Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



This dissertation examines how adaptations of Victorian literature made in Hollywood by postcolonial filmmakers contend with the legacy of British imperialism and Hollywood’s role as a multinational corporate entity. Highlighting the increased number of postcolonial filmmakers adapting Victorian literature in Hollywood, the project demonstrates how film adaptation has become a strategy for, in the words of Salman Rushdie, “writing back” to imperial powers. Placing such adaptations of Victorian literature within the tradition of postcolonial rewritings of classic British texts, I bridge fidelity criticism, the auteur theory, and contrapuntal readings of source texts with studies of political economy in order to position Hollywood cinema as a location of past and present imperialisms. The first chapter examines George Stevens’s Gunga Din, emphasizing how the film demonstrates a break in the American valorization of British culture. I then trace the global dominance of Hollywood film conventions through my discussion of Guy Maddin’s Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary. The next chapters engage with how three postcolonial adaptations address the legacies of the British Empire and Hollywood. Analyzing P. J. Hogan’s Peter Pan, Mira Nair’s Vanity Fair, and Shekhar Kapur’s The Four Feathers, the chapters discuss how the filmmakers maintain fidelity to source texts to imbue the narratives with the perspectives of their nations of origin. The final chapters discuss two reworkings of Oliver Twist—Tim Greene’s Boy Called Twist (2004) and Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire (2008) to demonstrate the influence of positionality on adaptation as Hollywood International embarks on a globalized business model that controls representations of postcolonial nations.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Rastogi, Pallavi