Chris Louttit

His research focuses on Victorian fiction and its afterlives exploring two unifying themes: the relationship between fiction and popular culture from the Victorian period to the present day, and the interaction of Victorian literature with other media, especially illustrations and film and television adaptations.

His interdisciplinary focus extends into adaptation studies, history of the book and neo-Victorian studies, and his work has appeared in journals such as Adaptation, Book History, Dickens Quarterly, Gothic Studies, Neo-Victorian Studies, Philological Quarterly and Women’s Writing.

Prof. Louttit will discuss Seeing the Nineteenth-Century Novel through New Eyes: Digital Adaptations of the Classics for the Gen Z Audience

Web series adaptations of the classics, especially Shakespeare and Austen, have been a familiar part of digital culture since the watershed appearance of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (2012-13). Adaptation critics have paid particular attention thus far to relatively high-profile Austen and Shakespeare vlog adaptations, especially the glossy Pemberley Digital productions, with this strand of scholarship culminating in Jennifer Camden and Kate Faber Oestrich’s Transmedia Storytelling: Pemberley Digital’s Adaptations of Jane Austen and Mary Shelley (2018). Much less attention has been paid, however, to later waves of low-budget creativity that have taken the genre in new directions since those peak, early years of the literary-inspired web series. In the post-2016 phase of this digital phenomenon, adapters have focused in particular on nineteenth-century multi-plot novels. My lecture will provide contextualised analysis of a range of these engagements with Victorian fiction, focusing especially on Maggie Hale’s Corner (2017) and Public History—A David Copperfield Web Series (2019-20) and paying more selective attention to Away from It All (2016-17) and Middlemarch: The Series (2017). These adaptations, I argue, provide us with fascinating evidence of an adaptation community at work which retells these nineteenth-century classics from a perspective that foregrounds LGBTQIA+ experience.