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Title: Adapting the great unknown : the evolving perception of Walter Scott
Author: Nestor, Mary Catherine
ISNI:       0000 0004 5993 1440
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis explores the legacy of Walter Scott through analysis of the adaptations of his works. It argues that remediations of Scott's novels and poetry have shaped the conception of those works in the popular imagination and resulted in an understanding of Scott's writing which overlooks it[s] complexities. In addition, it suggests that as a by-product of the process of adaptation a very small percentage of Scott's works have come to represent the whole. This thesis examines the development of the current gap between the critical rejuvenation of Scott's legacy by the scholarly community and his continued denigration in popular culture, contending that the popular remediation of Scott's works over the course of the last two centuries contributed to the formation of this gap in perception. It also poses [i.e. posits] that adaptation provided fodder for the popular notions that his writing glorifies tartanry, chivalry and pageantry, has imposed a false version of history and culture on the people of Scotland, and is best left in the category of 'boys' adventure tales'. Furthermore, this thesis interrogates claims that Scott has no relevance for contemporary readers and has become what memory theorist Ann Rigney terms the 'Great Unknown'. While adaptations from the nineteenth century have been reasonably well documented, this thesis explores not only early dramatisations of Scott's works but also a plethora of twentieth-century remediations, including film, television, comic book, mass-market science-fiction and children's adaptations, which demonstrate that popular engagement with Scott did not end with the start of the First World War. This thesis concludes that, while Scott's readership may indeed have declined from its peak in the late nineteenth century, he still maintains a place in popular consciousness and is not as greatly forgotten as some have argued.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: College of Arts and Social Sciences ; University of Aberdeen
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Reader-response criticism