Adapting poetics : a fusion of ideas in literature to film adaptation

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Gkikas, PA

This study attempts to formulate and test an original idea in adaptation theory, one that exploits the\ud productive aspects of the two main tendencies in adaptation studies, fidelity and intertextuality. The\ud question that is addressed here is how the prioritization of a novel's poetics as the focal point for the\ud transposition of the literary text can inform the study and practice of literature to film adaptation. It\ud will be argued in this thesis that an abstract description of the literary and filmic work can be used\ud as a blueprint for the transposition between the two media. In the context of this study, adaptation is\ud defined as a mode of engagement with the source text, while the adapter is defined as the agency\ud responsible for the transposition. Poetics, in the context of this study, is a system of aims and\ud methods, that represent the work of art as a system of creative decisions. Michail Bakhtin's concept\ud of dialogism, as well as his view of the author, have informed the theoretical structure of this thesis\ud to a significant degree.\ud The proposition has been tested in the context of adaptation criticism, through an examination of\ud Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now based on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. The\ud application of the rationale of this thesis on the specific case has revealed a complex system of\ud interaction between two works that are superficially very different. In the context of adaptation\ud practice, a form of practice based research has been employed in the discussion of the filmic\ud possibilities of Fyodor Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground. The system that derives from the\ud conceptual framework of this thesis has created a discussion of alternatives, through a joint\ud consideration of source poetics and medium demands.\ud The conclusion of this research is that the focus on the poetics of a work can potentially provide\ud fertile ground for the examination of adaptation as product, and for the practice of adaptation as a\ud re-contextualisation of literary works in the filmic medium.
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