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Strange Masks of Truths and Identities
Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Moving Image Production. (Audiovisuella studier)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6834-5556
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The connection between novel-to-film studies and identity politics has been addressed since at least 1915, Kamilla Elliot observes, and Laurence Raw has recently drawn relevant attention to the analogy between Jerome Bruner’s theories about identity formation and personal adaptation through reorienting narration and media adaptations. Inspired by Raw, in this paper, I discuss the perils, truths, and morals of adaptation that the characters in Patrick McCabe’s novels lay bare.

McCabe, mostly known for “Butcher Boy” (adapted for the screen by Neil Jordan), consistently dramatizes how people try, and often fail, to adapt to new social conventions and realities with the guidance of cultural archetypes and ideal fictional characters. In Winterwood (2006) and The Holy City (2009) the protagonists, and the novels, conjure adaptions and appropriations of James Bond, mediations of the Irish Paddy, the New Man, Stephen Dedalus and others, in their attempts to mould out new identities in a world of flux. They do so mostly through narrative reconstruction of the truth about themselves, their environment, and of the fictional references they make use of. As McCabe’s protagonists navigate through the mazes of truth and identity, they demonstrate that, as long as fluctuations of ontologies keep epistemological issues at ransom, identities of characters and stories demand re-imaginations at risk of absolute loss of identity, for the sake of adaptation, and vice versa. For characters and stories, it is a matter of life and death both way around. 

Like Derrida’s postulation “il n'y a pas de hors-text”, McCabe’s narratives ask the field of adaptation studies and creative teams of adaptations the simple questions: What is the true text and what is a true identity within that frame? What strategies should be employed to ascertain a valid truth of the text and valid true identities, in that context? The answer given is that any adaptation entails the human conflict between the yearning for truth and identity, and the fear of loss of the same. Adaptations, McCabe teaches us, is a perilous game of strange masks of identities, regardless of whether media, political, or social adaptations are considered.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
Adaptation film novel Patrick McCabe Identity Appropriation
National Category
Cultural Studies Studies on Film Media and Communications Specific Literatures
Research subject
Research Profiles 2009-2020, Intercultural Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-44766OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-44766DiVA, id: diva2:1722618
Conference
13th Annual Association of Adaptation Studies Conference, Facts: True, Alternative, Evolving with a special focus on Entertainment Franchises, The University of Amsterdam, 27-28 September 2018.
Available from: 2022-12-29 Created: 2022-12-29 Last updated: 2022-12-30Bibliographically approved

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Hermansson, Joakim

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • chicago-author-date
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  • Other style
More styles
Language
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  • en-US
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  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • asciidoc
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