Adaptation persists as a major area of inquiry in both film and literary studies. Over the past two decades, scholars have extended the debate well beyond George Bluestone’s influential Novels into Film (1957) by taking into account such concerns as intertextuality and different forms of narrative enabled through new media. A dominant trend has been to dispense straight away with questions of fidelity and “faithfulness,” the assumption being that such views are naïve, moralistic, and rooted in a cultural prejudice against the audiovisual. While acknowledging the merits of this position – namely its complication of the one-way “page-to-screen” perspective – our conference seeks to put the question of fidelity back into play. We wish to explore the ways in which the newer, more sophisticated approaches can still accommodate forms of fidelity between two or more texts without having to reinscribe untenable distinctions between “original” and “copy,” and without having to argue from a strict media essentialist position that stages an impasse between linguistic and cinematic means of articulation. In addition, we want to recognize and account for fidelity’s cultural currency among filmmakers and audiences alike, no matter how impossible fidelity might be in a literal sense.
The conference is scheduled in conjunction with a reading by the Irish novelist and playwright Patrick McCabe on Thursday, March 22, 2007, at 8:30 pm in the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium. As part of the Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series, the event is co-sponsored by The Book Center, Wyndham Garden Hotel – University Place, The Department of Classics, University of Pittsburgh Press, and Creative Nonfiction. McCabe is the author of five novels including The Butcher Boy (1992) and Breakfast on Pluto (1998), both of which were adapted for the screen by Neil Jordan. For more information regarding McCabe’s life and award-winning fiction, click here.
Watch for more information to come, including a detailed conference schedule.