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Mediated Utopias: From Literature to Cinema

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Edited By Artur Blaim and Ludmila Gruszewska-Blaim

The volume comprises adaptation studies of ten selected utopian/dystopian fictions written and filmed in Europe and America during the 20 th and 21 st centuries: Things to Come, Lost Horizon, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Lord of the Flies, The Andromeda Nebula, Brave New World, Total Recall, The Secret Garden, Harrison Bergeron and Never Let Me Go. It focuses not only on the ways of constructing fictional realities and techniques of rendering literary utopias/dystopias into film, but also on their cultural and political determinants.
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Between the Scylla of Estrangement and the Charybdis of Naturalisation: Two Television Adaptations of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley: Grzegorz Maziarczyk

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Between the Scylla of Estrangement and the Charybdis of Naturalisation: Two Television Adaptations of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

GRZEGORZ MAZIARCZYK

Given the canonical status of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and the film industry’s “hunger for stories or merely for promising ideas for stories” (Thompson 80), it should not come as a surprise that the novel has been transferred to the screen. However, contrary to what might be expected, and in contrast to such dystopian classics as George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale, Huxley’s book has not been adapted into a major feature film. The two adaptations that have been made to date are TV productions, originally broadcast by the same cable network—NBC. The first filmic Brave New World, in 1980, took the form of a two-part three-hour-long mini-series directed by Burt Brinckerhoff. In 1998, NBC aired a new, recycled version of Brave New World—a stand-alone film, based on a completely new screenplay and directed by Leslie Libman and Larry Williams.

The reluctance of the film industry proper, so to speak, to exploit the lure of a well-known title can be interpreted as an indication of Brave New World’s resistance to straightforward adaptation. Huxley’s literary output is often cited as the primary example of the novel of ideas (cf. Hoffman; Kolek), a type of narrative fiction in which “conversation, intellectual discussion and debate predominate, and in which plot, narrative, emotional conflict and psychological...

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