Dark Town: Reimagining dangerous tradition, group ritual and brutal betrayal

Scott, Linda (2019) Dark Town: Reimagining dangerous tradition, group ritual and brutal betrayal. In: Illustration and adaptation, October 10/11 2019, Burgundy University Dijon France. (Submitted)

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Abstract / Summary

Glen Jellenik writing in The Oxford Handbook of Adaptation Studies defines ‘adaptation ‘as being ’An altered or amended version of a text, musical composition, etc., one adapted for filming, broadcasting, or production on the stage from a novel or similar literary source’.
‘The Lottery ‘(1948), a short story written by novelist Shirley Jackson was reimagined in the form of a Graphic Novel (2016) using the original text as the catalyst for an unsettling and beautifully rendered interpretation by Jackson’s grandson, Miles Hyman. Jackson was a writer renowned for her ability to create unsettling narratives which at first appeared to reflect the mundane nature of everyday American life, but gradually unfolded to reveal much darker themes. Jackson’s writing is sparse and thus, creates opportunities for Hyman to create new layers of communication. Through the use of strong, directional lighting, the characters are often depicted from below, creating a dramatic and sometimes threatening atmosphere, which is suggestive of a foreboding that is not necessarily defined in the original text until the climax.
Echoing his Grandmother’s technique, Hyman minimizes prose, allowing his striking images to create a veneer that is initially difficult to penetrate. Through the strategic use of cropping, he provides fragments of information that obfuscate the underlying tension building through the strangely lit images and hard to decipher characterizations. There is a sense throughout of what Freud termed ‘The Uncanny ‘. Unlike the film adaptation (1969), there is nothing light hearted about the atmospheres conveyed through these images.
Although it was Hyman’s original intention to faithfully reproduce the narrative, it could be argued that the death of his grandmother when he was only three years old prevented opportunities for conversation and collaboration with her to discuss whether or not his visual interpretation matched her own vision of what the characters and town should be, although the clothing and environments are reflective of the period in which the story is set and evocative of that time. He resisted attempting any adaptation of the narrative until recently and realised that it would be a challenging undertaking, particularly as there were few descriptive examples of either characters or environments. Hyman rendered both through the use of a ‘realistic ‘aesthetic.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: adaptation , illustration, Shirley Jackson, Miles Hyman , Graphic Novel , Linda Hutcheon , Kamilla Elliott , Kate Newell, The Lottery , short story , New Yorker
Subjects: Arts > Illustration
Courses by Department: The Falmouth School of Art > Fine Art
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Linda Scott
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2019 12:21
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2020 15:35
URI: http://repository.falmouth.ac.uk/id/eprint/3601

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