The Book and the Film: Adaptation and Interpretation - CP518

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn and Spring
View Timetable
6 30 (15) DR A Evangelou




Available to Stage 3 students only.



This module seeks to explore how novels and plays are adapted and interpreted for the screen. We shall be looking at how certain texts lend themselves to multiple reshaping such as Laclos' 'Dangerous Liasions' and Henry James’ 'The Turn of the Screw', both of which have been adapted for the screen more than once. We shall also analyse lesser known works that have gone on to become feature films, such as Arthur Schnitzler’s short work 'Dream Story’, filmed as 'Eyes Wide Shut'. Adaptations directed by widely recognised filmmakers such as De Sica, Max Ophuls, Kubrick and Pier Paolo Pasolini will also be examined with a view to eliciting and understanding their particular approach to, and filmic vision of, written texts.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

2 hours per week

Method of assessment

100% coursework

Preliminary reading

Indicative Reading List -

Giorgio Bassani, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (Penguin, 2007)
Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey (Orbit, 2006)
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (Oxford University Press, 1992)
The Gospel According to St Matthew (King James Version of the Bible)
Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles (Oxford University Press, 1998)
Henry James, The Turn of the Screw (Oxford University Press, 1999)
Choderlos de Laclos, Les Liaisons dangereuses (Oxford University Press, 1995)
Arthur Schnitzler, Round Dance (Oxford University Press, 2002)
Arthur Schnitzler, Dream Story (Penguin, 2005)

Jack Clayton, The Innocents
Francis Ford Coppola, Apocalypse Now
Vittorio De Sica, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis
Milos Forman, Valmont
Stephen Frears, Dangerous Liaisons
Stanley Kubrick, Eyes Wide Shut
Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey
Roger Kumble, Cruel Intentions
Max Ophuls, La Ronde
Pier Paolo Pasolini, The Gospel According to Matthew
Roman Polanski, Tess

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

a) Grasp the principal tools of film criticism and apply these tools in a systematic manner to a range of films in order to achieve a detailed critical understanding of the ways in which the selected films achieve their aesthetic aims.
b) Achieve a systematic and critically informed understanding of visual media alongside written media and develop the relevant modes of comparison.
c) Distinguish from a critically informed perspective why certain texts lend themselves to multiple interpretations, and demonstrate understanding of established critical methodologies and the ability to apply them appropriately.
d) Interrogate in a critically informed and systematic manner the power of the cinema to influence our appreciation of literary works.
e) Undertake independent research with a view to writing in extenso in both mono-disciplinary and comparative veins.
f) Show appreciation of both the potential and the limitations of current critical methodologies, especially in the field of adaptation studiesTake an original and critically informed approach to comparative contexts not widely covered by secondary sources, and display knowledge and critical understanding of these contexts.

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.