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Brian Moore’s «Black Robe»

Novel, Screenplay(s) and Film

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Antje Schumacher

Studying Brian Moore’s Black Robe (1985), this book examines the dual adaptation process of historical sources into fiction and fiction into film. The fictionalisation process is analysed on the basis of the Jesuit Relations of the 17 th century and Moore’s novel. Besides transforming and compiling information from these annual reports, Moore also uses them to justify his choice of obscene language for the indigenous characters. The visualisation process is studied with the help of various versions of the screenplay with respect to the differences of narrative and narration in fiction and film. A final exemplary analysis illustrates in detail how the original historical sources were transformed via the novel and the screenplays into the final visualisation in the motion picture.

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Contents

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1. Introduction ...................................................................................................................... 11 2. Black Robe: The Novel ..................................................................................................... 13 2.1. Preliminary Deliberations on History and Historical Novels ....................................... 14 2.2. Brian Moore's Fictionalisation of History ................................................................... 17 2.2.1. A 'Novelist's Licence': Moore's Selective Method ................................................ 18 2.2.2. Narrative Techniques ........................................................................................... 38 2.2.3. Moore's Black Robe as a Realistic Historical Novel with Revisionist Elements ... 41 2.3. Reading Black Robe ................................................................................................... 42 2.3.1. Encountering the Other ....................................................................................... 45 2.3.2. Consequences of Encountering the Other for the Self .......................................... 48 2.3.3. Coming to Terms with the Self and the Other ...................................................... 53 3. Adapting Black Robe to the Screen ................................................................................... 57 3.1. Preliminary Considerations on Adaptations of Novels to the Screen ........................... 62 3.2. The Screenplays: Nine Visions of Black Robe ............................................................ 68 3.2.1. Elements from the Novel in the Screenplays ........................................................ 69 3.2.2. New Scenes in the Screenplays ......................................................................... 115 3.3. The Final Version: Beresford's Black Robe ............................................................... 128 3.3.1. Comparative Plot Outline .................................................................................. 132 3.3.2. The Enunciative Modes: An Exemplary Analysis .............................................. 141 4. Conclusion ..................................................................................................................... 151 5. Works Cited .................................................................................................................... 155 6. Appendix ........................................................................................................................ 161 6.1. Appendix One: Elements from the Novel in the Screenplays .................................... 161 6.2. Appendix Two: New Scenes in the Screenplays ........................................................ 163

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