Past Program

Sep 10 - Sep 17, 2002

From Page to Screen: Adapting Literature to Film


Many of the most exciting and acclaimed films today are based on classic and modern literature, ranging from works by William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and Henry James, to novels by some of the world'’s most acclaimed contemporary authors. In adapting a work from page to screen, the plot and characters in a work of literature must necessarily undergo transformations in response to both the constraints and the potential of the cinematic medium. A successful adaptation of a novel can not only enhance one's appreciation of the original work, but can also make it accessible to a broader public.

This session will explore the challenges and possibilities of adapting literary works to the screen. It will not only consider particularly successful examples, but will also seek to understand the fundamental relationship between the literary original and the cinematic adaptation. To what degree is it a work of art on its own, and, as such, are the director and screenwriter allowed liberties with plot and character? What liberties can be taken with plot and character while still preserving the integrity of the original? What are the differences and similarities of the literary and cinematic media? In exploring these issues, the session will seek to bring together a broad range of individuals, novelists, screenwriters, filmmakers, film and literary critics, as well as scholars of cinema and literature.