Moments in the life of literature
Who created The Pickwick Papers: Charles Dickens, Robert Seymour, or publishing pirates? What is Great Expectations: a shiny trade paperback, a film about an artist starring Ethan Hawke, or a South Park television episode? Who is Mr. Darcy: a reserved and polished gentleman, a sophisticated wit, or a sexy rebel? Who is Jane Austen: a prim and quiet spinster, a feminist, or a movie star? This project answers these questions with "all of the above," defining literary entities in terms of the variation and duration of their reproduction. It analyzes multiple printed, filmed, and electronic "editions" of famous works and figures---including The Pickwick Papers, Great Expectations , Mr. Darcy, and Jane Austen---in order to trace the process of reinvention they have undergone, and continue to undergo, in varying historical contexts and conditions of reception.The term "edition" speaks to the nature of the relationship between the agent of transmission and the concept transmitted. Each edition represents a work or figure, but does not have an exclusive contract on that representation, allowing several editions to exist simultaneously. This understanding of the term "edition" comes from Textual Studies, where it is used differentiate between a myriad of printed representations of a work. This project expands its use to address any forum through which a work reaches an audience. It also coins the terms "editions of characters" and "editions of authors" to negotiate similar diversity in the lives of these figures.Literature is not static, but living. That is the central concept that informs this project. Its chapters outline how literary works, characters, and authors that began their lives during the rise of industrialization and mass production in the nineteenth-century continue to thrive in later centuries, establishing a link between contemporary and historic trends in literary production and dissemination. In order to trace and interpret this complex history it brings together and builds from three academic fields---Nineteenth-Century Literary Studies, Textual Scholarship, and Film Adaptation Studies. Ultimately, this project offers a methodology for negotiating the many memorable moments that shape the lives of literary works and figures.
- English