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Nineteenth-Century Novels and the Movies

Abigail Burnham Bloom abiga52088@aol.com
The New School, Fall 2006 Online

Nineteenth-Century Novels and the Movies

Movies must be examined as being the product of many people and as containing many layers of sight and sound as opposed to novels, which are basically the words on the page of a single author. An adaptor translates words on a page into words spoken by a character or narrator, as well as light, sounds (noise and music), and moving pictures. The complexity of the original must be passed over in favor of clarity and those strands of the work chosen for emphasis. Through analysis of the choices made in creating adaptations, deeper levels of the novel and the film emerge, revealing the richness and depth in both art forms. Each novel and film will be studied on its own, within the context of its cultural era, and particular attention will be paid to the places where the plot, characters, and images diverge from the original novel.

Reading List:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Selected film adaptations of these novels. Students must arrange to view the films.

To see the Victorian Age and its literature on a continuum with our own.
To be able to identify the techniques, styles, and themes of major Victorian novelists.
To understand how the concerns of each age are demonstrated by the novels and by the films created during them.
To examine what the films can teach us about the novels from which they have been adapted.

Week 1: Introduction. Background in the Victorian era and the history of the cinema.
Week 2: Jane Eyre, part 1.
Week 3: Jane Eyre, part 2.
Week 4: Jane Eyre adaptations. Paper #1 due.
Week 5: Great Expectations, part 1.
Week 6: Great Expectations, part 2.
Week 7: Great Expectations adaptations. Paper #2 due.
Week 8: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Week 9: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde adaptations. Final discussion due.

The course will require 2 papers, a panel discussion, and a final discussion.  The papers will involve comparing a scene from the novel with a scene from a film adaptation.  Students are required to comment online 3 times a week.

Grading Policy: 50% participation and panel; 30% papers; 20% final discussion

Attendance: Any unexplained absence will adversely affect your grade.

Plagiarism: The New School adheres to a Zero Tolerance Policy regarding plagiarism.

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