Essentially ground zero for adaptation studies—it's actually kind of embarrassing that I hadn't given it a look until recently (I'm assuming checkingEssentially ground zero for adaptation studies—it's actually kind of embarrassing that I hadn't given it a look until recently (I'm assuming checking it out multiple times from the library to have it sit unopened on my shelf doesn't count, right?).
Bluestone follows Lessing's classic distinction between the verbal and visual as articulated in Laocoon: An Essay on the Limits of Painting and Poetry (though interestingly never references Lessing explicitly), and in minute detail argues that "what is peculiarly filmic and what is peculiarly novelistic cannot be converted without destroying an integral part of each."
Fair enough, though almost all analysis and commentary on the subject—my own included—in the half century since have taken on a more nuanced approach in how the literary and cinematic interact in film adaptations, thus Bluestone's study takes on that unenviable position of being that initial, influential text that everyone subsequently takes to task to erect their own theoretical conjectures. The majority of the book is comprised of essays that entail close, formalistic readings of both the cinematic and literary text of the type that was de rigueur in academic studies in the first half of the twentieth century (which is my diplomatic way saying that it's good stuff that makes for dull reading).
Someday I will sit down and give it a thorough read though. ...more
Dunno... can something be interesting without being compelling? Because that's the conflicted feeling I get when remembering this study—Stam is a distDunno... can something be interesting without being compelling? Because that's the conflicted feeling I get when remembering this study—Stam is a distinguished writer and scholar, of course, and I appreciate the varied and multivalent approach in analyzing Jules et Jim, which many feel is Truffaut's masterpiece (I need to rewatch, but I've always been firmly in the camp that holds that the director never quite reached the same heights he managed with Les quatres cents coups). Stam places both Henri-Pierre Roché's source novel and the film adaptation into a variety of biographical and historical contexts, and also looks at the later adaptations Truffaut made of Roché's work. It's a learned and impressive piece of scholarship that is also readily accessible—no easy feat. But does it say something that I never exactly bothered to finish it? ...more
Does anybody else ever look at those postcards of the covers of vintage books ready-made for hipsters and wonder what in the world the actual books coDoes anybody else ever look at those postcards of the covers of vintage books ready-made for hipsters and wonder what in the world the actual books could be about? You know, the types with absurdly decadent titles like Amour: French for Love or Princes of the Night authored by individuals with fabulous, fantastical names like Raymonde Machard and Princess Paul Troubetzkoy? In the 1920's and 30's Jack Kahane's Obelisk Press in Paris was one of those presses that released these types of titles by authors who had to hide behind pseudonyms to avoid public scandal (because the "narratives" were often thinly veiled depictions of their society friends). Not that Kahane necessarily wanted to print these things—he aspired to make available serious literature—but along with taking on important work by Henry Miller, Anaïs Nin, James Joyce, Charles Henri Ford, Radclyffe Hall, etc that had been banned in America and Britain for their explicit sexual subject matter, Kahane paid the bills by publishing mildly risqué smut with a tantalizing dash of homosexuality here, a suggestion of drug use there, and a whole lot of society gossip for good measure.
This should have been an important piece of scholarship, for apart from the major works of literature, most of the titles that Obelisk Press published have been largely lost to history, and Pearson unearths many of these forgotten books out of archives and libraries all over America and Europe and then painstakingly composes synopses and author biographies for each. But Pearson, apart from the introductory biography chapters on Kahane, takes on a snarky tone of description that often becomes downright bitchy and mean-spirited that after a while really begins to undercut the scholarly integrity of the entire work. Certainly, it would have been hard to describe many of these books without a sense of amusement and fun; I just wished that Pearson would have tried a bit harder to reduce the number of unnecessary personal judgments. ...more
Just like any anthology the quality varies from essay to essay, but for research on Barnes's eclectic body of writing it's an essential resource. I onJust like any anthology the quality varies from essay to essay, but for research on Barnes's eclectic body of writing it's an essential resource. I only read the essays focusing on Ladies Almanack and Nightwood, and while a number proved helpful in my research, Susan Snaider Lanser's "Speaking in Tongues: Ladies Almanack and the Discourse of Desire" was one of those scholarly essays in the best sense of the word, unshackling its subject for me and attuning me to a number of issues, angles and perspectives I probably would not have gotten otherwise. ...more