Filming the Past, Screening the Present

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Shannon Wells-Lassagne, Eckart Voigts (Eds.)

Filming the Past, Screening the Present: Neo-Victorian Adaptations

ISBN 978-3-86821-907-4, 186 pp., 7 illustrations, paperback, € 27,50 (2021)

(SALS - Studies in Anglophone Literatures, Vol. 44)

Neo-Victorianism - the study of creative engagements with Victorian literature and culture - is a burgeoning field in literary and cultural studies. Research on film and television adaptations, however, remains surprisingly rare in Neo-Victorian studies, and is more often to be found in adaptation studies.This international collection of essays explores questions of Neo-Victorian adaptation and globalization, gender and feminism as well as visual and material culture in Victorian and Neo-Victorian screen adaptations, using examples such as The Piano (1993), Affinity (2008), the BBC's Sherlock (2010-17), Guy Ritchie's Holmes movies, or Vanity Fair (2018). A cluster of chapters is devoted to an extended case study, the Neo-Victorian mashup series Penny Dreadful (2014-16). The volume also examines steampunk aesthetics in Wild Wild West (1999), The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) or Victor Frankenstein (2015), the various filmic iterations of Dorian Gray, and recent transnational Hardy adaptations, shedding light on how adaptation reveals the nature of the persistent fascination with the Victorian period.

Preview / Table of Contents (pdf)


"Neo-Victorian Adaptations presents a diverse and integral study of neo-Victorianism on screen and its cultural relevance today. The collection highlights how the Victorian novel, and the burgeoning neo-Victorian project, are intrinsically connected to the nature of adaptation at the same time that it vindicates the generative and transformative capacity of Victorian discourses in film, television and, increasingly, on streaming platforms. The volume continuously underscores the necessity to question how budding neo-Victorian fiction could be perpetuating past patriarchal and colonial structures of power behind its contemporary façade. Neo-Victorian Adaptations succeeds in providing new tools and opening new pathways to decode our own time’s preconceptions and biases through the past and towards the future."

Marta Bernabeu, Literaturwissenschaftliches Jahrbuch 64 (2023)