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Film/Literature Encounters: History, Theory, Criticism - ENG00014M

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  • Department: English and Related Literature
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Erica Sheen
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module summary

The starting point for this module is the idea of the ‘encounter’ between film and literature, and the various ways and means in which that encounter takes place: film and literature as media with their own aesthetic and narrative codes; the social and institutional structures that facilitate (and/or impede) the transfer of material between the two; the intellectual systems through which the questions of meaning and value raised by this process are addressed. Each ‘Film/Literature Encounter’ case study is supported by critical and/or theoretical readings and considered in the context of the cultural-historical circumstances from which it emerged and into which it was received.

Our own encounter with these materials is also of interest here: how do we view and read in different media, and in different genres within those media, and how do we reflect on and discuss what we have viewed and read? Seminar members will be encouraged to explore their own ideas, to respond to the approaches taken by others and to identify and develop their own critical perspectives. Classes will combine close reading sessions with small and large group discussions.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

This module aims:

- to introduce students to appropriate critical and theoretical ways of thinking about film and literature in a shared analytic frame through ranging historicised case studies.

- to ensure students have an appropriate and effective analytic vocabulary for the academic discussion of film and literary texts and are able to employ this sensitively and purposefully.

  • to offer opportunities for students to give whole group presentations and to receive supportive feedback on these.

to help students develop as researchers and writers within a broader research culture.

Module learning outcomes

Subject content

Students should have a good critical and theoretical and historicised understanding of academic debates about adaptation, transmediation, medium specificity and reflexive commentary.

Academic and graduate skills

Students should learn research, writing and presenting skills appropriate to post-graduate study level, and are encouraged to start seeking out other collaborative, nurturing and dissemination platforms for the furthering and publishing of their research.

The module enables them to learn to work and to present both individually and in small groups.


Task Length % of module mark
4,500 word essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
4,500 word essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

  • You are provided with feedback within the University deadline.
  • You are always welcome to use staff Open Office Hours to discuss essay feedback

Indicative reading

Indicative list:

Timothy Corrigan, Film and Literature: An Introduction and Reader (Prentice-Hall, 2000)

Noel Carroll, The Specificity Thesis (from Philosophical Problems of Classical Film Theory, 1988) handout.

Dudley Andrews, Adaptation (from Concepts in Film Theory, 1984), in Corrigan, pp. 262-272.

George Bluestone, The Limits of the Novel and the Limits of the Film , from Novels into Film, reproduced in Corrigan, pp. 198-213 useful on the organisation of time in novel and film.

Kristin Thompson, Novel, Short Story, Drama: The Conditions for Influence , from The Classical Hollywood Cinema, reproduced in Corrigan, pp. 255-261.

Julia Kristeva Word, dialogue, and the novel , in Moi Toril, ed., The Kristeva Reader (NY: Columbia University Press, 1986), pp. 35-61.

Roland Barthes, Image-Music-Text ed. & trans. Stephen Heath (Noonday or Hill and Wang, 1977).

Robert Stam et al, New Vocabularies in Film Semiotics: structuralism, post-structuralism and beyond (London and New York: Routledge, 1992)

Robert Stam and Alessandra Raengo, eds., A Companion to Literature and Film (Blackwell, 2004)

Robert Stam and Alessandra Raengo, eds., Literature and Film: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Film Adaptation (Blackwell, 2004)

James Naremore, Film Adaptation (Continuum, 2000)

Deborah Cartmell and Imelda Whelehan, The Cambridge Companion to Literature on Screen (CUP, 2007)

Edward Branigan, Narrative Comprehension and Film (Routledge, 1992)

Judith Buchanan, Shakespeare on Film (Longman-Pearson, 2005)

Linda Hutchinson, A Theory of Adaptation (Routledge, 2006)

Christine Geraghty, Now a Major Motion Picture: Film Adaptations of Literature and Drama (Rowman and Littlefield, 2007)

Robert Giddings and Erica Sheen, eds., The Classic Novel: from Page to Screen (Manchester University Press, 1999)

Kamilla Elliott, Rethinking the Novel/Film Debate (CUP, 2003)

T. Leitch, Film Adaptation and its Discontents: from Gone with the Wind to The Passion of the Christ (John Hopkins, 2007)

Martin Jay and Teresa Brennan, Vision in Context: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Sight (Routledge, 1996)

Neil Sinyard, Filming Literature: The Art of Screen Adaptation (Croom Helm, 1986)

Brian McFarlane, Novel to Film: An Introduction to the Theory of Adaptation (Oxford: Clarendon, 1996)

Andr © Bazin, Theater and Cinema (from What is Cinema? 1951), in Corrigan, pp. 163-196.

Roland Barthes, Myth Today in Mythologies (Hill and Wang 1979).

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.