University of Sussex
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Depth of field: aspects of photography and film in the selected work of Michael Ondaatje

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posted on 2023-06-07, 15:27 authored by Sarah Williams
This thesis examines aspects of photography and film in the selected work of Michael Ondaatje, specifically analysing their implementation and function within The Collected Works of Billy the Kid, Running In The Family, In the Skin of a Lion and The English Patient. Ondaatje's two films, Sons of Captain Poetry and The Clinton Special, as well as Anthony Minghella’s film adaptation of The English Patient, are also examined. My critical approach is eclectic and driven by the demands of individual texts, focusing on some of the ways in which photography and film affect and help define the formal and thematic components of the prose works. My approach addresses photographic perspective and reader response with specific reference to the ontological nature of photographic stillness, as well as various components of filmic writing and the challenges of prose to screen transfer in cinematic adaptation. This study reveals how an exploration of the photographic and filmic aspects of the texts provides new insights into the way Ondaatje’s work promotes indeterminacy of meaning and a blurring of the boundaries between genres.


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  • English Theses

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  • doctoral

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  • dphil


  • eng


University of Sussex

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