Fandom, Fidelity and Adaptation - a case study on Harry Potter
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Adopting the Harry Potter series as the case study, this dissertation applies poststructuralist and adaptation theory to conduct a textual analysis of the rapport of fidelity between transformative fan cultural production and the original source text. The aim is to acknowledge and legitimize fanworks as the natural expression of artists that refuse to remain passive consumers, and demonstrate how they fit within and are a product of contemporary participatory culture. Chapter I will focus on defining fan fiction as a form of adaptation, in that it is transformative in content. When located within poststructuralist theories of intertextuality, the fan writer can be identified as the reader in the Barthesian sense, not just receiving meaning but reinterpreting and reshaping it. Furthermore, the application of the Bakhtinian discourse of dialogism to the analysis of both the rapport of fidelity between fan fiction and source text and the reciprocal influences on one another of different fan fictions highlights how they work with and against one another to create a larger whole of understanding of the original text, a communal interpretation. In Chapter II, the difference in the rapport of fidelity will be employed to analyse the effectiveness of adaptation of the Warner Brothers produced Harry Potter films and Team Starkid’s Very Potter Musicals, showing the importance of establishing authorship even within adaptation, as defined by the skill in editing and recycling. The study will demonstrate that not only do fanworks not infringe on the intellectual property of the author of the original text, but by adding to the metatext surrounding it and fuelling interest and creativity among the fans, fan cultural productions help to extend the longevity of a text’s legacy, keeping it alive by embedding it within popular culture.
BA (Hons) English and Drama
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