Native and Foreign Canons: Film Adaptations between Narrative Theory and Cultural Studies

The last two decades have seen a large number of monographs and essay collections on the film adaptations of literary works. Some of them aim at refining tools for an equally effective analysis of both literature and film, deriving such tools predominantly from narratology. Others contruct theories of intertextual relations, covering a variety of visual, auditory, and written texts as well as their hybrid configurations. For these studies film adaptations are useful material, as such films as if by definition refer to at least one other text, thereby starting off the mechanism of intertextual jouissance. Studies  of this type happen to fall into the fields of wider discussions on analogies, convergence and other relationships between word and image. Yet another trend is to examine the social, cultural, and political contexts of film adaptations. In this framework, film adaptations turn into a cultural space that hosts negotiations and struggles for power, involving and authoritative literary text and, in some cases, the tradition of its reception, as well as its deconstruction and transformation.

This book is not a history or a survey of either film adaptations or scholarship on them. Rather proposing a systematic analysis of film adaptations, it displays perspectives of inquiry. It asks when film adaptations happen and how they work. An attempt to approach a film adaptation as an event invites attention to the issues of reception, here including but not limited to the analysis of records that document the responses of readers and their groups.