After Dickens: Reading, Adaptation and Performance by John Glavin

By John Glavin

John Glavin bargains either a performative examining of Dickens the novelist and an exploration of the possibility of adaptive functionality of the novels themselves. via shut learn of textual content and context Glavin uncovers a richly ambivalent, frequently by surprise opposed, dating among Dickens and the theater and theatricality of his personal time, and indicates how Dickens' novels could be noticeable as a sort of counter functionality. but Glavin additionally explores the performative capability in Dickens' fiction, and describes new how you can level that fiction in emotionally strong, severely acute diversifications.

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Additional info for After Dickens: Reading, Adaptation and Performance

Example text

In conventional adaptation particularly our interest becomes monopolized by a simulation of life so life-like it stops us from wondering if life, on these terms, should be liked at all. That’s Dickens, adaptation and Grotowski  why of course the favorite American slot for adaptations like these is TV at the end of a Sunday evening, preferably in winter: the Cocoa hour. A doubled mimesis invariably cripples catharsis. It forfeits those elements in the original form which stimulated feeling without feeling free to invent new and dramatic forms which can stimulate the production’s own specific affect.

It is hard to care in any way about that which we find merely baffling. What in the novel is all suggestion in the powerful emptiness between the markings on the page must, on the stage, make itself seen to be felt. But what I don’t want to feel is what Henry James liked to get from St. Peter’s in Rome. ’’ As his friend Clover Adams joked, James always enjoyed chewing more than he could bite off. But even for appetites less gourmandising than James’, there’s a way in which, when any master’s work expands, the rest of us seem to wind up feeling somehow diminished.

Drama must observe a unity of action. It is so hard to pay attention to as it moves along. We can’t slow down, let alone stop. We can’t check back. We can’t pause to ponder. We can’t clarify or refer. And so even in the most experimental and avant- garde sorts of play we require a clarity and intensity of focus on action, so that we can begin the process of interpretation with some degree of assurance that at least we know what is happening even if we do not yet, or never will know, what it means.

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