Towards a Wise Despotism: Traces of Thomas Carlyle in the BBC North and South (2004)

  • Mark Wallace Dublin City University
Keywords: adaptation, cultural memory,


Thomas Carlyle was among the most influential writers in the English language during the 19th century, but is now ostensibly absent from cultural memory. Nevertheless, his ideas may be seen to live on indirectly in the works of the writers he influenced, one of whom is Elizabeth Gaskell. The 2004 adaptation of Gaskell’s North and South provides an instance of a modern approach to Carlylean ideas embodied in the source text. The adaptation finds itself in dialogue with Carlylean notions of heroism and leadership, modifying these notions for acceptance with a 21st century audience. The treatment of the Carlylean content of Gaskell’s novel is both revealing of socio-political ideals latent in modern audiences and a demonstration of the transmission and transmutation of ideologies through narrative and across media.


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Author Biography

Mark Wallace, Dublin City University


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How to Cite
Wallace, M. (2012). Towards a Wise Despotism: Traces of Thomas Carlyle in the BBC <i>North and South</i&gt; (2004). Between, 2(4).