Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Hi!  Just a little late-night update on my final papers...

So yesterday I submitted my 2nd grad paper on the Lizzie Bennet Diaries - I still can't believe they let me do that.  I was writing about it for a film class, applying theories of form, gender, and reception.  It seemed a bit messy even when I turned it in, but it did give me some ideas I want to expand into my thesis project :)

I'm now working on a really interesting paper going in all sorts of crazy directions: Victorian standardization of time, Hesiod's socieconomic perspective in Works and Days, postcolonial theory, Hamlet, a bit of Foucault, and Odysseus's sirens... I told my brother: "Right now they're like a bunch of sheep running in different directions and I need to become Babe! #BahRamEwe" I'm about 1/3 of the way there and it is pretty fun.  The text I'm working with is also a favorite--"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."

But now I should get some rest so I can scribble out some more good ideas tomorrow. Bonne nuit!

Monday, March 2, 2015

This is happening :D

It is based on the paper I wrote last term.  Here is the abstract:

Adaptation Theo(re-) and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

My paper examines the current environment of adaptation studies as applied to new media forms of storytelling.  Evolving from a word vs. image debate, the adaptation theories produced by Robert Stam and Linda Hutcheon are opening a space for dialogic exploration, with Hutcheon suggesting adaptation is about “repetition, but repetition without replication.”  Both suggest that the aim of re-telling a story is not direct translation, but re-interpretation and re-creation, and are interested in viewing these re-creations as palimpsest, investigating how adaptation allows people to see the original work in a new way.

After a review of the shift in adaptation perspectives, this paper turns to look at The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a transmedia retelling of Pride and Prejudice set as a vlog in modern day California.  Across platforms including YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest, this Emmy-award winning web series spent a year re-working the 200-year-old novel in “real-time.”  While completely re-interpreting certain concerns—the Bennet’s entailed estate is now a faulty mortgage; Collins “proposal” is for a job, not a marriage—the creators of this series simply update others.  In this paper and PowerPoint presentation, I argue that far from detracting from the core narrative, these changes were made in order to better explore the question at the core of both Jane Austen’s novel and the web series.

In the final turn of my paper, I examine how centering the climax of the story on their interpretation of the Lydia-Wickham scandal, the creators of this series take Lizzie’s empathetic lesson a step further, extending her repentance to include both her misunderstanding of Darcy and of a fully realized Lydia Bennet.  In doing so, they not only work against stereotype, but also encourage viewers to re-examine their assumption of Pride and Prejudice, creating the type of palimpsestuous learning moment adaptation studies strive for.