The Book and the Film: Adaptation and Interpretation - CPLT5180

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2023 to 2024
Combined Autumn and Spring Terms 6 30 (15) Anna Schaffner checkmark-circle


The module seeks to explore how novels and plays are adapted and interpreted for the screen. We will analyse how certain texts lend themselves to multiple reshaping, such as Laclos' Dangerous Liaisons. We will also analyse lesser-known works that have gone on to become feature films, such as Arthur Schnitzler’s Dream Story, filmed as Eyes Wide Shut. Adaptations directed by internationally recognized filmmakers such as Roman Polanski, Vittorio De Sica, Francis Ford Coppola, Stanley Kubrick, and Pier Paolo Pasolini will be examined with a view to eliciting and understanding their particular approach to, and filmic vision of, written texts.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 40
Total Private Study Hours: 260
Total Study Hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:
Presentation (15 minutes) – 20%
Essay 1 (3,000 words) – 40%
Essay 2 (3,000 words) – 40%

Reassessment methods:
• 100% Coursework (3,000 words)

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading and Film List

Conrad, J. (1992). Heart of Darkness, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Fitzgerald, F.S. (2000). The Great Gatsby, London: Penguin.
Parsipour, S. (2011). Women Without Men, New York: The Feminist Press.
Schnitzler, A. (2005). Dream Story, London: Penguin.

Eyes Wide Shut. (1999). [Film]. Directed by Stanley Kubrick. USA. Stanley Kubrick Productions.
Apocalypse Now. (1979). [Film]. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. USA. Omni Zoetrope.
Women Without Men. (2009). [Film]. Directed by Shirin Neshat. USA. IndiePix Films.
The Great Gatsby. (1974). [Film]. Directed by Jack Clayton. USA. Newdon Productions.
The Great Gatsby. (2013). [Film]. Directed by Baz Luhrmann. USA. Village Roadshow Pictures & Bazmark Productions.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

8. The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1 Demonstrate understanding of 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;
8.2 Demonstrate a systematic and critically informed understanding of visual media alongside written media and develop the relevant modes of comparison;
8.3 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;
8.4 Interrogate, in a critically informed and systematic manner, the power of the cinema to influence our appreciation of literary works;
8.5 Undertake independent research with a view to writing in extenso in both mono-disciplinary and comparative veins;
8.6 Show appreciation of both the potential and the limitations of current critical methodologies, especially in the field of adaptation studies;
8.7 Take an original and critically informed approach to comparative contexts not widely covered by secondary sources, and display knowledge and critical understanding of these contexts.

9. The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

9.1 Demonstrate understanding of contemporary culture to include a nuanced appreciation of visual media;
9.2 Extend comparative analytic skills across media;
9.3 communicate effectively to a variety of audiences and/or using a variety of methods;
9.4 Demonstrate refined collaborative work skills;
9.5 Demonstrate the ability to work within a team and alone;
9.6 Demonstrate the ability to make effective use of library resources to view films.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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