from the industrial side of the Adaptation Industry in the shape of Miramax, Bend It Films and the UK Film Council. This analysis of influencing factors such as the seasonal calendar, institutional hierarchies, convergence, as well as funding and marketing will help one can better understand how, where and when the audience is presented with a specific literary adaptation. Lastly, this thesis will demonstrate the difference between the ideal audience and the real audience of Bride & Prejudice, as well as how the presence of the Adaptation Industry actors has been received and reflected on by the viewers. These critical global audience reviews on Bride & Prejudice reflect how extratextual factors from the Adaptation Industry such as genre, the director’s background and the producing institutions can alter an individual’s understanding of the film, and help them develop more critical interpretations. Rather than ignoring the extratextual dimension of a literary adaptation, adaptation and literary scholars are enabled to create a more balanced analysis without ignoring the textual dimension. This will ensure a more rounded out, balanced way of conducting research, where a textual approach is no longer put on a pedestal, but rather put on a balancing scale alongside an extratextual approach.
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