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Brian Moore’s «Black Robe»

Novel, Screenplay(s) and Film

Series:

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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2. Black Robe: The Novel 13

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13 A comprehensive study tracing both Moore's fictionalisation of the original Jesuit documents in his novel as well as its adaptation to the audio-visual medium of film has not been published to date. It is the aim of this thesis to fill this gap while making a contribution to the study of the fictionalisation of history in historical novels as well as to the analysis of film adaptations in general. 2. Black Robe: The Novel This section will be divided into three subsections. The first addresses some theoretical preliminaries respecting the genre of Moore's work on the basis of Ansgar Nünning's publication on the theory, the typology and the poetics of the historical novel.11 This forms the basis of my discussion of Black Robe as a historical novel and my critical evaluation of existing scholarship on the novel's treatment of history. I will focus on such issues as the similarities and differences between history as an academic discipline and literature as far as methods of selecting and presenting information are concerned. The overall aim of the second subsection – entitled 'Brian Moore's Fictionalisation of History' – is the classification of Black Robe on the basis of Nünning's suggested typology for the historical novel. Historical novels use historical information in varying degrees insofar as authors use their sources selectively. Also, the modes of presentation differ among the types. These two main criteria are the basis of the differentiation of historical novels into types or subgenres. A short analysis of Moore's 'Author's...

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