Charles Dickens ' Great Expectations

2277 Words May 2nd, 2016 10 Pages
Although Charles Dickens’ classic novel Great Expectations was published in 1861, modern-day playwrights, authors, and directors go to great lengths to preserve its timelessness. Many of these writers feel that the best way to keep the novel relevant to society is to alter the original novel to make it culturally relevant or acceptable. The idea of cultural studies in regards to literature and literary criticism began in the 1950s and “involves viewing and analyzing practically any recorded phenomenon, present or past, as a social text” (Richter 1325). One movement in particular that sought to revive Great Expectations as a social text and therefore retain its social relevance is the movement of Postmodernism. Postmodernism is simply described as a separation from reality and emphasizes the self as coming from within. Although there have been many comic, play, and film adaptations of Great Expectations, there are two directors who take very different cultural viewpoints for their film adaptations. David Lean’s Great Expectations was released in England in 1946. Lean’s modern adaptation catered to a post-World War II audience. Because of this audience, Lean’s adaptation incorporates elements of a fairytale imagery and gothic horror. Another director, Alfonso Cuarón, also modernized Great Expectations to maintain the novel’s cultural relevance. Cuarón’s adaptation was released in America in 1998. This adaptation appeals to a “Generation X” audience, incorporating themes such…
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