Character adaptation in Val McDermid's retelling of Jane Austen's 'Northanger Abbey'

Character adaptation in Val McDermid's retelling of Jane Austen's 'Northanger Abbey'

by Elisa Valerie Thieme

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Studienarbeit aus dem Jahr 2014 im Fachbereich Anglistik - Literatur, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz (DEL), Veranstaltung: Adaptation and Appropriation, Sprache: Deutsch, Abstract: Ever since their publication between the years of 1811 and 1817, Jane Austen's novels, namely Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park and Persuasion, have never gone out of print. Her works are 'perennial favourites' (Carson xi) and, furthermore, there seems to be a huge demand for 'Austen novelties'. It does not come as a surprise, therefore, that there are hundreds and hundreds of Austen adaptations and spin-offs. All six novels have been repeatedly turned into movies and the amount of literary adaptations appears to be almost uncountable. Since most 'educated people . . . have at least heard of Jane Austen [and her] novels are in the public domain' (Parrill 176), adapting them seems to be particularly attractive in regard to the low economic risk and reduced investment costs (no acquisition of legal licences and little marketing costs). Austen has become a 'cultural commodity[,] almost a brand name' (Wiltshire 7) and there will probably always be new publications as long as there is such a keen and vast market. The recent 'Austen Project', published by Harper Collins, sees six bestselling authors adapting Jane Austen's novels and transposing them into the twenty-first century. Economically, it profits not only from Austen's fan base but also from the faithful readers of popular writers such as Val McDermid, who adapted Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey. This retelling is the latest publication of the Austen Project and seems particularly interesting since Northanger Abbey is chiefly concerned with the mocking of Gothic fiction and the vindication of reading. It deals with bestsellers from the early nineteenth century and thus appears to be firmly rooted in its time. Due to these intriguing particularities, the paper at hand is based on Val McDermid's modern retelling of Northanger Abbey. McDermid follows the plot structure very closely and the reinterpretation of the source text chiefly lies in the temporal, linguistic and cultural update. The plot is set in an envi-ronment shifted by two hundred years, Bath has been swapped for the now more fashiona-ble Edinburgh Festival Fringe and almost all characters are expertly tweeting, texting, and posting 'selfies' on Facebook. Whereas Austen set out to write an amusing burlesque and a vindication of novel reading, McDermid's adaptation aims at pleasing the Austen-familiar readers and at humouring them by applying a 'modern twist'.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783656827580
Publisher: GRIN Verlag GmbH
Publication date: 01/01/2014
Sold by: CIANDO
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 22
File size: 276 KB

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