CFP: [Film] Adaptation

full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Dennis Cutchins
contact email: 


The Adaptation Section of the
2008 National Popular Culture & American Culture Associations
Conference: March 19 â€" 22, 2008
San Francisco Marriott

Proposal deadlineâ€"November 9, 2007.

Adaptation: Distinguishing the Cinematic and the Literary

In Sculpting in Time Andrey Tarkovsky suggested that it is high time that
we make clear distinctions between film and literature. “When people talk
about the specific norms of cinema,” he writes, “it is usually in
juxtaposition with literature. In my view it is all-important that the
interaction between cinema and literature should be explored and exposed as
completely as possible, so that the two can at last be separated, never to
be confused again.” As someone who studies adaptations I heartily agree
with Tarkovsky. If we are to understand adaptations we must first begin by
understanding that the film and the precursor text(s) are not the same
thing. Nor do they share the same “essence” or “spirit.” One way to
follow Tarkovsky’s admonition and separate cinema from literature is to
distinguish those elements that are particularly “cinematic” or “literary”
in these texts. A literary moment in a Henry James novel, for instance,
might prove an especial challenge for a screen writer or director bent on
creating a “cinematic” film.

I assume that these same kinds of distinctions might be made with other
forms of adaptation. A short story that is adapted for the stage, for
instance, or a video game adapted to a novel may have elements, techniques,
tropes, or imagery peculiar to each medium. In an effort to understand
adaptations more fully I’d like to encourage papers this year that work to
distinguish these elements, particularly the literary from the cinematic.
Of course, papers on any and all aspects of adaptation will be considered.
Our November 9 deadline is fast approaching, so please send proposals as
soon as possible to Dr. Dennis Cutchins (

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Received on Mon Oct 15 2007 - 18:45:03 EDT