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The unspeakable Victorian: Thomas Carlyle, ideology and adaptation

Wallace, Mark (2016) The unspeakable Victorian: Thomas Carlyle, ideology and adaptation. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.

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Abstract

This thesis aims to provide an analysis of comparative ideologies through close reading of 19th-century fictional texts and their 20th-/21st-century film and television adaptations, isolating similarities and differences in the presentation of specific socio-political issues. The fictional texts in question have been chosen for their display of a complex and substantial dialogue with the writings of the 19th-century political and cultural commentator Thomas Carlyle, a dialogue whose existence is established through documentary evidence and close reading of the texts themselves. By extending the analysis of these texts to their later screen adaptations, Carlyle’s ideas become a background against which changing assumptions about the human condition and changing modes of narrativizing said condition come into relief. The suitability of Carlyle for such a study is demonstrated by an examination of his reception history, which establishes him both as a virtually ubiquitous influence on the Anglophone literature of his day and as a near perfect ideological Other for a 21st-century reader in Western culture, articulating stances at odds with ideological tendencies within contemporary culture and embodied in dominant generic tropes of contemporary narrative. Relevant adaptations are considered as a form of reading Carlyle, one whose elements of debate and struggle with the ideological otherness of the text is explored using Gillian Beer’s concept of ‘arguing with the past’. The importance of a re-consideration of Carlyle’s ideas within the context of 21st-century narratives and cultural assumptions is argued using Paul Feyerabend’s conception of knowledge as ‘an ever increasing ocean of mutually incompatible alternatives’, wherein even failed views must be retained and re-worked to add to the content of the whole.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Date of Award:March 2016
Refereed:No
Supervisor(s):Le Juez, Brigitte
Uncontrolled Keywords:Adaptation; Victorian studies; Ideology; Thomas carlyle
Subjects:Humanities > Literature
Humanities > Motion pictures
Humanities > Film studies
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Science > School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. View License
Funders:Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences
ID Code:21024
Deposited On:13 Apr 2016 14:35 by Brigitte Lejuez. Last Modified 13 Jan 2017 01:02

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