Intertextual Adaptability of the Character of Sherlock Holmes from Literature to Film Production
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This study explores the theme of intertextuality and adaptation between literature and film on the basis of Sherlock Holmes, the 19th/20th-century character conceived by Arthur Conan Doyle. It shows how the character has been adapted from literature into the cinematic domain on the basis of three modern TV series, including Dr. House (Heel & Toe Films/Fox, 2004), Sherlock (Hartswood Films/BBC, 2010), and Elementary (Hill of Beans/CBS, 2012). Sherlock Holmes, who first appeared in 1887, was originally featured in four novels and 56 short stories. However, since that time Holmes has been adapted for over 240 movies exploiting enormous popularity of this character in a variety of settings. The paper analyzes prototypical, basic features of Sherlock Holmes underlying its intertextual adaptability. As discussed in this study, there are four prototypical features of Sherlock Holmes, i.e. (1) outstanding powers of perception combined with intellect; (2) unconventionality in social behaviour; (3) helpful partner; and (4) ability to use scientific achievements. The paper demonstrates that Sherlock Holmes conceptualized in such a basic manner can act as successfully in modern cinematic productions as it did in late 19th-century literature.
Martyna Paśnik is a graduate of English Philology at the University of Łódź and a member of The Geoffrey Chaucer Student Society. As an active member of the Open Boat Students’ Society she is a cotranslator for the literary journal Dekadentzya. She is interested in British and American literature, mainly in children’s and young adult literature and the period of the 19th century, which is visible in both of her already written theses, her BA thesis, entitled “Human Gods and Their Imperfect Perfection: Dr House as a Descendant of Sherlock Holmes and Auguste Dupin” and her MA thesis “The Secrets of Popularity and The Universal Appeal of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter.”
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