In her sixty years on earth, Gene Stratton-Porter was many things: a women's club organizer, nature photographer, naturalist, conservationist, best-selling novelist, and a burgeoning film producer who died just as her film studio began to realize her mission of adapting her novels into movies that could further her education and conservation efforts. By 1960, eight of her books had been turned into twenty-one films—silent and sound, black and white and color, from Poverty Row studios to members of the Big Five. This article examines how Stratton-Porter and others translated her regionalism and conservationism to film across a span of forty-three years that saw major revolutions in Hollywood filmmaking. The Hollywood studio system, I argue, appropriated her successful brand of regionalism and her audience of women's club members, while also augmenting her problematically genteel mode of activism.
Hollywood Regionalism: What the Studio System Did with Gene Stratton-Porter's Nature Novels
Alexandra Edwards is a Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on the intersections of literature, film, and other media in the early twentieth century, with a special interest in the historical recovery of neglected women writers. She has won two Primetime Emmy Awards for her work as a transmedia producer creating interactive adaptations of women's novels.
Alexandra Edwards; Hollywood Regionalism: What the Studio System Did with Gene Stratton-Porter's Nature Novels. Feminist Media Histories 1 April 2020; 6 (2): 16–42. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2020.6.2.16
Download citation file: