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 A&H 337 - Film and Text


​It is a researched fact that more than 50% of films have their literary originals. More than three-quarters of the American Academy Awards are granted to films based on novels, short stories and dramas. There are plentiful examples of famous films based on equally famous literary texts, starting from the already hackneyed Pride and Prejudice, through Bridget Jones’ Diary, The Lord of the Rings, the Narnia cycle, A Passage to India, Batman, A Thousand and One Nights, Frankenstein, Dracula, Ninety Eighty-Four to Hamlet, to name just a few examples of countless other popular films derived from literary sources. 

This close relation between literature and film becomes even clearer when we realize that film is itself a text that tells a story. Keeping this in mind, in this new course we will discuss various ways in which a literary original is translated on screen, and where fidelity to the literary source is but a general parameter in comparative study. A&H 337 Film & Text discusses various dimensions of film adaptation, and offers instruction in methodology of film analysis, building on students’ knowledge of literature, media and popular culture. The course is thus vital to everybody interested in literature, media, popular culture and journalism as it aims at outlining manifold transactions that occur in the process of adaptation, in the mind of the adaptor, the critic and the viewers.  

In our discussion of literature and film, we will depart from the fundamental typology of genres (epic, lyric, drama and nonfiction), and study various narrative forms (novel, short story, novella, the Bible, fairytale, fantasy, romance, and popular fiction) as well as lyric and drama.  We will start from similarities between literary and film texts (plot, structure, character, setting etc.) and proceed to discuss properties of the film language along with its non-literary tracks (image, acting, music, sound effects) which add up to the “syntax” and “diction” of film and account for its tone and themes.

Studying complex relations between literature and film, students will use filmic, bibliographic and Internet resources in order to learn key terminology, concepts, methods, and theories of adaptation.

The course is addressed to A&H students interested in literature, journalism, media, theatre, and art history as well those SSC majors who intend to pursue qualitative social science studies such as Cultural Analysis, Sociology, Visual Anthropology and Cultural Studies at an MA level.

During the course we’ll study and discuss lots of film material.   


Dr. Ewa Ignaczak​





One of the following courses is required in order to take this course:

  • A&H 135 Great Literary Works
  • A&H 136 Introduction to Literary Studies
  • A&H 237 Life and Travel Writing