Donata Meneghelli

Panel 5D: Adaptation and/as Transcodification/2
Session 5 – July 3, 11:00 – 13:00

Screening Literature, Blurring Media And Cultural Borders

My paper will focus on a phenomenon that has been widespread between the late 1990s and the first decade of the 2000s, especially – though not only – in literary biopics: not the adaptation of a single literary text, or of a few literary texts, but what we may call the adaptation of literature itself, literature as such, through the screening, the audio-visualization, of the act of writing (mostly), the act of reading, the written page. Drawing on Shakespeare in love, the TV miniseries Lost in Austen or the amazing “typewriter score” in the film version of Atonoment, to mention but a few examples, my paper will question some of the theoretical and cultural issues that this phenomenon brings into play: first of all, the blurring of the borders between the written and the (audio)visual, since in this context writing is no more a symbol (Peirce) but dissolves into an icon or even a gesture, a sort of action writing; then the “eroticization of literature” as a cultural (cinematic) trend, the visualization of old or vintage technology as objects of desire, the new mythology revolving around the figure of the literary writer, in a historical phase when authorship is becoming more and more problematic (due to fan fiction, seriality, google translator, copyright issues, collective writing,  uncreative writing, etc.), and finally the neo-romantic aesthetics that looms behind this mythology.