Austenland: The Past Is a Foreign Theme Park
Riffing on P.L. Hartley’s line that “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there,” this chapter examines how the spatialization of literature and history in film and television allows and encourages audiences to use “the Regency” as a site for the gratification of desire. The historical reality show Regency House Party (2004) and the film adaptation of Austenland (2013) present the Regency as a place that one can visit, a place where desire, specifically female desire, is validated and fulfilled. As this chapter reveals, that female desire is constructed and bounded by heteronormativity and objectification. Seemingly affirming independent female desire, the spatialized Regency in these productions affirms conservative norms, presenting objectification and passivity as the apex of women’s pleasure.
KeywordsAustenland Shannon Hale Regency House Party Regency Jane Austen Space theory
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