Postmodern Pirates

Tracing the Development of the Pirate Motif with Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean


Postmodern Pirates offers a comprehensive analysis of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean series and the pirate motif through the lens of postmodern theories. Susanne Zhanial shows how the postmodern elements determine the movies’ aesthetics, narratives, and character portrayals, but also places the movies within Hollywood’s contemporary blockbuster machinery. The book then offers a diachronic analysis of the pirate motif in British literature and Hollywood movies. It aims to explain our ongoing fascination with the maritime outlaw, focuses on how a text’s cultural background influences the pirate’s portrayal, and pays special attention to the aspect of gender. Through the intertextual references in Pirates of the Caribbean, the motif’s development is always tied to Disney’s postmodern movie series.

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Susanne Zhanial (Ph.D. University of Vienna, 2017), is a freelance scholar. Her research areas include film, postmodernism, and gender, and she has published on pirates, monsters, and Kristeva’s theory of the abject.
Part 1
Pirates of the Caribbean

1 Introduction

2 Postmodernism and Contemporary Hollywood Cinema
 1 Theories of Postmodernism
 2 Postmodernism in Hollywood

3 Pirates of the Caribbean—a Postmodern Blockbuster
 1 The Economic Aspect
 2 Intertextuality and Self-Referentiality
 3 Reworking and Playing with Narrative Conventions
 4 Genre Transformations and Hybridity
 5 Spectacle and the Narrative

4 Disney’s World of Adventurers and Outlaws
 1 Captain Jack Sparrow
  1.1 Sparrow’s Art of Storytelling
  1.2 Questions of Self, Identity, and Memory
 2 Heroes and Villains, Good and Bad Pirates
 3 The Young Adventure Hero and the Heroine

5 Postmodern Piracy: The Key to Disney’s Treasure Trove

Part 2
The Pirate Motif

6 Framework

7 Pirates in History and Travel Literature
 1 From Fact(ion) to Pirate Fiction
 2 Pirates of the Caribbean and Early Pirate Literature

8 Pirates in British Literature
 1 Romanticism: the Pirate as Byronic Hero
 2 Victorianism: Pirate Villains in Children’s Literature
 3 Late Victorian Literature: Pirate Classics
  3.1 Piracy in Treasure Island
  3.2 Long John Silver
  3.3 Treasure Island’s World of Money
  3.4 Peter and Wendy: Fantasy and Parody
  3.5 Captain James Hook
 4 Early Twentieth-Century Literature: Playing (with) Pirates
 5 Pirates of the Caribbean and British Pirate Literature

9 Pirates in (Hollywood) Movies
 1 Hollywood’s Early Pirate Films<
/br>  2 The Glorious Years of the Pirate Film
  2.1 Male Pirates
  2.2 Female Pirates
 3 The Decline of the Pirate Film
 4 Ship-Wrecking the Pirate Film: Cutthroat Island
 5 Pirates of the Caribbean and Twentieth-Century Films

10 Pirates of the Caribbean’s Cultural Legacy

This book is aimed at scholars and students working in contemporary film, postmodernism, piracy, and gender. It will also appeal to fans of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean.
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