Adaptations Wiki
Advertisement

Books[]

Lisa Hopkins. Screening the Gothic. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2005. Project MUSE. Web. 13 Oct. 2014.[]

Hopkins’ book is focused on defining what constitutes the gothic and how the image of the gothic in literature has mutated in its transition to film. Hopkins is interested in identifying the “gothicizing tactics” employed when gothic film adaptations infuse violent polarities that reveal themselves to be frightening similarities. An important element of her argument is that the adaptation of gothic literature into film results in transition of clearly affiliated gothic texts into less clearly gothic films. This demotion of previously gothic texts to the level of “no longer” gothic most certainly strikes true in many gothic film adaptations, especially in those of Dracula and Frankenstein. The methodology presented behind this argument is that gothic films must employ psychoanalytic discourse in order to shift the origins of events to the mind rather than society, thereby securing the original text’s applicability to the contemporary audience. While her observations of the gothic adaptation are astute and distinct, at times there runs an undertone of fidelity discourse that must be carefully traversed in order to examine the gothic adaptation as relevant progeny of the original text in a contemporary environment. The theories of gothic adaptation presented in Screening the Gothic are applicable to many gothic narratives, but Hopkins does devote a chapter to Dracula film adaptation. In her discussion of Dracula, Hopkins argues that adapting the narrative to film shifts the concept of danger from the characters’ surroundings to their minds as they try to reconcile their emotions and desires with societal expectations and objective reality; in many Dracula adaptations, Hopkins argues, the “Gothic element” of the monster of Dracula is transferred to London at the turn of the century, or modern society at large.

Jacqueline LeBlanc. "It Is Not Good to Note This Down": Dracula and the Erotic Technologies of Censorship." Bram Stoker's Dracula: Sucking Through the Century, 1897-1997. Ed. Carol Margaret Davison. Ontario: Dundurn, 1997. 249-68. Print.[]

Dracula and the Erotic Technologies of Censorship” attempts to demonstrate the idea that sexuality and censorship need not be mutually exclusive, as demonstrated in Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992). Arguably the most common theme discussed in relation Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) is the expression of sexuality and repression in the Victorian period, which is often seen as directly at odds with the author’s own call for censorship of “dangerous” (i.e. sexual) fiction (249). What LeBlanc asserts is that the idea of “censorship…as wholly repressive” and “eroticism…as wholly expressive” is a fallacy, and she works through this interpretation by first incorporating Foucauldian thought (250). The author demonstrates the ways in which the novel works in a paradoxical way in terms of censorship. In its attempt to vilify sexuality, it equally and conversely brings more attention to it. Positioned in between LeBlanc’s heavy post-modern analysis of censorship and her discussion of Coppola’s film is a discussion of how technology helps to perpetrate sexual discourse, and how it is exploited in both print and film. In the novel, letters written by means of typewriters are replete with desire and yearning, and in the film, the pornographic film shown by the cinematograph parallels the seduction of Mina Murray by Count Dracula. However, it is LeBlanc’s final assertion that is the most intriguing. LeBlanc argues that Coppola’s film, though highly erotic throughout, is still a “family values sort of interpretation of vampirism” (264). The relationship between Mina and the Count is depicted as decidedly romantic - verging on marital – which reinforces the notion that sexual liberty and censorship can coexist in equal measure.

David J. Skal. Hollywood Gothic: The Tangled Web of Dracula from Novel to Stage to Screen. New York: Faber and Faber, 2004. Kindle AZW File. []

Skal’s Hollywood Gothic provides an exhaustive yet highly accessible compendium of the various early adaptations of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Though the book begins unevenly, as Skal is often digressive and superfluous in detail, the remaining six chapters form a comprehensive history of Dracula as it stumbled through stage and film adaptations, as well as various legal copyright battles. The three most prominent adaptations that Skal discusses are F. W. Murnau’s classic, Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (1922), the first authorized stage adaptations by Hamilton Deane in 1924, and Tod Browning’s seminal film Dracula (1931). While detailing the earlier years of Dracula adaptation, Skal also begins to pinpoint the ways in which the modern image of Count Dracula has been pieced together, as well as how Dracula acts as both a metaphor for sexuality and the economy. What Skal seems primarily intrigued by is the economic significance that Dracula holds today. Often seamlessly interwoven into the text are the lawsuits launched by both Stoker’s widow and Lugosi’s son against the numerous bodies who sought to use Dracula for their own means. These legal fiascos act as an allegory for Dracula itself – a sort of vampiric exchange, as the author posits. “Vampirism and consumerism blur”, feeding off of each other for their own gain, controlling and extending the life of the creature through the years. And though at times it may have seemed that these cases would restrict Dracula’s growth, the words of the count himself transcend: “You think you have left me without a place to rest; but I have more. My revenge has just begun! I spread it over centuries”.

Gregory A. Waller. Living and the Undead: Slaying Vampires, Exterminating Zombies. Urbana, IL: U of Illinois, 2010. Print.[]

This resource is a thorough examination of the evolution of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, paying special attention to the subtleties of each retelling and building them into a spectrum of the original story. Using comparative analysis Waller examines each adaptation, noting both it’s repetition of the original text and it’s unique introductions and omissions within the story. Throughout the book, Waller looks at the Dracula adaptations through the lenses of violence, ritual, the status quo, and the relationship between victims and hunters—the books namesake, the living and the dead. Waller argues that there are several enduring aspects of the text that effectively bleed into modern reinterpretations of the original story. These defining plot characteristics as defined by Waller include: the violence of the confrontation between the living and the dead and the camaraderie and community that develops as a result of the challenge of evil, the iconographic significance of the character’s war on the undead, and the role of the viewer in the movement towards closure. Waller posits his desire that his study does not approach Dracula adaptations through the bias of fidelity to the original text; though each chapter is firmly grounded by a thorough analysis of the original text, Waller pays special attention to adaptations and their expansion of themes in the original text. Perhaps the most unique perspectives presented in the book is Waller’s inclusion of modern “zombie” narratives, such as I Am Legend, into the vampire narrative evolution, stemming from Stoker’s Dracula. In drawing these parallels between genres, Waller explores how the monster of Dracula still threatens family, society, and the status quo in contemporary adaptations.

Articles[]

David Seed. The Narrative Method of Dracula. University of California Press, 1985, pp 61-75. Print. []

Seed writes about Bram Stoker’s narrative style in the dramatic story of Dracula when it first came out in 1897. At first, the power of this novel is charged as weak because Stoker presents the character of Dracula as it trying to be high in both constructive in art and  literary sense. His personification is criticized as being only highly sexual when Seed mentions that this novel proposes incest, menstruation, and rape. (The menstruation subject mainly occurs when Mina wakes up with a blood stained nightgown).  Seed also talks about how Dracula’s personification is crude as he is a fundamentally anti-bourgeois figure that is elegantly dressed and possesses whatever he wants. He is a combination of a Gothic villain and a monster that likes to focus on sexual behaviors when he encounters his female victims. Throughout this writing, Franco Moretti points out the first-person narratives in the novel as the individuals trying to self- identify themselves with their given characters. For example, in Harker’s first journals he seems to be losing his mind so he decides to resign himself to death in Dracula’s death.

Dejan Kuzmanovic. Vampiric Seduction and Vicissitudes of Masculine Identity in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point, 2009. Web. Dejan Kuzmanovic discusses more about the usage of women and sexuality in Dracula. The women of the New Age emphasize what the seduction of Lucy and Mina represent in the story. The Vampirism is used more as a sex symbol than more of a horror story. Stoker also is criticized for also symbolizing the education of the Englishmen. Their professions and social class are used to try and destroy the vampire creature that is threatening their reputation. Jonathan Harker is mentions how Stoker’s character is both an object and victim of the Dracula, the vampire whom is the agent of his destruction. The vampiric seduction is described as sensational and that is the reason why many of his victims (mainly women) fall into his traps. Other critiques have made it sound like Stoker sound contradictive because he makes Harker fall into the seductions of Dracula then later he participated in vampire hunting. This symbolizes another interesting point where one questions if Stoker tells the story of his characters in an eerie conspicuous way.

Wayne E. Hensley. "The Contribution of F. W. Murnau's Nosferatu to the Evolution of Dracula" Literature Film Quarterly . v. 30 no. 1. 20020101. p. 59-64. Print.[]

Hensley says that possibly the greatest success story in the entire genre of horror fiction is the story of Stoker's, Dracula. He argues that the tale of Dracula is a tale about dark lovers and this type of story about passion sets it apart from the other stories in the gothic horror genre. He argues this because the evidence supports it; the romantic relationships in the story have become the most predominate part of the story in the Dracula films. His paper is about how the romantic theme that has made Dracula so popular was first introduced in the German adaptation film Nosferatu. He argues that Nosferatu is the main reason why the story of Dracula has survived for so long and still lives on in today’s society. Hensley also focuses on how Nosferatu has forever changed the story of Dracula and how those changes are still around in adaptations and appropriations of the original narrative. Hensley continues his paper by discussing the original plot line of Dracula. He talks about the psychological impact of Dracula is that it was told by a series of secondary sources like journal entries and newspaper clippings. Hensley talks about how although the novel Dracula is a fiction novel, Stoker did his research when writing it; there are several historically and geographically facts throughout the entirety of the novel. Next he discusses Nosferatu looking at its plot line, the psychological impacts of the film, the importance of the plot and character changes, and the legal battles the film makers encountered in the making of the film. Hensley ends by saying that the legal battles the film makers went through could be a major contributor of why Dracula has survived.

Saviour Catania. " Absent Presences in Liminal Spaces: Murnau's Nosferatu and the Otherworld of Stoker's Dracula " Literature Film Quarterly . v. 32 no. 3. 20040101. p. 229-236. Print.[]

Catania starts of by stating that even though most critics of Murnau’s, Noferatu acknowledge Stoker’s, Dracula as being the fictional source behind the making of this film, most of the critics tend to dismiss any significant connection between the novel and the film. Catania then suggests that Dracula offered Murnau a reworking of major Gothic motifs that came straight from Germanic literature and culture and this is what inspired Murnau to re-do Stoker’s Dracula on film by making Nosferatu. And, that Stoker had appropriated a lot of Murnau’s own artistic similarities with the German romantic spirit in his novel. Catania then states that there is something that is very important to both Dracula and Nosferatu. Catania continues by saying that Nosferatu comes the closest to Dracula, the original narrative, of all the adaptations and appropriations that are out there. It’s the closest to the central theme that light is darkness, and that this theme is a vital part of both the novel and the film. Catania then states that even though Nosferatu may have a more superior ending compared to Stoker’s Dracula, Dracula having a “setting sun” in the ending, that in no way minimizes what Murnau owes to Stoker because Stoker was the first one to come up with the idea of the ‘dark light’ vampire. We are told that Nosferatu recreates Stoker’s text in an “out- of- filmic text, beyond the frame” and that this is why the film has excelled. As a final example to this, Catania concludes by asking the audience to consider how Murnau’s Nosferatu transforms the Dracula and Lucy tryst into the strange and unrealistic “white night scene.” Nosferatu is mainly seen through twilight. Twilight seems to be the main theme that connects these two works and the main thing that this article focuses on in tying the two together. It shows how later adaptations and appropriations have used that concept to recreate the original narrative and make it successful.

Advertisement