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Title: Looking for Shakespeare : cultural relocations of the plays on film from the silent era to 1996
Author: Lawson, Chris.
Awarding Body: University of the West of England at Bristol
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2002
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This thesis examines largely British and American approaches to Shakespeare on film from the silent era to 1996, while also referring to Japanese and European productions. By analysing key films where Shakespeare is used in an altered or unacknowledged way, Shakespeare's cultural position in cinema can be identified and assessed. The British cinematic approach tends to rely upon nostalgia and taps into a longstanding theatrical tradition of Shakespearean performance while, in the US, Shakespeare is usually subordinated to cinema by being redefined through cinematic genre. There is much overlap between these culturally defined approaches to Shakespeare on film. Above all, Shakespeare is employed as a key intertextual device within each film, providing narrative structure and a frame of reference which highlights or brings into question a sense of cultural identity. In addition to cultural ramifications, the evolution of Shakespeare on film is charted to demonstrate how the treatment of the playwright and his work changed to suit the development of film as an artform capable of sustaining its own dramatic lexicon. Ten case study films from the mid to late twentieth century are analysed from a cultural standpoint and to map the interplay between Shakespearean and cinema. Broadly speaking, Shakespeare may be manipulated in two main ways, so that plots or themes from the plays may be evident in an altered way in a film, or scenes or dialogue may be included in an otherwise contemporary cinematic setting. It is at the nexus of this interplay that the two elements coalesce, realigning Shakespeare from a cinematic perspective on one hand, while providing filmmakers with highly adaptable source material for their own productions on the other. By focusing on films which position Shakespeare outside of conventional or mainstream cinematic adaptation, this thesis advances prevailing critical interest, locating the playwright as a figure open to numerous and innovative cultural and cinematic reinterpretations. The thesis makes a significant contribution to Shakespeare on film studies as it serves to develop an understanding of the shifting relationship between Shakespeare and cinema in Britain and America during the twentieth century.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: British Literature Mass media Performing arts