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1lecture1780bintro09SU - Lecture 1 Clements 1 School of...

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Unformatted text preview: Lecture 1 Clements 1 School of Arts and Letters, Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies Summer 2009 AK/HUMA 1780 6.0A Stories in Diverse Media Welcome to the Internet version of AK/HUMA 1780 6.0A "Stories in Diverse Media." Please double check to make sure you are viewing the right course material. I am your course director, Dr. E. Clements. This is a first year General Education requirement, which means that there are two overarching goals: 1. an improvement in your reading and writing "critical skills" that will serve you for the rest of your university career in all of the courses you will take. 2. to expose you to a variety of ideas and material about culture through an historical perspective in order to engage you in critical and analytical thinking. Both of these goals will combine to help you in your upper level courses, not to mention your continuing and/or future careers. Many of you are enrolled in programs that do not fall under the rubric of the Humanities, such as Administrative Studies or Economics, so I'm guessing this course will be something quite different for you from your other studies. You may even be terrified of this course! You can rest easy, however, it is not meant to make your life miserable; you may even have a bit of fun along the way. As mentioned above, this is a Humanities course, which means simply put, I'm going to teach you some stuff about culture, and then I'm going to ask you to think for yourself and try to apply what you've learned to that stuff called culture. The focus will be on thinking about your own assumptions and Lecture 1 Clements 2 building your own critical ideas. To that end, let's look at how we're going to do this by going over the course syllabus. Nuts and Bolts for the Course The Course Outline, Schedule of Lectures, and Course Policies can be found in the Course Schedule folder in the Table of Contents on the left side of the Home page for our course. (Please note that this is the most up‐to‐date schedule so please use this for the remainder of the summer.) I would print this schedule out so you can follow along while we go through the nuts and bolts for the course. Also, please get in the habit of checking the Announcements folder on a weekly basis. If I have messages concerning the running of the course, we will mention them here first. The Texts: ♦ The texts can be purchased at the York Bookstore. There are 9 books in total (including one that will assist you with how to write an essay). Other textual materials will be posted in the Readings folder. Grading Scheme: ♦ Assignment #1: Adaptation Paper ♦ Assignment #2: Research Essay ♦ Participation: Online discussions ♦ Online mid‐year test: ♦ In‐class final term test: 20% Due date: July 6, 2009 25% Due date: Aug. 10, 2009 15% During each module (see below for more info.) 20% Due date: July 13‐15, 2009 (see lecture schedule for more info.) 20% Tentative due date: Aug. 20, 2009 (see lecture schedule for more info.) Lecture 1 Clements 3 ♦ Please read the Assignments and Course Policies sheet to learn more about the requirements for the course. Additionally, for each assignment, you will receive a detailed handout that specifies the requirements. I will post these handouts well in advance of the due dates under Assignments in the left‐hand Table of Contents on the Home page for the course. Participation: ♦ Participation in online discussions is mandatory for this course and worth up to 15% of your total grade. The groups won't be up and running, however, until after the last date to add a course with permission of instructor expires: June 19, 2009. This is because the course list needs to be solidly in place before I can divide you into equal groups. ♦ So, this means you do not need to worry about the discussion rooms until I announce in lecture and in the Announcements folder that they are up and running. Please be patient. ♦ The course is divided into THREE modules: 1. MODULE 1: FROM ANCIENT MYTHS TO MODERN STORIES 2. MODULE 2: FROM MONSTERS TO HEROES TO MONSTERS 3. MODULE 3: COMING HOME AGAIN ♦ For each module you will need to participate in at least THREE online discussions about the course material. You will be given questions for discussion, but you will Lecture 1 Clements 4 need to initiate your own responses to these questions. I will post instructions and protocol when the rooms are up and running. ♦ For any technical difficulties in the course please contact the OFFICE OF COMPUTING TECHNOLOGY AND e‐LEARNING SERVICES (OCTES) at Distance Education (DE). This is the website: http://www.atkinson.yorku.ca/~octes/students/index.html This is the email: octeshelp@yorku.ca ♦ They can help you with any computer‐related issues. ♦ In the meantime, you will need to complete York's online tutorial about Academic Integrity at the following address: http://www.yorku.ca/tutorial/academic_integrity/ ♦ You will receive a receipt confirming that you have completed the tutorial. I can check who has completed the online tutorial myself through the system York has set up so you do not need to worry about sending me the receipt. Keep it for your own records. ♦ Please note: The participation components may not seem like they are worth a lot now, but there is no point in throwing away easy marks. If you drop 2% here or there by not completing the participation components, this adds up quickly to half a letter grade. In other words, failing to do the Integrity Tutorial plus one missed module for participation could decrease your grade from a B to a C+, for example. ♦ Participation is worth 15% of your entire grade so take advantage of it; it is an easy way to earn marks and an important component of this online version of the course. Lecture 1 Schedule and Readings: Clements 5 ♦ I will follow the lecture schedule so you need to also. Before reading the week's lecture, be sure to read or watch the assigned text or viewing for that week. It goes without saying that completing these requirements before reading the lecture is essential for your understanding of the course content. When there is just a viewing, which I've stipulated on the schedule, this is the time to catch up on your reading. ♦ Plan on spending at least three hours twice a week on the course (not including the readings and assignments). Treat the lectures and viewings as though you were attending a three hour lecture time slot and you shouldn't have a problem keeping up with the course schedule. ♦ NOTE: IT IS UP TO YOU TO KEEP UP WITH THE SCHEDULE. BE SURE NOT TO LEAVE ALL OF THE MATERIAL TO THE END, BEFORE THE TERM TESTS. IT WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE TO COMPLETE ALL OF THE READINGS, ETC.,IN A SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME. Please keep in mind, this is a full, six credit course and it is, therefore, designed as such. ♦ Each module will consist of word‐processed lectures that will be accompanied by lecture summaries with point form notes for the major ideas explored in the lecture, as well as any images or visual art examined. ♦ You can find the Lectures and the Lecture Summaries under the Table of Contents on the Home page of our course website. ♦ If you do not have PowerPoint installed on your computer you can download a PowerPoint Viewer free of charge from Microsoft. The URL is Lecture 1 Clements 6 ♦ http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=428d5727‐43ab‐4f24‐ 90b7‐a94784af71a4&DisplayLang=en ♦ Mac Users can get a PowerPoint 98 viewer that runs on system 9x from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=e25cb1e5‐209c‐4a58‐ b283‐23e84b616477&DisplayLang=en ♦ See also http://www.microsoft.com/mac/downloads.aspx for more details Important Dates: ♦ Take note now of the due dates for your assignments so that you can schedule your time accordingly. ♦ At the end of each term there will be a Term Test worth 20% each. You must complete these tests. They will be scheduled as stipulated on the lecture schedule. I will let you know the exact date for the final test closer to the end of term. I will post this information in the Exam Information folder on the Home page. ♦ June 12, 2009 is the last date to enrol without permission of a course instructor for SU courses. This means that I can't do anything to help students get into the course until after this date, so until the 12th students will have to use the enrolment system themselves. ♦ After the 12th, if the course is full, I won't be over‐enroling it. If it isn't full, I can enrol students at that time, up until June 19, 2009, the last day to enroll with permission of the course instructor. Lecture 1 Course Policies: Clements 7 ♦ My Extension Policy: it is up to you to plan ahead and decide whether or not you can complete everything on time. If you decide that you need an extension, then do request one. You will find that I am very fair. However, I ask that you request this extension at least a week before the due date. After that time, you will not be granted an extension (unless under extenuating circumstances accompanied by documentation) and your paper will be penalized at a reduction of 2% per school day with a one week maximum for submission. Course Instructor Email. See Lecture Summary Slide 2. Course Etiquette: ♦ As noted earlier, always double‐check the Announcements folder and any postings on the website to find answers to questions you might have about the course. Your first step should always be the perusal of course material and lectures before going to the next step and asking questions of the instructors via email. Please remember there are 80 of you and I'm the only instructor for this course in the 2009 SU term. ♦ Also, I will check email twice a week for the course, so please be patient in waiting for my reply. You will not, most likely, receive immediate responses, but I will get to you eventually. Again, I ask for your consideration of my time and I will do the same for you. Lecture 1 Clements 8 ♦ One final note about email: Please, do not abuse email by overusing it or using it as an excuse to vent about a grade in a way that you wouldn't do face to face. The University takes such offenses seriously, as do I; they will be documented. Some York resources for you. See Lecture Summary Slides 3 and 4. Enough of dry administrivia! Onto some course concepts…. Introduction to Course Concepts In the following lecture, I will examine two large concepts: narrative and adaptation. Both of these overarching ideas weave in and out of everything we will do in the course. Narrative Narrative is such a fundamental part of our daily lives that you probably know much more about it than you think you do. Most of the following segment will likely be review for you from way back when in high school English (last year for some of you) or even your own experience of watching television or films. Nevertheless, just so we're on the same page and we're using the same terms, we'll start by reviewing a few things. Lucky for us, this isn't rocket science. For the moment, just use your common sense. Try thinking of possible responses to the following questions on your own before reading Lecture 1 Clements 9 the answers. Test yourself to see how much you already know about the processes of narrative. You may be surprised at your own expertise! 1. In its simplest terms, what does the word narrative mean? a. A story. 2. What happens in a story? a. Events. b. A narrative, then, can be described as a sequence events. 3. Does this sequence of events always have to be fictional? a. No. A newscast, for example, is also a narrative, even though it is non‐ fictional material. 4. How are narrative events typically communicated? a. Someone tells you about them. 5. The person who tells a story is usually called? a. A narrator 6. All right, so another component we need is a narrator—a storyteller—someone to tell the tale. Does this person tell the story to anyone? a. Yes, of course. A storyteller needs an audience, a perceiver of the events, sometimes called a narratee. Even when someone writes a narrative in the solitude of his or her own room, he or she usually imagines that someone (anyone) will be reading it, at some point. You might be aware of this even in your own writing. You imagine that your Professors are going to enjoy your non‐fiction opus (fancy way to say first‐term essay), but you really don't Lecture 1 Clements 10 know if he or she will appreciate it for the same value that you do until you get your paper back. Often times, there is an unfortunate gap between your imagined Professor's opinion of your work and the real one. Such is life and the messy, unreliable process of communication. But we'll get back to that when we discuss the notion of "fidelity." Elements of a Narrative I'd like to give you a succinct definition of narrative so you can refer to it when needed throughout the course. The following terms are also summarized for you on Slides 5‐8. NARRATIVE—can be defined as a telling of some true or fictitious event or sequence of events. It is typically recounted by a narrator to a narratee. ♦ This definition has all of our collected components so far: a sequence of events, a narrator, and a narratee. But there is even more to the process of narrative, yes? As some of you have probably already thought, there are other important aspects to a story. And, depending on the particular medium involved in the communication of a narrative, some elements are included and others are not. PLOT—The sequence of events in a story is commonly called the plot. ♦ We can make two distinctions in terms of the order of the sequence of events in a narrative. A novel, for example, can recount events as they would have occurred in Lecture 1 Clements 11 chronological time, or it can use methods such as flashbacks to tell the events out of chronological sequence. So the difference can be distinguished by: The order of the events in chronological time, the order of their occurrence. The order of the events in the text. ♦ Often times, these are different in a story. In The Odyssey, for example, you will find that the order in which Odysseus's adventures are told to us is not the order in which they occurred. Odysseus tells his own story of his travels in book 9, long after we have learned about his son Telemachos, the state of their home, Ithaca, and Odysseus's escape from the island of Kalypso in the present‐day of the text. In book 9 Odysseus then recounts his adventures from the last ten years in what is called an embedded narrative—but more about this next week. NARRATOR and NARRATIVE POINT OF VIEW First‐person narrative—a narrative or mode of storytelling in which the narrator appears as the "I" recollecting his or her own part in the events related, either as a witness of the action or as an important participant in it. Third‐person narrative—a narrative or mode of storytelling in which the narrator is not a character within the events related, but stands seemingly "outside" those events. ♦ In a third‐person narrative, all characters within the story are therefore referred to as "he," "she," or "they"; but this does not always prevent the narrator from using the first person "I" or "we" in commentary on the events and their meaning. Lecture 1 Clements 12 ♦ Third‐person narrators are often omniscient or "all‐knowing"; they seem to be "god‐ like" in their knowledge of the events of the story. This is the most common form of storytelling. ♦ The narratorial function is often missing (but not always) in a film, a play, or a video game. The characters tell the story through their dialogue and interactions with each other. This is an important difference amongst various media that one would need to consider when changing a novel to a film, for example. (Something to keep in mind for your first assignment.) NARRATEE—the other side of the narratorial coin. ♦ There is always an implied audience or perceiver of the events. Additionally, the implied audience in determined by the medium and the subject matter. CHARACTERS ♦ Protagonist—the main character ♦ Antagonist—the character in conflict with the protagonist ♦ Minor characters THEMES—general idea in a text; there is usually more than one. SUBJECT MATTER—the content of the story, often distinguished from the formal layout of a narrative. Lecture 1 Clements 13 STRUCTURE—the overall shape of a work. The beginning, middle, and end. GENRE—a category or type of art work. ♦ Genre is a French word meaning kind or type. Think of it as a way to organize different categories of art works. We have various genres in all the different art forms and within each major genre there are often smaller classifications. The major genres in literature, for example, are poetry, fiction, non‐fiction, and drama. In film: action, adventure, drama, comedy In music: rhythm and blues, rock, pop, "classical" ♦ Subdivisions within these larger categories can be made according to various factors, such as: Setting and subject matter (ex. a Western film, a science fiction television show) Mood (ex. drama, horror, lyric) Format (ex. hypertext, mixed media, a musical, a sonnet, a short story) Next week we'll encounter one of the most venerated genres in the Western cultural tradition: the epic. Movement and Stasis So, now we have the basic workings of narrative. When a story is adapted into a new medium, the components we just went through are influenced and/or transformed in one way or another. Throughout the course, and in the first adaptation assignment Lecture 1 Clements 14 we will give you, these are some of the components that will change. Some of you will choose to change the plot for your assignments. Others might choose to keep the plot the same and change many of the things around it, such as the characters. Or, you may choose to change the time period and the setting. Students often find it interesting to change the sex, race, or ethnicity of a character, for another example. Doing so can teach one a lot about the very different social scripts by which women and men live, and/or alternative expectations in terms of cultural practices among diverse ethnicities or races. Deepa Mehta plays with the latter in her film Bollywood/Hollywood, for one instance on our course syllabus. You'll realize when you do the assignment that these elements of narrative are your basic building blocks. There are a few more things about narrative that you need to know. For one, it is usually distinguished from the mode of description. You may already know this without being aware of it. Who skips over the descriptive passages in novels? Come on, you can admit it! When the action slows down, your attention wanes and you skip over the descriptions in order to get to the next event, in order to find out what happens next. (This isn't what I recommend, however. Everything an author writes is significant to the text; and yes, she or he does think about every single word she or he puts down, if they're any good at what they do, and everything they write usually relates in some way to the overall text.) One of the effects of this difference between events and descriptions is a change in the pacing of a text. When many events are told in succession, the narrative feels like it speeds up. Conversely, when descriptions occur, the result is that the narrative slows down. In general, we are a very event‐centered Lecture 1 Clements 15 society. One of the most common complaints about a movie: "it was too slow," or "nothing happened." Put another way, it wasn't event‐centered enough. Different media either expand or condense events. We will encounter this tension again and again in the course. Who plays strategy games or role playing games (RPGs)? Do you spend more time learning about a story or more time fighting various opponents? Fighting, of course. These are the expectations of the particular medium. But there is still a story involved in such games. In fact, the narrative events keep the game together. The video clips in between levels of gaming tell you the story that you are following and give you the next clue as to your journey. But in the medium of RPGs, for example, the emphasis is not on the story, but on the time you spend upgrading your character, or finding gold or keys, or amassing an army to attack the enemy. Very few new plot elements occur and the actions are very repetitive: kill, kill, kill, or find the blue secret treasure worth more points instead of the green one. (This can keep one occupied for surprisingly lengthy amounts of time, despite the repetitive nature of such activities.) A fighting sequence, although perhaps the action movie fan's favourite part, actually stops the movement of a narrative. What's the importance of a fight in terms of the plot? Someone will win (usually the protagonist) and someone will lose (usually the antagonist). To summarize a fighting scene in terms of the story, one would potentially write two sentences in a script: "Bob and Fred fight. Bob wins." Yet, in the actual movie this might take up 10 minutes. Pay special attention to the effect of movement and stasis when you are proposing your own adaptations for Assignment #1. Lecture 1 Clements 16 So to summarize, a succession of events tends to speed up a work of art and descriptions (or a lack of events) slows down a story. But because this is a course about stories in diverse media, we need another concept to think about how one medium interacts with another. A useful way to think through some of the issues in this process is to examine what is involved in the process of adaptation. Adaptation One of our goals this term will be to break you of the nasty habit of saying, or even thinking, when you see a film version of a novel, "I liked the book better." Instead, we want you to think of each work as its own creation—yes, it is linked to a prior work and shares many things in common with its source text, but if all one says about an adaptation is that it is good because it was just like the book, then one really isn't saying much at all. Inadvertently, the criteria of judgment are very limited: sameness is good, difference is bad. What a bore, and many critics have theorized why there are several problems with this notion that faithfulness to a source text is a productive way to think or talk about adaptation. 4 Problems with the Notion of "Fidelity" (Summarized on Slide 9) According to Dudley Andrew, a film theorist who writes about the process of adaptation, there are 4 problems with the notion of "fidelity" to an original text. Lecture 1 Clements 17 1. Fidelity problem #1. It is questionable whether or not strict fidelity between two texts is even possible. An adaptation is automatically different from its source text simply due to the change in material. First of all, different media engage different responses in perceivers. So immediately, if you change the material from a novel to a film, let's say, then you're obviously going to react differently because you are using different senses. The visual aspect of a film influences your perception of a story differently than reading about it. (Think of CSI, for example, the very gruesome images they show, or ER. If you read about those images, they are once removed because you have to imagine them. They are probably less intense if you don't have to look at them—depending on your imagination. We commonly avert our eyes if something is too gruesome on the screen, no?) Taking this a step further, we could say that if the medium is changed, so is the narrative. For instance, let's take the example of adapting a video game into a film. There are many examples from which we could choose: Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy, etc. What is the most striking component that you have to give up? Your interaction with the medium. In fact, your involvement with the characters and/or as a character is one of the defining features of the medium of video games. Think about this when you do your first assignment, are you sure you want to give up the defining feature of your source medium? What are the consequences to the narrative of giving up those fighting sequences? At the very least, you will change the story, which may or may not be a good thing. Thus, adaptation involves both losses and gains. What is lost from one medium can, theoretically, be gained in another, but it isn't necessarily a given. In this example, Lecture 1 Clements 18 the loss of interaction as a character might be gained by a good performance by a favourite actor. As we've just established, some media necessitate more participation on the part of the perceiver. Why is the adaptation of novel to film so popular? Basically, it's less work for the reader/viewer. Let's be honest, it takes more time and imaginative effort to read a novel than it does to sit back and be enveloped in the sights and sounds of a film. We will discuss this more later, but this issue also solicits questions about the very nature of cultural material. In other words, what constitutes art or entertainment? Why do we typically (not always) think of novels as art and films as entertainment? What assumptions lie behind such judgments? What is the effect of technology on such conceptions about culture? Is the medium of the computer game art? And how about new media art that utilizes the movement of a person's eye, for example, to create sounds? Or a musician who creates music entirely made up of samples of other works? Is this art? Entertainment? Or merely technological proficiency? Is someone who paints using oil colours more of a "real" artist than someone who uses Photoshop? Is it art if a technological device is responsible for both the process of creation and the end product? You’d be surprised at how such questions can lead to some heated arguments, especially among artists! These are just a few questions to get you thinking, just the start of many ideas we will encounter throughout the course. We hope that you come away from this course with at least a healthy skepticism when someone tells you that he or she does not need to read that novel on a course because he or she has seen the movie−you Lecture 1 Clements 19 know who you are! In other words, once a text is adapted, even if the seeming goal is to be "faithful" to the source text, the adaptation is automatically different because of the change in medium. 2. Otherwise, and this is fidelity problem #2, one has to ignore the specific and unique properties of different media. In order to posit that one text is good or bad because it is "faithful" to another, one has to pass over the fact that there is a huge difference between a painting and a play, a novel and an opera, a myth and a film. Even in terms of the creative process, each art form necessitates different skills, materials, and bodies to create it. How many people would you guess were involved in the making of the Lord of the Rings trilogy? Maybe thousands. How many people were involved in writing the novel? Presumably one. 3. Fidelity problem #3. Faithfulness to an "original" novel, let's say, assumes that a novel contains an extractable "essence," a kind of hidden door behind which is the golden treasure chest of meaning (to use the video game metaphor). The critic then goes in search of the "secret key," so to speak, that will unlock the text for all time. Well, instead of thinking of an "original," essential work of art, let's take "art" off its pedestal a bit and suggest that there is no such exact transferable knowledge. In other words, there is no "original" text per se. Literary critics have theorized that all texts are a combination of various influences and other texts. The term given to this idea is intertexuality. Coined by Julia Kristeva, intertextuality designates the various Lecture 1 Clements 20 relationships that any given text may have with other texts; it assumes that all texts are seen to refer to other texts rather than an external reality. No work of art is created in or exists in complete isolation. As the many responses even to one work attests, there are as many meanings to be perceived from a particular text as there are people who see or read it. Thus, a story is not a closed composition that has one single message straight from the mind of the author. Instead, we are asking you in the course to think of a story as an open network of cultural ideas that make meaning. (If you don't get that now, don't fret, it will become clearer as the course goes on.). With this in mind, start using the words "source text" to refer to the earlier version of the works we will study. Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula is the source text (as opposed to the "original" version) of Francis Ford Coppola’s movie. 4. Fidelity problem #4. Adapting a text is a process of selection. When thinking about adaptation we need to ask the question fidelity to what? What part of the biblical story about the Princess Salome, for example, should Oscar Wilde be faithful to? An adaptor must always decide what stays and what goes in the process of creation. By necessity, one has to be selective about what aspects one will accentuate or omit. Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Phillipa Boyens decided to change the structure of the second part of the Lord of the Rings cycle, for example, by putting the ending of the second novel into the third film. Jackson et al. also had to omit much of the material due to the conventional time constraints of the filmic experience, even though they stretched many of these expectations. How do these inevitable selections of material Lecture 1 Clements 21 from a source text influence the perceivers' experience of the narrative? Similarly, how do our changing perceptions about women, race, sexuality, religion, politics, nationality, current world events, or the economy shape subsequent adaptations? What an author chooses to excise from or accentuate in a particular adaptation says as much about a particular author's interpretation of another's text as it does about the socio‐historical climate in which the adaptation is produced. Definition of Adaptation So, I've told you what not to do; now I need to provide you with some tools for how to think about the process of adaptation—but first we need to define it. Dudley Andrew classifies adaptation as "the appropriation of a meaning from a prior text." We like this definition because it is broad enough to encompass the different media we will continue to address, but also succinct enough to give us something with which to work. Ultimately, to adapt a text is to carry a meaning (or several meanings) from one text to another. (See Slide 10) 2 Types of Adaptation Dudley Andrew also suggests that there are different types of adaptation, which I've modified for our purposes in this course. You can think of the process of adaptation as inhabiting a line between two possible ends. (See Slides 10 and 11.) On one end (the right side of the diagram), we have a loose relationship between two texts. We can call this category borrowing; it is the most common. The artist employs the material, idea, Lecture 1 Clements 22 or form of an earlier, generally successful, text. A good example would be a loose Shakespearean adaptation, such as The Lion King. Most adaptations into opera, music, or painting borrow their material from an earlier text. The most interesting aspect of analyzing borrowed adaptations is the difference between the two texts. When reading The Odyssey and thinking about O Brother Where Art Thou? ask yourself, What do the Coen brothers choose to add, accentuate, or omit from the epic? On the other end of the spectrum we have the effect of "fidelity." As I've already explored, the notion of fidelity or faithfulness to an "original" text is fraught with problems; we could even go so far as to say that it isn't possible to achieve true faithfulness when one adapts a text into another medium. Nevertheless, people endeavour to do so. The attempt to be faithful to a source text is still one of the most common practices with adaptations and it is often at issue in discussions about such processes. Calling this type of adaptation an effect points out that the process of fidelity may be sought after, but can only ever be attempted. Fidelity is an effect produced by the second text, but it isn't actually achievable. In this type of adaptation (the left end of the spectrum) the seeming task is the reproduction of something quintessential about the source text. The adapted text tries to measure up to the first by reproducing it as closely as possible. Just to show the staying power of this notion of fidelity, one need only recall, once again, The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Yet, even though it is a meticulous and comprehensive rendering of Tolkein's novels, there are numerous departures from the source texts. Moreover, I would argue, that judging Jackson's version solely on its sameness to Tolkein's is very Lecture 1 Clements 23 limiting, to say the least. One finds oneself repeating, "wow, the movies are just like the books!" This isn't very interesting in terms of critical thought. Much more intriguing are the differences between the novels and the films and the questions that come out of such divergences. All right, so we've got borrowing, a loose, perhaps even playful, type of adaptation, and we've got the "fidelity" effect, a strict more predetermined type of adaptation. Then, of course, there's lots of stuff in between. So, we'd like you to think of the process of adaptation as a matter of distance from a source text. What we explore is the degree to which two texts speak to each other. I'm using these ideas in an effort to get you to think of the various versions of stories we will study comparatively rather than in a pecking order—meaning, the first one is better, the second one is worse, or vice versa. Instead, ask yourself what the relationship is between the two texts, not which one is better. For more helpful questions to ask of an adapted text see the end of the Lecture Summary Slide 12. That's all for now. Again, welcome to the Internet version of AK/HUMA 1780 6.0A "Stories in Diverse Media." For Thursday: read The Odyssey, Books 1, 5‐12, 21‐23. Feel free to read the whole thing, but these are the books (think of them as chapters) we will discuss in closer detail and that you are responsible for knowing. Also read the entire table of contents at the start of the book because it gives you a plot summary for the whole text. Happy reading! ...
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This note was uploaded on 04/11/2010 for the course HUMA 1780 taught by Professor Eliciaclements during the Summer '09 term at York University.

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