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Issue Details: First known date: 2016... 2016 The Mystery of a Hansom Cab, the Classic Adaptation and the Australian Canon
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'Since it burst onto the literary scene in 1886, the reception history of Fergus Hume’s The Mystery of a Hansom Cab has been uneven. Initially a huge success with readers, the text also strongly influenced Australian crime fiction in the 1880s and 1890s. As the twentieth century wore on, however, its critical reputation fell away, only to re-cover more recently as attention returned to popular crime fiction. As a result, the novel might not seem an obvious, straightforwardly canonical, source for a major adaptation produced by the national broadcaster. This essay argues, however, that as a text poised between the classifications of ‘popular bestseller’ and ‘classic’, The Mystery of a Hansom Cab was a surprisingly attractive proposition as a new classic adaptation for the adapters who produced it for the ABC in 2012. The essay explains why this was the case, analysing the meanings and effects of the telemovie in relation to several different frames, including recent developments in the contextualisation of the classic adaptation genre, the production context of Australian television drama in this period, and other generically similar historical series screened just before it. In this particular case study, the adaptation’s relationship with these cultural and generic networks is shown to be more significant than the status of the source text.' (Publication extract)

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Last amended 7 Jun 2016 11:57:59
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