When Books Become Films (LIT2100.01)

Rachel Lyon

What is lost and what is gained when a work of literary fiction becomes a film? Who gets to retell what stories, and when? What makes a successful adaptation, and why? To what degree does the spirit of the original story persist, when, like the Ship of Theseus, its various components have been replaced, repurposed, and removed? In this course we will look at issues of craft, culture, and narrative fidelity in select American films from 1960 to the present and their literary sources, from the Daphne du Maurier story “Don’t Look Now” and Nicolas Roeg’s film of the same name to Sarah Waters’ cult novel Fingersmith and Park Chan-Wook’s The Handmaiden. Other films we may study include The Swimmer, The Long Goodbye, The Color Purple, The Remains of the Day, If Beale Street Could Talk, and Brokeback Mountain. We will read each text and discuss it on its own terms, with the help of secondary sources of its time; then we will watch and analyze each film through the lens of its literary predecessor, learning some basics of film analysis and criticism along the way. For a final project, students will have the opportunity to write on a film adaptation of their choice and the book or short story that inspired it.

Learning Outcomes:

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 4
W 10:00AM - 11:50AM & W 2:10PM - 4:00PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: All courses , Fully In-Person , Literature , Updates