Rose, Nicola (2016) Disability in adaptations of Dickens. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.
Abstract

This thesis explores the potential for ethical exploration in response to the discourse of disability in the BBC adaptations of Bleak House (Chadwick and White, 2005), Little Dorrit (Smith, Lawrence and Walsh, 2008) and Our Mutual Friend (Farino, 1998). Any text that features disability has the potential to invoke ethical questioning if the reader/viewer allows it, and is aware of the issues that Disability Studies explores; as Hall points out: “Disability perspectives can transform understandings of structure, genre and narrative form” (Hall, 2016, p. 1). However, exploring longer, more sophisticated adaptations of Dickens where disability is represented (with a focus on the discourse of that disability) offers an increased potential for this ethical response to be invoked. Despite their reputation as immersive texts, the particular richness of examining disability in Dickens adaptations is, in part, due to their potential to focus on the marginal, thus prompting us to rethink our assumptions around normalcy and otherness. This thesis applies close reading and attention to affect, alongside Disability Studies perspectives, to show that, in Hall’s words, “[t]hese perspectives can destabilise established theoretical paradigms in literary criticism and provide a fresh, often provocative approach to analysing all literary texts” (Hall, 2016, p. 1).

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