The Literature/Film Reader: Issues of Adaptation
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From examinations of Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now to Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, The Literature Film Reader: Issues of Adaptation covers a wide range of films adapted from other sources. The first section presents essays on the hows and whys of adaptation studies, and subsequent sections highlight films adapted from a variety of sources, including classic and popular literature, drama, biography, and memoir. The last section offers a new departure for adaptation studies, suggesting that films about history―often a separate category of film study―can be seen as adaptations of records of the past. The anthology concludes with speculations about the future of adaptation studies.
Several essays provide detailed analyses of films, in some cases discussing more than one adaptation of a literary or dramatic source, such as The Manchurian Candidate, The Quiet American, and Romeo and Juliet. Other works examined include Moby Dick, The House of Mirth, Dracula, and Starship Troopers, demonstrating the breadth of material considered for this anthology.
Although many of the essays appeared in Literature/Film Quarterly, more than half are original contributions. Chosen for their readability, these essays avoid theoretical jargon as much as possible. For this reason alone, this collection should be of interest to not only cinema scholars but to anyone interested in films and their source material. Ultimately, The Literature Film Reader: Issues of Adaptation provides an excellent overview of this critical aspect of film studies.
though students are typically graded almost exclusively on their writing, most of us spend little time teaching it, preferring instead to assume it is an adjunct to the reading we do teach. We end up teaching our students books instead of teaching them how to do things with books because our college English curriculum is organized around literature at the expense of the active, writerly engagement, the sense of performance and play, the unquenchable sense of agency even in the presence of
trying to tell you a dream—making a vain attempt, because no relation of a dream can convey the dream sensation, that commingling of absurdity, surprise, and bewilderment in a tremor of struggling revolt, the notion of being captured by the incredible which is of the very essence of dreams. (Conrad, 1990, 24) Coppola also modified the original script’s ending, which featured the action-adventure film’s obligatory climactic battle. In thinking about the ending, Coppola said, “One of the books
speak out fearlessly on the political issues of their day, but with the disestablishment of these 07_274_Ch03.qxd 7/24/07 6:10 PM Page 47 Adaptation Studies and the History of Ideas 47 churches and the end, in the early nineteenth century, of lifetime tenure, ministers became dependent on the good will of their congregations to retain their jobs. As Douglas argues, the Northern businessmen and merchants who were influential members of these congregations had a vital interest in protecting
by virtue of its even partial knowledge of a well-known or otherwise valued source (e.g., prize-winning, creation of famous author, epitome of generic distinction) can affect response to a greater degree than texts and events with lesser public prestige or visibility. Second, the critic and his or her readership understand that a pattern of changes made by the film adaptation to what is presented in the mutually valued source (or sources) is usually more persuasive evidence of the meaning of an
conservative as well as the subversively challenging. These critics challenge the common assumption that MTV videos and the institution of MTV is only about pointless playfulness. Goodwin cites some specific examples: During its broadcast of the “Make a Difference” rock concert in the Soviet Union in August 1989, [MTV] repeatedly used the slogan “COOL MUSIC, NOT COLD WAR.” And in January 1992 MTV screened Public Enemy’s video “By the time I get to Arizona” with the stated intention of