• Text, image, audience: Adaptation and reception of Andrea Newman's Bouquet of Barbed Wire

      Pheasant-Kelly, Fran (Edinburgh University Press, 2016-01)
      Andrea Newman’s 1969 novel, A Bouquet of Barbed Wire has been adapted twice for television: first in 1976, and later in 2010. Controversially, the novel and its adaptations inferred father – daughter incest, a subject that was considered taboo during the 1970s. Arguably, though partly arising as a result of available technologies at that time, the repressed nature of incest is reflected in the claustrophobic aesthetics of the 1976 television version. In contrast, the more diverse cinematography, panoramic settings and less populated frames of Ashley Pearce’s 2010 version correspond with an increasingly transparent approach to incest and child abuse, consistent with the contemporary zeitgeist, which fosters openness across all social and cultural structures. In particular, the changed climate involves a mounting preoccupation with, and sensitivity to, child welfare and legislation, arising as a result of national and international media revelations of child abuse in both domestic and institutional scenarios. Engaging theoretically with Raymond Williams’ concept of a ‘structure of feeling’, as well as referring to Freud’s seduction theory, and television theorists including Karen Lury and John Ellis, this article locates parallels between the way that incest is represented and the socio-political and cultural contexts of the respective television adaptations of Newman’s novel.