This course examines cinematic adaptations of literary texts alongside the literature itself. Class discussions will emphasize the works' formal and thematic characteristics, as well as a host of interpretive questions, including those that emerge through the decisions made during the adaptation process. This semester, we will take short fiction as our focus.
Instructor: Prof. Jay McRoy
Office Hours: R 12:00 - 2:00
Office: RITA 228
"The Fly" by George Langelaan
Available through Campus Bookstore (or cheaper online through Amazon.com, etc:
Dark Water by Koji Suzuki
Blow Up and Other Stories by Julio Cortázar
The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories by Leo Tolstoy
High Lonesome: New and Selected Stories 1966-2006 by Joyce Carol Oates
The Winter Father (Collected Short Stories and Novellas) by Andre Dubus
Dream Story by Arthur Schnitzler
Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
Short Cuts: Selected Stories by Raymond Carver
COURSE GUIDELINES AND EXPECTATIONS:
1) Come to class
2) Come to class on time
3) Do the reading
4) Turn your work in on time
5) Respect your fellow students
Class Attendance and Participation (10%)
3 Critical Microthemes/Brief Essays (Approximately 800 words; 30% each).
A successful microtheme presents an argument about a topic or question as clearly, precisely, and concisely as possible.Do not worry about elaborate introductions or conclusions. Successful microthemes resemble detailed abstracts or,perhaps even more accurately, outlines created in sentence and paragraph form, with transition statements linking themain and supporting points of your argument. A successful microtheme does the following:
1. Includes a very brief 1-2 sentence introduction that includes a thesis statement and sets up an organizational plan;
2. Includes clear supporting paragraphs that provide specific textual evidence to support your claims;
3. Is comprised of thoughtful, clear, and direct prose;
4. Is double-spaced;
5. Is free of grammar and other surface mistakes (i.e. spelling and syntax errors).
Given the rigid word limit, narrowing your microtheme may prove challenging. You will, for example, want to avoid autobiographical rhetoric as it consumes words that could be better used elsewhere. If you are new to writing critically about film or simply wish to refine your skills, I can think of few better texts than Timothy Corrigan's A Short Guide to Writing about Film; this book is a terrific resource and is readily available online in both new and used editions.
MICROTHEME #1 (800 words; Due 10/5): Select one of the short story-to-film adaptations we have explored so far this semester and explain how the literary text conveys a major theme or idea in a substantively and stylistically different way than its film adaption. How do medium-specific technological and aesthetic considerations inform the writer's and director's creative decisions? Cite specific examples from the texts as youfashion your argument.
MICROTHEME #2 (800 words; Due 11/2): Select a film adaptation we have watched this semester and discuss what you see as one of the work's major motifs, or one of its themes. As you write, explain how the motif or theme is developed in the film, citing specific scenes or sequences to further strengthen your argument.
MICROTHEME #3 (800 words; Due in my office (RITA 228) by 5:00 pm on Wednesday, December 13th) Select one of the following prompts.
Prompt #1: Select one of the short story-to-film adaptations we have explored so far this semester and explain how the literary text conveys a major theme or idea in a substantively and stylistically different way than its film adaption. How do medium-specific technological and aesthetic considerations inform the writer's and director's creative decisions? Cite specific examples from the texts as youfashion your argument.
Prompt #2: Select a film adaptation we have watched this semester and discuss what you see as one of the work's major motifs, or one of its themes. As you write, explain how the motif or theme is developed in the film, citing specific scenes or sequences to further strengthen your argument.
STATEMENT ON PLAGIARISM: The English Department at the University of Wisconsin - Parkside has a veryexplicit Plagiarism Policy. This policy can be found HERE. It is every student's responsibility to become familiar with thepolicy. Ignorance, though regrettable, is not an excuse. Of course, if you are unsure whether something you wroteconstitutes plagiarism, please speak with me BEFORE (or even AS) you hand in your work.
Week One (9/7): Introduction
Read in Class: "Hills Like White Elephants" by Ernest Hemingway
View in Class: Hills Like White Elephants (Tony Richardson, 1990)
Week Two (9/14): The Fly (David Cronenberg, 1986)
Read for Class: "The Fly" by George Langelaan
Week Three (9/21): Roshomon (Akira Kurosawa, 1950)
Week Four (9/28): Dark Water (Hideo Nakata, 2002)
Read for Class: "Floating Water"by Koji Suzuki
Week Five (10/5): Blow Up (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1966)
Read for Class: "Blow Up" by Julio Cortázar
Microtheme #1 Due
Week Six (10/12): L'Argent (Robert Bresson, 1983)
Read for Class: "The Forged Coupon"by Leo Tolstoy
Week Seven (10/19): Smooth Talk (Joyce Chopra, 1985)
Read for Class: "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" by Joyce Carol Oates
Week Eight (10/26): In the Bedroom (Todd Field, 2001)
Read for Class: "Killings" by Andre Dubus
Week Nine (11/2): Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick, 1999)
Read for Class: Dream Story by Arthur Schnitzler
Microtheme #2 Due
Week Ten (11/9): Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016)
Read for Class: "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang
Week Eleven (11/16): Discussion of Short Cuts: Selected Stories
Read for Class: Short Cuts: Selected Stories by Raymond Carver
Week Twelve (11/30): Short Cuts (Robert Altman, 1993)
Week Thirteen (12/7): Discussion Short Cuts
Microtheme #3 Due in my office (RITA 228) by 5:00 pm on Wednesday, December 13th