The Irish playwright John Millington Synge wrote that “A translation is no translation . . . unless it will give you the music of a poem along with the words of it.” What happens when a story is “translated” from one medium to another? What is the “music” of a source text, and must—or can—it be translated into another medium? How does cinematic art differ in its tools and effects from literary art? Is one representation of a story necessarily better than another? According to what standards? Is “which is better?” the right question to ask? By pairing texts and films, the seminar will probe adaptation from one art form to another as a process of both interpretation and creation. We will consider why we typically value “original” texts as we do, whether “fidelity” is a useful measure of an adaptation, and how we interpret different art forms in their own terms. Together, we will explore the translation of stories not only across media but also across time and culture, honing our skills in close reading of both literary and cinematic forms. In this writing-intensive seminar, students will practice their own processes of interpretation and creation by drafting and revising various projects, including analytical essays, research exercises, and group assignments. Groupings of texts and films may be drawn from among the following, although other groupings are possible: selections on Orpheus from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Cocteau’s Orphée (1950), and Camus’s Black Orpheus (1959); Shakespeare’s MacBeth, Welles’s MacBeth (1946), and Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood (1957); Stoker’s Dracula (1897), Herzog’s Nosferatu (1979), and F. F. Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1993); Cain’s Postman Always Rings Twice (1934) and Visconti’s Ossessione (1941); Orlean’s Orchid Thief (1998) and Jonze’s Adaptation (2003); Chevalier’s Girl with a Pearl Earring (1999) and Webber’s 2003 film by the same title; MacEwan’s Atonement (2001) and Wright’s 2007 film adaptation; Eugenides’ Virgin Suicides (1993) and Sofia Coppola’s 2000 adaptation.
Please Note: Students should be prepared to view on average one film a week outside of class.
Galpin Memorial Building1101 N. Bever StreetWooster, OH 44691Phone: 330-263-2004Fax: email@example.comHours: M-F: 8am-5pm
1189 Beall Avenue, Wooster, Ohio 44691. (330) 263-2000
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