Intersections of Body Theory and Literary Adaptation in Jane Eyre


Abstract of a presentation given at the 2008 Body Project conference at the University of Missouri-Columbia.This presentation was made during the session "Creating a Space for the Female Body."I have recently developed an interest in cinematic body theory and the ways women are presented in mass media. Although current scholars recognize the limitations of psychoanalytic ideologies of spectatorship, their works are still too dependent on theories of the gaze. Scholars should be in search of new ways to theorize the female body in film. I believe that critiquing the gaze is only part of the necessary work: we cannot challenge preexisting models if we do not propose new ones. From my work in literature, I have come to believe that body theory intersects with adaptation studies -- a conflation that has not been widely explored in current scholarship. In this intersection between the two fields of criticism, I find a new model for theorizing the body that does not rely on the psychoanalytic gaze. Screen bodies represent cultural conflicts of what it means to be a woman, both in the society that produces the adaptation and in the society that produced the adapted text

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This paper was published in University of Missouri: MOspace.

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