Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Judith Lewin

Second Advisor

Brian Hauser




Kubrick, film, adaptation, narrative, construction


Over the course of Stanley Kubrick’s career, he adapted three controversial novels into three of his most successful films. Lolita, A Clockwork Orange, and Traumnovelle are all full of sexually-explicit content which, when adapted to film, caused even more controversy. Print and film are fundamentally different, and Kubrick faced a unique challenge by choosing source texts that were often uncomfortable for their audiences to read. Sexually explicit scenes in film are much more potent than those in novels; thus, for Kubrick to be successful he must find a balance between recreating the scene’s effect from the novel and allowing the audience to be comfortable enough to continue watching. My thesis demonstrates that the more subtle the representation of sexuality, the more effective the film is in its recreation of the source text. Kubrick was able to duplicate the tension found in the source material by using symbolic representations, changes in the narrative and in characters. By analyzing how sexual tension is produced in these novels and the films Eyes Wide Shut, Lolita, and A Clockwork Orange I prove how detail in their narrative construction, mise-en-scene and dialogue successfully creates sequences that toe the line between discomfort and sexual explicitness.