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A scalable approach for synthesis of ultra-thin (<10 nm) transition metal dichalcogenides (TMD) films on stretchable polymeric materials is presented. Specifically, magnetron sputtering from pure TMD targets, such as MoS2 and WS2, was used for growth of amorphous precursor films at room temperature on polydimethylsiloxane substrates. Stacks of different TMD films were grown upon each other and integrated with optically transparent insulating layers such as boron nitride. These precursor films were subsequently laser annealed to form high quality, few-layer crystalline TMDs. This combination of sputtering and laser annealing is commercially scalable and lends itself well to patterning. Analysis by Raman spectroscopy, scanning probe, optical, and transmission electron microscopy, and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy confirm our assertions and illustrate annealing mechanisms. Electrical properties of simple devices built on flexible substrates are correlated to annealing processes. This new approach is a significant step toward commercial-scale stretchable 2D heterostructured nanoelectronic devices.
Television and film, not libraries or scholarship, have made Charles Dickens the most important unread novelist in English. It is not merely that millions of people feel comfortable deploying the word 'Dickensian' to describe their own and others' lives, but that many more people who have never read Dickens know what Dickensian means. They know about Dickens because they have access to over a century of adaptations for the big and small screen. Because Dickens has proven to be the most easily adapted of major novelists, he has become, somewhat ironically, one of the foremost novelists in the English canon. This is ironic because it was just this capacity to entertain that once confined him to the margins of the 'great tradition' in fiction. Dickens on Screen is an invaluable resource for students and scholars alike. It provides an exhaustive filmography and is well illustrated.
Your career has been uniquely associated with Dickens's work. You have performed Dickens on the radio, on film, and on the stage. Is there a Dickens character that you would like to play that you haven't yet done?
Yes, I very much want to play Mrs. Gamp.
In the mid-1990s the BBC decided to do Martin Chuzzlewit (1994) and the director was Pedr James. I wrote him and I asked if he would interview me. And he said that I wasn't on his list, but he would come and see me in She Stoops to Conquer, which I'd asked him to do. I was playing in London, in the West End, at the time. He came to see it. I was playing Mrs. Hardcastle. And I didn't hear from him again. And then I rang him up, as Mrs. Gamp. I said, “See her again, sweetums.” And he came to the phone and he was amused and he said, “Alright. I'll come and have lunch.” But he said “I think you're too young.”
When I arrived at lunch, the make-up lady was there and he said, “Could you make Miriam up to look the age of Mrs. Gamp, that I think Mrs. Gamp should look, which is about sixty.” Which was about ten years older than I really was at the time. And she said, “Oh yes ! You just do this and this,” and she said what you do. And then we talked.
A great deal that follows in this book is likely to seem not just strange but very strange to a reader who thinks that adaptation is supposed to copy an original reliably, transferring it to a new medium intact, and with respect. In this, the standard view, a good adaptation is good precisely because it gets a better source right. And here, just to be even-handed, is a strong argument for just that view, put with her usual eloquence and force by the novelist Fay Weldon, replying to my request for a preface.
Thank you for asking me to write your preface – I am flattered – but my problem is though good on Austen I am bad on Dickens. (I don't know why this antithesis occurs so naturally – she was born in 1775 and he in 1812, separated by nearly four decades: but I suppose in our heads Dickens and Austen both are just vaguely way back around then.) They made me read Mr. Pickwick at school, and I simply could not laugh. The book was illustrated – line drawings of corpulent men with pot bellies in tight waistcoats, which seemed not just outlandish but revolting. (This was in New Zealand: the old men I knew were skinny, gnarled pioneers.) I do admire that energy, that rolling prose, that Rushdie-ish freedom with language, at least when it's read aloud, but I simply cannot bear to read it myself. […]
Dickens and theatre? It comes down to what you might mean by “and.” If you mean something like: could Dickens come into the theater as a participant, I'd say, certainly not. Oh yes, he tried. But early on he found he couln't. And thereafter he didn't.
That may seem surprising. Dickens is by every standard account the most theatrical of Victorian novelists. This Companion would be thought considerably less companionable if it lacked a chapter on Dickens and theatre (though perhaps not this chapter on Dickens and theatre). All his life Dickens paid fierce, unremitting attention to other people’s plays and to other people’s performances. What he saw he regularly purloined, and then transformed into fiction. He probably knew as much about the practical work of theaters as anyone working on a nineteenth-century stage. (Here I should point out that, following the practice in theatre studies, I am spelling as theatre anything like a playhouse, particularly a professional playhouse, and as theater, the practice or theory of performance.) Acting obsessed him. He supported actors experiencing financial hard times and even dreamed of the great actor Macready as his desirable double. His novels were quickly adapted to the stage, not just as they appeared, but, through the vagaries of serial publication, often even before they appeared (in book form).
“it was quite a mercy, ma'am,” added Mrs. Nickleby, in a whisper to Mrs. Wititterly, “that my son didn't turn out to be a Shakespeare, and what a dreadful thing that would have been”
(Nicholas Nickleby xxvii, 353)
Dickens's rejection of theater carries both an intra- and an extrapsychic component – just like everything else. This chapter explores both. It tries to uncover the psychic associations Dickens's traumatized narcissism projected onto acting. And it also tries to recover the meaning (or meanings) contemporary acting was likely to convey to Dickens. Rather too neatly, the chapter separates these two considerations, aligning the first with the first novel, The Pickwick Papers (1836–1837), and the second with the third, Nicholas Nickleby (1838–1839). But that division is both artificial and misleading. Nickleby not only inherits but plunges even further the actor's devaluation begun by the earlier novel. Indeed, if there is one through-line connecting both texts it is this: it is not just an anxious Dickens who finds theater shame-inducing. The theatrical profession itself, to anyone's finding, was already and everywhere seared with shame.
EXCEPT ACTORS SOMETIMES
“… there are only two styles of portrait painting; the serious and the smirk; and we always use the serious for professional people (except actors sometimes)”
Miss La Creevy, Nicholas Nickleby (x, 115)
Dickens's first “villain,” Alfred Jingle, is also, paradoxically, his first comic hero. It's no surprise that a deracinated, plebeian Dickens should start out siding with an impecunious, on-the-make Jingle against the fatuous, bourgeois dilettanti of the Pickwick Club.
Well before he became an author and Boz, Dickens, young, impecunious, and fiercely ambitious, managed to get himself that rare chance, a Covent Garden audition. He had been preparing sedulously for this opening, and capable judges thought he had a decent chance to be hired as a comedian. But when the day of the audition arrived, he bunked. He said he was ill. And he never rescheduled. Almost everything that follows in this book emerges from thinking about that no show.
I don't think this audition is the missing clue to reading Dickens, just as I don't think Citizen Kane is serious about Rosebud. The hidden clue lost in the early life seems to me just Welles's and Mankiewicz's tour de force satire about the over-easy Freudianism swamping pre-war Hollywood. And that's just as it should be. All I'm saying, to start, is that from the start Dickens was in not quite equal parts thrilled (less) and (more) frightened by the stage.