Braddon, Mary Elizabeth. Lady Audley’s Secret. 1862. Oxford University Press, 2012.
Braddon’s sensation novel is one of my primary sources for my research project. Through a story about a woman who has changed her identity and attempted murder twice to protect herself from poverty, Braddon investigates madness in females in the patriarchal society of the 1800s. I will be comparing the novel to the 2000 film adaptation, looking into the different expressions of Lady Audley, Robert Audley, and Dr. Mosgrave regarding Lady Audley’s mental illness diagnosis and her own reasoning behind her crimes. My use of the novel will channel Gaipa’s Piggybacking and Leapfrogging strategies, bringing Braddon’s novel into a larger conversation about film adaptation and the changes of the definition of mental illness over time.
Cox, Jessica. “From Page to Screen: Transforming M. E. Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret.” Journal Of Gender Studies, vol. 14, no. 1, 2005, pp. 23-31. Academic Search Complete, doi: 10.1080/0958923042000331461. Accessed 1 Dec. 2016.
Cox’s article directly compares Braddon’s novel to the 2000 film adaptation, using (in my opinion) Stam’s “iconophobia” to attempt to explain the problematic qualities of Hounam’s writing for the TV film (Stam 5). Cox holds Hounam and his masculinity responsible for the film’s divergence from the plot and, as she believes, the feminist qualities of Braddon’s novel. Cox’s article is helpful in helping me identify the differences between the novel and the film and offers interesting insights on the feminist qualities of the novel (and why she believes that the film is less feminist). I will use Gaipa’s Picking a Fight and Leapfrogging to argue against Cox’s premise that the film needs to be compared to the book (instead of coexisting as Stam describes) but also utilize her comparison information as her article is one of very few that directly compares my primary sources.
Hachaichi, Ihsen. “‘There Is Sex In Mind’: Scientific Determinism and the Woman Question in Lady Audley’s Secret.” Brno Studies In English, vol. 38, no. 1, 2012, pp. 87-102. Academic Search Complete, doi: 10.5817/BSE2012-1-6. Accessed 1 Dec. 2016.
Hachaichi discusses the presence of phrenology within Lady Audley’s Secret as well as within the 1800s, focusing on the field’s complicated relationship with women. Although the field encouraged women to recognize themselves as individuals, phrenology also enforced patriarchal values. Hachaichi connects this history of the ideology of phrenology to Braddon’s novel, pointing out incidences in which phrenology’s ideas may have been at play in the motives and reasoning behind the characters’ actions. This article gives me an account of contemporary medicine in the 1800s, something the characters would have been familiar with and would have informed their behavior. I can utilize this information and use Gaipa’s Crossbreeding with Something New to connect Hachaichi’s article with Hacking’s book about the repercussions of mental illness and the history of mental illness’ connection to today (or what had informed the 2000 film).
Hacking, Ian. Mad Travelers: Reflections on the Reality of Transient Mental Illnesses. Harvard University Press, 2002.
Hacking’s book uses a case study to describe the history of mental illness and the consequences of diagnoses, and connects it to the wealth of information surrounding mental illness today. Once I obtain this source, I hope to be able to Ride Hacking’s Coattails (Ass Kiss) and Piggyback off of him in order to learn about the changes in mental illness and diagnoses over time and apply his research to connect the film and the novel through their differences (and time span between their productions). Hacking’s book will help me support my idea that the differences in production years inform the novel and film separately and allow the characters to express new ideas about similar topics each time.
Lady Audley’s Secret. Directed by Betsan Morris Evans and screenplay by Donald Hounam, Carlton Television, 2000.
The 2000 film adaptation of Lady Audley’s Secret is my second primary source. The film diverges from the novel’s plot in Dr. Mosgrave’s treatment of Lady Audley and Lady Audley’s motive behind her crimes. Mosgrave diagnoses Lady Audley as mad and “unfeminine” for her, as she puts it, attempt as a woman to simply survive. I will Piggyback and Leapfrog from this film so it can “[take] up a legitimate place alongside the novel,” incorporating information about the progress mental illness diagnoses have made up until the production of the film, and suggest how this information could have impacted the characters’ free expression on television (Stam 10).
Matus, Jill L. “Disclosure as ‘Cover-Up’: The Disclosure of Madness in Lady Audley’s Secret.” University Of Toronto Quarterly, vol. 62, no. 3, 1993, pp. 334-355. Academic Search Complete, www.search.ebscohost.com.queens.ezproxy.cuny.edu:2048/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=4436148&site=ehost-live. Accessed 1 Dec. 2016.
Matus argues that Braddon’s use of madness to explain Lady Audley’s murderous behavior serves as a cover-up for the true underlying issues of class and power, or the true reasoning behind Lady Audley’s attempted crimes. Interestingly, this article was published before the release of the TV film and explains the exact reasoning behind Lady Audley’s actions as the on-screen Lady Audley seven years later. In a reverse way, I believe that this article can Ride on My Own Coattails (Ass Kiss), supporting my idea that the scientific and cultural knowledge of the late 1990s and early 2000s informs the diverging final scene of the film and gives the characters an opportunity to express the same views as the novel in a different, contemporary way. I can also describe this as a form of Crossbreeding with Something New, but instead Matus’ article predicts correctly the film’s new ideas.
Showalter, Elaine. The Female Malady: Women, Madness, and English Culture, 1830-1980. Pantheon Books, 1985.
Showalter’s book focuses specifically on madness in women during the time of Lady Audley’s Secret. The book even has a chapter entirely about the misconception of hereditary madness from mother to daughter, which is included in both Braddon’s novel and the 2000 film. Although the idea of hereditary madness is rejected by Dr. Mosgrave in both instances, Lady Audley (both on page and on screen) had grown up believing and identifying herself by this idea. I will Ride Showalter’s Coattails (Ass Kiss) and Crossbreed with Something New to utilize her information on madness in women, which was in the novel and film as well as in society, and how the diagnosis of mad women reinforced gender roles (including those of Lady Audley, especially so in the novel). However, I will also apply Showalter’s ideas to the film, which presents Braddon’s story in the same time period as the novel but incorporates 2000 logic and scientific advancements, even if unintended.
Stam, Robert and Alessandra Raengo, editors. Literature and Film: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Film Adaptation. Blackwell Publishing, 2005.
Stam provides a comprehensive guide to adaptation theory in film and literature in the introduction to this book. He goes through basic vocabulary, from explaining various reasons why film adaptations of novels are condemned to bringing his readers to present-day ideas regarding adaptation theory. Specific ideas of his such as narratology and transcoding are of specific interest, as they describe “story as a kind of genetic material or DNA to be manifested in the body of specific texts,” mine being Braddon’s novel and the 2000 TV film adaptation (Stam 10). I will be Riding Stam’s Coattails (Ass Kissing) throughout my research project and to inform myself about the progress of adaptation theory over time as well as support my ideas of coexistence between the novel and the film (as opposed to the fidelity discourse that Stam describes, and as I had found in more dated articles while researching).
In my ballroom diagram, I started at the center with Braddon’s novel and Evans and Hounam’s 2000 film, providing in the film’s bubble what differences the film presents that I will be addressing (Walk’s #3 about a mystery or puzzle needing answering, as well as #7, there’s an inconsistency that needs addressing). From there, I branched out to the left. There is an interesting conversation going on between Showalter, Hacking, and Hachaichi. Hachaichi focuses on the novel and points out the presence of phrenology and its ideologies that are present in the book, specifically regarding how they affect women’s feelings about their individuality but also how these feelings are still constrained by the patriarchy around them. I think that Hacking will help me further Hachaichi’s ideas (Walk’s #5, we can understand a larger issue by studying this smaller one) beyond phrenology and focus more on the diagnoses of mental illness. Showalter also enters this conversation, as she discusses madness in women specifically at the time of the novel, adding to Hacking’s information as well as expanding Hachaichi’s ideas (Walk’s #6, this seemingly insignificant matter is actually important). Matus connects to Showalter as well as the novel and the film, as she comments that the idea of madness at all in the novel acts as a veil for Lady Audley’s true issue, her class struggles– which, hence my crystal ball drawing, actually predicts what happens in the film seven years after the publication of her article (Walk’s #1, the truth isn’t what one would expect). Cox connects to Braddon, but has an X on her arrow with Evans and Hounam because she believes that the film’s adaptation took away from the important feminist ideas in the novel. I will use Walk’s #7 to address this tension between Cox and Stam, who explains adaptation theory and the idea that a novel and its film adaptation can share the same story and add to it in interesting ways (instead of comparing the two and picking a favorite, putting down the other choice). Stam also helps me understand Cox’s reasoning behind her comparison.