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Reading the Mysterious Disappearance of Agatha Christie as an Incubation of an Independent Woman

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2023, 36(1), pp.151-173
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama
  • Received : March 15, 2023
  • Accepted : April 6, 2023
  • Published : April 30, 2023

Seunghyun Hwang 1

1인천대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Although the works of mystery writer Agatha Christie are known and respected worldwide, as time passes, the facts about the author’s life are less and less familiar, especially one event in 1926 that involved an unexplained disappearance mystery. It is that event that is the focus of Kathleen Tynan’s novel Agatha (1979) and the novel’s film adaptation directed by Michael Apted from a 1970s perspective in the information about Agatha’s long and adventurous life. Tynan wrote Agatha based on speculation of what happened during the mysterious 11-day disappearance of Agatha Christie. More commonly known than the novel, the film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Costume Design Oscar and received the National Society of Film Critics Award in 1980. Unfortunately, today the novel and film are not widely available even though they hold a place in literature and film history as a reminder that Agatha was a real person whose life experiences helped shape her writings. They reflect the decade after the First World War which was a pivotal time in British history. By examining the novel Agatha and its film adaptation, this article connects elements of Tynan’s story to historical and cultural women’s issues in Britain during a significant societal transition. Grounded in factual reports of Agatha Christie’s disappearance and life, the fictional story presents a growth or incubation of a woman who changes from a wife who feels a total emotional dependence on her husband to a woman who develops a strong self-reliance.

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