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The constructions of authorship and audience in the production and consumption of children’s film adaptations

Stephenson, Amanda (2016) The constructions of authorship and audience in the production and consumption of children’s film adaptations University of Southampton, Faculty of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis , 209pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)


In the public consumption of film adaptations of popular children’s literature, which is, particularly in relation to the popular press, influenced by the marketing communications of the filmmaking team, the discursive negotiation of author and audience constructs is pivotal in the endeavor to side-step or manage the seemingly unavoidable discourses of fidelity. In this, child audiences are imagined and constructed in a variety of ways; however, these constructions generally have very little to do with actual children and much more to do with how the filmmakers wish/need to manage and negotiate the significance of both book and film authors. This area is largely unexplored in adaptation studies, for whilst the topic of fidelity proliferates the discipline, its function as a marketing tool - as well as its links to how author(s) and audience(s) are imagined and constructed - needs further investigation. What is clear in the following case studies is that the representations of audience(s) vary depending on the culturally understood personas of the author(s) at hand, therefore as the representation of the various book and film authors shift from case study to case study, so does the representation of the audience. In Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling is deemed to be the primary authorial presence, and the audience are imagined as a cohesive, loyal group of avid readers. In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Tim Burton and Roald Dahl are equally significant (despite the lack of Dahl’s physical presence) because they are both deemed to be outsiders, much like the audience members are all (implicitly and paradoxically) also deemed to be. In The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe, Andrew Adamson is unable to compete with the emotional attachment many adult journalists and critics have to the book, and the result of this is that the discursive presence of the child audience is largely absent. All of these films were within a few years of each other, yet the ‘child,’ childhood more generally, and the intended audience are all constructed in very di erent ways demonstrating that what is important to those promoting (and often those consuming) a film is a solid author construct, and any discussions of children or child audiences only serves to validate these author figures.

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Published date: March 2016
Organisations: University of Southampton, Film


Local EPrints ID: 393687
PURE UUID: 0eac4297-0bb7-4970-8ec4-3c270b78ba0f
ORCID for Shelley Cobb: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 19 Jul 2016 10:51
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 19:06

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Author: Amanda Stephenson
Thesis advisor: Tim Bergfelder
Thesis advisor: Linda Williams
Thesis advisor: Shelley Cobb ORCID iD

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