Date of Award

8-5-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Christopher Kuipers, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Tanya Heflin, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Thomas J. Slater, Ph.D.

Abstract

Currently, adaptation studies privileges obvious text pairings (source text > adaptation; the classic pairing being novel > film). Although this basic approach appears to be intertextual, it is an impoverished and limited version of intertextuality, which is elsewhere a rich and multifaceted paradigm in literary studies. No one ever has a single textual model in mind when reading. Texts are always multiple in every act of reading, and the purpose of this dissertation is to present the textus, which is an attempt to systematically introduce this intertextual complexity into adaptation studies. Synthesizing post-structuralist criticism (notions of a text not possessing any singular authorial intent or purpose and instead transferring the agency to the reader to seek out the multiple meanings of the perceived signs found in the texts) and structuralism (the creation of a rigorous conceptual framework), the textus set forth in this dissertation will aid the reader in mapping the narrative found in adapted media based on various points of encounter. While isolating the essence of an adapted text has been difficult due to the seemingly elusive and relative qualities of a text’s spirit, utilizing the fixed structure of the textus’s numerical coordinate system will assist in navigating the intricacies of applying and interpreting any number of texts found in a single adaptational set. For the purpose of this dissertation, the textus of The Great Gatsby will be examined. Numbers will be assigned to three separate textus divisions: threads (individual texts or instances of adaptation, organized in the order encountered); interstices (particular dramatic moments or other key locations that appear within each of the threads, where analysis will likely bear most fruit); and traces (basic categories of aesthetic creativity, such as author and voice, modified as appropriate for the medium in question). The purpose of this framework is to offer the reader of adaptations the agency to extract meaning from the texts regardless of the text’s presented form.

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