Adaptation: In Service of Cinema or Novel?

deadline for submissions: 
April 30, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Language, Literature, and Interdisciplinary Studies (LLIDS)
contact email: 

Collaborations of cinema with other art forms open up myriad of issues like the medium’s ability to maintain fidelity to the original narrative, its transformation of the original narrative, or its desire to treat the original as only an occasion for a different narrative. Adaptation studies have, as yet, largely concentrated on studying films as derivatives of original works reinforcing Rabindranath Tagore’s observation that “[c]inema is still playing second fiddle to literature.” It is commonly viewed as a presumptuous palimpsest whose merit lies in its techniques of appropriation, intersection, and transformation of the source text.

Recent studies however are looking at both literature and cinema as paratextual modes of expression which shape ideas and feelings of the recipients of these art forms in disparate ways. Instead of dry comparisons between the aesthetics of the two mediums films are now interpreted as autonomous semiotic systems whose technological and scriptural innovations not only enrich viewers’ experiences but are seen as creative mechanisms that bring their narratives out of the shadow of the written text. Moving beyond the accepted textual relations cinematic framework, as the new discursive event, gains an enhanced cultural and social relativity through its unconventional narrative techniques and relevance to specific historical space and time. Any standard take on adaptation studies should look at the shared identity of a literary text and its cinematic rendition, while analysing their complementing of the respective discursive fields as ‘writerly texts,’ only tangentially related to each other. It is only then that adaptations can be understood as creating a different kind of literature, reorienting the interpretations of reality, through “an act of appropriating or salvaging,” where there “ always a double process of interpreting and then creating something new” (Hutcheon). Within such intertextual engagement of cinema and the text, new shifts—in terms of perspective or point of view, focus on characters, narratorial voice, plotline, etc.—are introduced, thereby creating an act of transposition that reflects the birth of a separate art form with its director as the auteur figure and audience as the recipients of pleasure from the pure mise-en-scène. It transforms into something more than a simple positioning of a film adaptation as an agent of mass culture, serving the ‘taste’ of masses by resorting to strategies of consumption.

Cinema as a piece of imagination in its own right thus alters the original story by developing a new narrative that significantly moves out of the aegis of the text. The production of sequels too, as an instance, significantly reorients the networks of interpretations consequently refreshing the readership and increasing the life of a work along with a renewal of cultural capital of art as such. The context of cinema’s reception then becomes located in independent cultural, social, economic, and aesthetic factors, left to the viewer’s discretion whether to concentrate upon the film adaptation as a process or an autonomous product.

CFP for this issue focuses on such issues regarding film adaptations and interested scholars can consider the following themes with complete freedom to explore the topic differently:

  • Comparative narratology: Novel and film
  • Novelization: Films inspiring novels
  • Significance of transtextual elements specific to film
  • Fidelity criticism
  • Adaptation as an act of creation
  • Director as an auteur figure
  • Cinematic identity of a character
  • Chain of sequels before text
  • Adaptation: A misadaptation  

Only complete papers will be considered for publication. The papers need to be submitted according to the latest guidelines of the MLA format. You are welcome to submit full papers (not less than 3500 words) along with a 150 words abstract, list of keywords, bio-note, and word count on or before 15th April, 2019. We appreciate authors sending us early submissions.


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