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Screening Twenty-First Century Sight: Adaptation and 'the most perfect [...] observing machine'

Bishop, N (2018) Screening Twenty-First Century Sight: Adaptation and 'the most perfect [...] observing machine'. Adaptation. ISSN 1755-0637

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Abstract

This article examines recent adaptations of the Sherlock Holmes canon and argues that it is the symbolism of sight, traced back to Holmes’s ophthalmologist author, which drives modern interpretations of these century-old stories. It discusses the ways in which references to sight and vision embed critical intertextualities within modernized and alternative representations of the canon, while simultaneously offering a depiction of the multi-faceted media display of contemporary consciousness. The article also examines the ways in which the BBC series, Sherlock, in particular, makes sense of our twenty-first century surveillance culture, offering audiences both reassurance and a playful deconstruction of the role of both ‘surveillant’ and the surveyed.

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