A load of nonsense: themes of Carroll's Alice books in Film Adapations

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Adaptation studies is a relatively new field that explores translations of texts into other media. Lewis Carroll’s Alice books are influential, nineteenth-century novels and have inspired many adaptations. Because of this, and the lack of a deeper understanding of how the novels are translated into film adaptations, this study will look at the themes from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (1871) and how they are interpreted and transposed to film. By close reading of the novels and two selected film adaptations (Disney’s Alice in Wonderland (1951) and Henderson’s Alice Through the Looking Glass (1998)), the themes of nonsense, logic and time will be analysed. These themes are the most important in both Alice novels and could not be omitted from an adaptation completely. Each adaptation has adjusted these themes differently to fit their own purposes, by reducing or increasing the amount of references, not only according to their own interpretations of the texts, but also to adjust the adaptation to their audience and kind of film adaptation. Even though an adaptation is never the original, it is not necessarily “better or less good” than the source text. This study shows that the adaptation makes use of the source text to create a new text, with different views and ideas, but with the same core, adjusted to serve a different purpose. These texts, in their turn, can be used as new ‘source texts’ for other adaptations.
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