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Title: A thematic-semiotic comparison of five 'Wuthering Heights' film adaptations
Authors: Catania, Saviour (1996)
Keywords: Wuthering Heights (Motion picture : 1970)
Film adaptations
Film criticism
English literature -- 19th century
Brontèˆ, Emily, 1818-1848
Issue Date: 1996
Citation: Catania, S. (1996). A thematic-semiotic comparison of five 'Wuthering Heights' film adaptations (Doctoral dissertation).
Abstract: This dissertation seeks to redress the balance in favour of Wuthering Heights film adaptations by considering their reviewers' unsupported accusation of infidelity in terms of the films' relative success in recreating Bronte's major themes in predominantly visual images. Each of the four chapters is a detailed thematic study, based on close observation of corresponding film sequences juxtaposed to the novel's equivalents. The first chapter assesses the Linden-Barret thematic concept of film adaptation by analyzing Bronte's religious theme and her theme of human depravity in the respective light of the Cohen paradox of deconstructive fidelity and the Battestin-Armour dyad of analogical autonomy. The first chapter establishes also a semiotic methodology of thematic companson by analyzing Bronte's bird-theme through the application of Metz's metonymic/metaphoric taxonomy of connoted signification. The second and third chapters analyze respectively whether Wuthering Heights film adaptations succeed in unveiling visual analogies on the Metzian connotative level for (a) Bronte's landscape characterization and the frost/fire paradoxism infusing her central love-theme and (b) the equally crucial theme of 'fantastic hesitation' underlying Bronte's interplay of homodiegetic narrations. The fourth chapter dissects in Metzian semiotic terms the musical scores and sound-effects codes of Wuthering Heights film adaptations to determine whether they succeed in echoing thematically the novel's essential 'wuthering'. The conclusion examines the prospects of Wuthering Heights on screen by assessing (a) some filmically undeveloped aspects of key Brontean avian incidents and (b) Bronte' s implied incest motif which is usually ignored in filmic recreations of the Catherine-Heathcliff relationship. For the purpose of this exercise, the film versions of Wuthering Heights directed by William Wyler, Luis Bufiuel, Robert Fuest, Yoshishige Yoshida and Peter Kosminsky have been chosen as sources for comparative analyses. What such analyses reveal is that, while the Wuthering Heights films directed by Bufiuel, Yoshida and Kosminsky are more consistently analogous thematically to Bronte' s text than their Wyler and Fuest equivalents, even the latter have their enviable moments of undoubted Brontean significance.
Description: PH.D.ENGLISH
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArt - 1996
Dissertations - FacArtEng - 1965-2010

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