This project focuses on the question of time in contemporary film adaptations of literary novels. While much of the work on adaptation has centered on questions of “fidelity”—how “true” the film is to the book (with the hidden suggestion that no copy equals the great original!)—my argument is that film adaptation not only has a language of its own, but points to fascinating rifts and gaps and confusions in the text itself: translating literature into film is an exercise not just in adapting to a different medium but in taking on different ideas of time itself.
The junior research partner will join me in reading narrative theory, film theory, and lots of fun new historical studies of time and culture. We will look at some contemporary “original films” like La Jetee and Sliding Doors, but most of our attention will focus on films such as Raul Ruiz and Volker Schlondorf's film versions of Proust, Harold Pinter's screenplay for “The Proust film,” his versions of The French Lieutenant's Woman and his (unfilmed) screenplay for Remains of the Day, and the multiple versions of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. We may even think about Jane Austen.
The student should have a love of literature and of film, and a curiosity about the way these two languages “speak” to one another. It would be helpful if the student had skills in digital media and/or be open to acquiring technical skills in digitizing images and creating film clips. The research will be both literary and filmic, and it will not be just “watching movies” but thinking about how people watch—and how they know and intuitively recognize when they are “watching a book.” That is my question.