Every English major at UC Berkeley is required to complete a Seminar course (English 190: Research Seminar or English H195A/B: Honors Course) before graduation. English 190 is a semester-long course that focuses on “critical approaches, literary theory, or a special topic in literary and cultural studies.” English H195A/B is structured similarly to English 190, but is admission-based and lasts for an entire year.
I took both seminar courses during my time at Berkeley, and coincidentally, both of my theses explore the translation from text to film, the relationship between an original work and its filmic adaptation, as well as the influence of contemporary society and celebrity on cultural works.
My English 190 course, “Contemporary British Culture and Literature,” was completed in Fall 2014 with Professor Eric Falci. In my thesis, “The Persistence of the Dream: Tracing the Shakespearean Icon Through Two BBC Adaptations,” I compare and contrast the 1981 and 2005 BBC adaptations of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream. I locate both adaptations within their socioeconomic moments and analyze how these contemporary moments influence how British culture, as portrayed by the BBC, adapts Shakespeare.
In Fall 2015 and Spring 2016, I completed English H195A/B with Professor Scott Saul. My honors thesis, “Romanticization and Reality: How Fan Engagement in Three Contemporary Adaptations of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice Speaks to the Strength of Austen’s Legacy,” investigates how the 1995 BBC, the 2005 Focus Features, as well as the 2012 YouTube-based The Lizzie Bennet Diaries each portray particular moments of Elizabeth and Darcy’s relationship. I return to the original novel and compare how filmmakers have deviated from — or remained faithful to — the text, and use this analysis to develop a better understanding of “Austenmania” (Austen fan culture) and how it has persisted, without pause, for over two centuries.