Six English novels adapted for the cinema
This study examines the film adaptations of six English novels; Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Tess, Jude, A Room with a View and A Passage to India. Through textual analysis of both the films and the original novels it demonstrates that many of the changes which occur in the transition between media are explicable in terms of differences between film and literary genres. Most previous writing on adaptation has tended to explain such changes as a consequence of film and literature having different signifying or expressive capacities. Whilst this study does not argue that literary styles and devices have necessary or inevitable equivalents in film form, it does propose that filmmakers can find satisfying and comprehensible correlatives for written idioms, and that differences between novels and their adaptations are not therefore always best understood as arising from failures in the mechanics of translation. In its consideration of what each film alters and omits this study finds compelling evidence that they are reshaped in particularly genre-related ways. This takes the form both of alterations that place an adaptation more comfortably in a particular fihn genre than the original story materials might allow, and changes which diminish or elide the operation of a literary genre to which the original novel belongs or relates. Sense and Sensibility, Emma and A Room with a View are discussed in terms of how they become romantic comedies, while the Hardy adaptations are the occasion of most of the original melodrama being omitted. Other genres and modes which pose problems and questions in adaptation - including tragedy, the didactic and the modern - are also examined. Additionally, this study will consider the political contexts and conditions of production of the novels and their adaptations as well as examining the extent to which the films may be said to be authored.