Adapting Tasmania: Terrorizing the past

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In this chapter, I am primarily interested in exploring the performance of national and regional identity through the adaptation of national literature and folklore in the screen adaptation process. The two recent films I use as my main focus adapt a convict confession from nineteenthcentury Tasmania in various ways. These films are adaptations of an historical event — although one which depends on the reliability or otherwise of a first-person confession, itself recorded by more than one individual — and mediated through repeated fictionalized recreations since its occurrence. The films are therefore not adaptations in any straightforward sense; but they are adaptations all the same because they rely on an original event for their wider meanings. They represent also an accumulation of the meanings and morals ascribed to this confession; they are ‘political’ in their impact, in that they both revise and entrench particular views of Tasmanian history they rely on for their meaning. As films, they deploy recognizable film genres to facilitate the symbolic structures they wish to foreground, including horror and docu-drama; additionally, both films exploit the broader notion of the ‘Tasmanian gothic’ to add specific weight to their meanings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Politics of Adaptation
Subtitle of host publicationMedia Convergence and Ideology
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781137443854
ISBN (Print)9781137443847
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


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