Gothic Drama on the Victorian Stage: Performing Dickens' Bleak House in 1853

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Gothic Drama on the Victorian Stage: Performing Dickens' Bleak House in 1853

Title: Gothic Drama on the Victorian Stage: Performing Dickens' Bleak House in 1853
Author: Korovsky Moura, Fernanda
Issue Date: 2017-08-31
Keywords: Victorian theatre
Gothic drama
Charles Dickens
Bleak House
Theatre history
Abstract: Charles Dickens (1812-1870) is mainly known for his Victorian novels. However, Dickens pursued a lifelong relationship with the theatrical world. This thesis aims at exploring this relationship, taking into account two theatrical adaptations of Dickens’ novel "Bleak House" in 1853: James Elphinstone and Frederic Neale’s "‘Bleak House’, a drama in two acts", performed at the City of London Theatre in June 1853, and George Dibdin Pitt’s "The Bleak House, or the Spectre of the Ghost Walk", performed at the Royal Pavilion Theatre, also in June 1853, before the final instalments of the novel had been published. The main focus of this analysis is the investigation of Gothic motifs present in Dickens’ novel, and how they were represented in these two productions. The conclusion is that these Gothic elements were enhanced on stage by means of textual selections, set arrangements and plot focused on the Dedlocks’ Ghost legend, illustrating the sensationalist character of the nineteenth-century melodramatic theatre. Furthermore, the focus on spectacle also resulted in an impoverishment of the social criticism layer present in Dickens’ novel, demonstrating the productions’ focus on entertainment, in accordance with the theatres’ purposes and target audience in the East End area in London in the nineteenth century.
Supervisor: Newton, Michael
Faculty: Faculty of HumanitiesResearch master thesis
Department: Literary Studies (Research master)
Specialisation: ResMA Literary Studies
ECTS Credits: 25
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/52380
 

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