All for One: What The Three Musketeers Can Teach Us About Adaptation




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De Montfort University


Thesis or dissertation

Peer reviewed


This work looks at adaptations of The Three Musketeers, from the novel’s inception to the present day. This thesis has a double purpose: the first is to create a comprehensive analysis of the different ways in which The Three Musketeers makes an appearance in our culture, and the second is to offer an interpretation of key aspects of adaptation theory through the different versions of the novel. I analyse different types of adaptations of The Three Musketeers (books, films, toys, objects, monuments, museums) in order to trace how the ‘essence’ of the characters has changed, using this to explore precisely what ‘essence’ means when it comes to a text, challenging traditional notions surrounding the term in order to demonstrate how the ‘essence’ of a text is constructed through adaptations. This work consists of two parts. In the first, I will review the pertinent literature of both Adaptation Studies (looking at fidelity, ‘essence’ and how to identify the ‘core’ of a text, and character adaptation) and Alexandre Dumas (looking at the genre of historical fiction and discussing how the author has been received through history, as well as the context of production and reception of The Three Musketeers). The first part finishes with an analysis of the characters in order to identify how they appear in the text. The second part will look at the text in adaptation, opening with a brief synthesis of the elements that are preserved. I will then look at different ‘incarnations’ of the text: starting with paper (exploring editions, illustrations, children’s versions, playbills, and early cinema) and then moving to the screen. Screen versions will be analysed first generally through a historical overview with a subsequent chapter exploring the most influential versions. The final two chapters will look at the Musketeers in completely different contexts: first, exploring ‘global’ Musketeers, and then analysing toys, collectibles, monuments, costumes, and different tangible manifestations of the characters.





Research Institute