V for Vendetta as Cultural Pastiche

A Critical Study of the Graphic Novel and Film


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About the Book

The 2005 James McTeigue and Wachowski Brothers film V for Vendetta represents a postmodern pastiche, a collection of fragments pasted together from the original Moore and Lloyd graphic novel of the same name, along with numerous allusions to literature, history, cinema, music, art, politics, and medicine. Paralleling the graphic novel, the film simultaneously reflects a range of authorial contributions and influences.
This work examines in detail the intersecting texts of V for Vendetta. Subjects include the alternative dimensions of the cinematic narrative, represented in the film’s conspicuous placement of the painting The Lady of Shalott in V’s home; the film’s overt allusions to the AIDS panic of the 1980s; and the ways in which antecedent narratives such as Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, Huxley’s Brave New World, and Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 represent shadow texts frequently crossing through the overall V for Vendetta narrative.

About the Author(s)

James R. Keller is a professor and chair of the English and Theatre department at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky. The author or editor of numerous works about popular culture, he lives in Lexington, Kentucky.

Bibliographic Details

James R. Keller
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 247
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3467-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0497-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction: Shadow Texts, Superstrings, and Parallel Universes      1

1. Tyranny and the Powder Treason      17
2. V’s Terrorism: Power and Performance      36
3. “Half Sick of Shadows”: Tennyson, Waterhouse, and The Lady of Shalott      60
4. V and The Count of Monte Cristo      78
5. 1984 and the Dystopian Genre      90
6. Knight, Death, and Devil      105
7 “Odds and Ends Stolen Forth of Holy Writ”: Shakespeare and the Invention of V      123
8. “Monuments of Unaging Intellect”: The Shadows in V’s Gallery      165
9. V for Virus: The Spectacle of the AIDS Avenger and the Biomedical Military Trope      191

Conclusion: Of Shadow Texts      223
Bibliography      229
Index      235