Literature and Film

“Translation, Adaptation, and the Global Media Assemblage”

Course Description

“Seeing literature as a system operating on the principles of movement and exchange means comparing and connecting one text, time and place, with another, and hearing the echoes of one or indeed many, in the voice of another.” – Vilashini Cooppan

Literature travels. Nowhere is this more evident than through the production and consumption of cinematic adaptation of literature. This course will ask students to critically examine films often labeled as “world cinema” in relation to their source material (both Anglophone and in translation) and the social, historical, and cultural contexts of both. In reading original texts with their adaptations, we will attempt to answer several questions: How and why was this story adapted? What culturally, spatially, temporally specific changes were made in the translation? And what significance do the changes in media, space, and time do to the narrative?

We will be reading widely in the fields of world and transnational literatures, translation theory, film, and media theory, and grounding these theoretical and historical readings in examinations of primary texts, both literary and cinematic. By the end of the class, when the theory load lightens, students will be encouraged to bring in texts of their own for analysis and discussion.

Course Goals

Your success in this course will be measured by your ability to:

  • Develop a working understanding of film and media theory, as well as translation and adaptation theory.
  • Critically engage with historical, sociological, and cultural theorizations of cinematic adaptations of literature.
  • Contextualize a diverse body of texts within different national and geographic diasporas and transnational movements.
  • Translate and interpret a text through close reading, cultural analysis, etc. into original persuasive and appropriately supported arguments.

Course Requirements

You will be required to attend every class on time, having completed all the assigned readings, and ready to participate. Your success in this class will be contingent on your active engagement with the course materials and your classmates. Please refer to the “Important Stuff” section below for class policies that will affect your grade.

You must also check your Umail accounts regularly (or forward to an account that you do check) as well as GauchoSpace.

Required Texts

  • Course Reader (Available at Alternative Copy Shop)
  • The Classic Fairy Tales, Maria Tatar, eds.
  •  (Norton Critical Editions)
  • Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll*
  • Macbeth, William Shakespeare*
  • Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen*
  • Midaq Alley, Naguib Mahfouz
  • Madam Butterfly, John Luther Long*

*These can be found in digital form for free, and do not need to be purchased in hard form, depending on student preference. Please purchase appropriate editions (can be found in bookstore) of all other books. All books are also available at the campus bookstore.

Grade Breakdown

  • Participation, 20%
  • Midterm, 25%
  • Paper Abstract, 10%
  • Ignite Presentation, 15%
  • Final Paper, 30%