Bianca Friedman

4D Adaptation and/as Transcodification/1
Session 4 – July 2, 15:30 – 17:30

From Novel, to Stage, to Big Screen: The Intermedial Experience of War Horse Audiences

The story of War Horse, inspired by Michael Morpurgo’s homonymous novel, has become a global success. In 2007, it was adapted for the stage and the show has since been released in several major theatres around the world. Moreover, in 2011, Steven Spielberg turned the story into a largely distributed movie.War Horse therefore represents an interesting and complex example of intermediality developed between three texts and media. First of all, it allows us to analyse the semiotic modes employed in the interaction between animals and humans and in the human interpretation of animals. Furthermore, it allows us to think of how we tend to tell the stories of animals through different media and, therefore, to make the animals’ experience an intermediate phenomenon.In this paper I will investigate how the intermedial experience ofWar Horseallowsthe reader/audience to broaden her/his own construction of an animal’s experience.Aiming to offer an original contribution to contemporary studies on intermediality and adaptation, this paper will combine methodological approaches from human-animal studies and reader response criticism as proposed by Wolfgang Iser (1976). It will demonstrate that an intermedial experience of a text likeWar Horsecanprove useful in getting closer to a composite aesthetic model of an animal’s experience


I have a MA in Comparative Literatures (University of Pisa); I have always been deeply interested in film studies and I became increasingly familiar with queer theory during the last years of
university. I have studied Wes Anderson’s work and especially Grand Budapest Hotel for my BA thesis. For my MA thesis, for which I won the national prize “Premio Paolo Zanotti”, I analysed
film parody of gothic horror genre in Young Frankenstein. I have presented papers at the BASN conference in Exter in November 2018 and at the CIRQUE conference in Pisa in June 2019.
Combining film analysis, animal studies and queer theory, I published an article on Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs; and I have an article on Albert Lamorisse’s Crin Blanc is in press. I am now working on my PhD proposal on intermedial and transmedial representations of animals, with a specific focus on horses.