Queer beauty: illness, illegitimacy and visibility in Dickens's Bleak House and its 2005 BBC adaptation

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Abstract

The visual plays a prominent role in the narrative of Charles Dickens's 1853 novel Bleak House; more specifically, a complex relationship between the visual and knowledge is integral to the identity intrigues at the core of Bleak House. This article will explore the relationship between the ‘visual economies’ (Robyn Wiegman) of Dickens's novel and its 2005 BBC adaptation. More specifically, it will focus on the relationship between illness, illegitimacy and the visible; it will suggest that the visible signs of Esther's illness, as inscribed on her face, can be read as signifying an invisible condition: illegitimacy. This article will explore the ways in which this adaptation, as a neo-Victorian television drama, lends renewed visibility to issues of gender, power and legitimacy at work in Dickens's novel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-18
JournalJournal of Adaptation in Film and Performance
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2009

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