This book analyzes early twenty-first century film and television's fascination with representing the Anglo-American eighteenth century. Grounded in cultural studies, film studies, and adaptation theory, the book examines how these works represented the eighteenth century to assuage anxieties about values, systems, and institutions at the start of a new millennium. The first two chapters reveal how films like Gulliver's Travels (2010) or the remake of Poldark (2015) use history to establish the direct relationship between the eighteenth century and the twenty-first. The final chapters examine pairs of productions for how they address and legitimate different aspects of contemporary ideology such as attitudes toward race and gender, or the connection between technological and social progress.
Karen Bloom Gevirtz is Associate Professor of English and Co-Director of the Women and Gender Studies Program at Seton Hall University, USA, specializing in eighteenth-century British literature. She is author of Life after Death: Widows and the English Novel, Defoe to Austen (2005) and Women, the Novel, and Natural Philosophy, 1660-1727 (2014), and co-editor of Gender and Space in British Literature, 1660-1820 (2014) with Mona Narain.
1. Introduction2. Gulliver's Travels: Silly, Silly, Silly Stories 3. Poldark: The Vampire that We Need4. Austenland: The Past is a Foreign Theme Park5. Crusoe and Crossbones: Longitude and Liberalism