Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Jeffory Clymer


Twenty-First Century Adaptations of Early Twentieth Century American Protest Literature examines the resurgence of didactic political literature in the United States during the 21st century, specifically adaptations of early 20th century American leftist protest works by authors such as Upton Sinclair, Jack London, and Richard Wright. While the most political aspects of these writers’ fiction are often either criticized as too politically overt – such as Sinclair’s The Jungle and Wright’s Native Son – or forgotten in favor of an author’s perceived literary merit – London’s The Iron Heel in comparison to his other works like Call of the Wild – this project argues that contemporary adaptations of such didactic political works show an effort to accomplish previously unmet political goals and ideals. In effect, these contemporary didactic adaptations seek to recognize continued political failures in the United States because political reforms written about 100 years earlier remain unaddressed; additionally, these works push toward constant adaptation in the new century as a recognition of inequalities specific to a 21st century American citizenry. A previous so-called narrative of failure is adapted instead to a newly revitalized narrative, and a rejection of primarily faithful adaptations alone invites complex interrogation about the influences of changeable political stories.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)