Francesca Bianchi Sara Gesuato

The Adaptation of a Novel to Filmic Needs: Thematic Focus in the Subtitles of Two Filmic Versions of Pride and Prejudice

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This paper aims to identify the shared and unshared themes in the dialogues of two screen adaptations of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, and to determine to what extent they correspond to those identified by scholars in both the novel and the films. The subtitles from the two films were semantically tagged, and compared with the spoken part of the BNC sampler to extract their key semantic domains. These concordances were qualitatively examined through a close reading of their concordance lines. The analyses showed that the subtitles of the two films share a set of themes relevant to the plot, and reflect all the core themes that scholarly work has repeatedly identified in the novel on the basis of corpus methods or subjective observations. However, quantitative and qualitative differences were observed. The subtitles of the 2005 film give more prominence to romantic love and individual relationships, while those of the 1940 version include a wider number of themes, and have a stronger focus on social conventions and social judgements.


  • Corpus-Informed Analysis
  • Subtitles
  • Film Dialogue
  • Filmic Transposition
  • Pride and Prejudice


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