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A Virginia Woolf of One's Own: Consequences of Adaptation in Michael Cunningham's The Hours A Virginia Woolf of One's Own: Consequences of Adaptation in Michael Cunningham's The Hours

by Grant, Brooke Leora

Abstract (Summary)
With a rising interest in visual media in academia, studies have overlapped at literary and film scholars’ interest in adaptation. This interest has mainly focused on the examination of issues regarding adaptation of novel to novel or novel to film. Here I discuss both: Michael Cunningham’s novel The Hours, which is an adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, and the 2002 film adaptation of Cunningham’s novel. However, my thesis also investigates a different kind of adaptation: the adaptation of a literary and historical figure. By including in The Hours a fictionalization of Virginia Woolf, Cunningham entrenches his adaptation with Virginia Woolf’s life and identity. My thesis compares the two adaptations of Virginia Woolf’s identity in the novel The Hours and the film The Hours and investigates the ways in which these adaptations funnel Woolf’s identity through the perception of three men—Michael Cunningham, novelist; David Hare, screenwriter; Steven Daldry, director.

My reaction to the fictionalization of Virginia Woolf in The Hours mirrors Brenda Silver’s sentiment in the introduction to her book Virginia Woolf: Icon: “My distrust of those who would fix [Virginia Woolf] into any single position, either to praise her or to blame her, remains my strongest motivation” (5). The vast discrepancy between the one dimensionality of Mrs. Woolf, The Hours’ character, and the complexity in Virginia Woolf’s identity that becomes apparent to a reader of her fictional and autobiographical writing reveals the extent to which Cunningham and the filmmakers simplify Virginia Woolf’s identity to fit their adaptations. My motivation in writing this thesis is in drawing attention to the ways in which The Hours fixes Virginia Woolf into a single position and the resulting effects The Hours may have on future interpretations of Virginia Woolf.

Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Brigham Young University

School Location:USA - Utah

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:adaptation identity feminism sexuality virginia woolf michael cunningham the hours mrs dalloway

ISBN:

Date of Publication:08/01/2007

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