Adaptation of a Literary Text to Film

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This study introduces basic concepts of the emerging discipline of literary-film adaptation criticism specifically geared toward literary disciplines. The text describes the evolution of adaptation criticism from Virginia Woolfe's somewhat derisive comments about film adaptation to modern scholarly approaches. The work builds on and adapts elements of literary criticism for adaptation study observing how basic elements of film criticism can be adapted for literary adaptation study. Case studies are included to demonstrate a method of discussing each form through its own methods. Despite the disparate qualities of the two media literary adaptation criticism offers a perspective in which literature and film can be discussed as partners that modify one another.


“The author is concerned to stress the potential of film for sending complex messages and how these might grow out of its dealings with a particular literary text - and then how that might in turn further illuminate the precursor text. Her purpose is to devise an approach that ‘is designed to discover fuller meaning in both texts.’ She seems to be in a good position to do so, with a feeling for both media and for the ‘intertextuality joined entity of film and novel.’ She is not concerned with finding an adapted film better or worse than the preceding novel, but is more fruitfully interested in exploring the dynamics of exchange between them. The academic study of adaptation has always occupied a somewhat blurred position between the two disciplines of film and literature: the fact that it is now being recognized as a discipline in its own right will be reinforced by the kind of original thinking Quinn has brought to bear on the subject. ... Quinn’s own approach ... brings a fresh new voice to bear on a debate that needs just that.” - Professor Brian McFarlane, Department of English, Monash University

Table of Contents

Foreword by Brian McFarlane
1 Adaptation Criticism an Evolving Art
2 Bringing Adaptation Study to the Classroom
3 Managing Literary Adaptation Study in the Classroom
4 Adaptation: Viewing The Age of Innocence through the Minds of Two Artists
5 Capturing Character in Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge
6 Sherman Alexie, Postmodernism, and the Meta-Narrative Conundrum

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