Thursday, April 25, 2013

Films and Literature

While I've been at ASU, they have combined the English and Film departments. I really don't know exactly what that means, except that I sometimes get announcements that pertain more to Film than English majors--but that could still be of interest to both. And that gets me thinking about the future of literary and film criticism. Today they are separate but with some overlaps; might they come even closer together in the future?

I have taken a few English classes that have a strong film element. Some of the films have been adaptations of books we have read; some have just dealt with the same story (King Arthur, for instance). Adaptations seem to be where most of the literature/film overlaps are today, especially given the commonness of adaptations. But this isn't the only type of overlapping that I can think of occurring.

When you study literature, you learn about different movements. Romanticism, Victorian novels, Gothic novels, the Harlem Renaissance, Modernism, Post-Modernism, etc. Film has terms like this, too, although not perhaps as many since film is a newer art medium than literature. Film noir is one.

My question is, are these labels ever going to start overlapping? Will one label come to cover both books and films from a certain period?

When you learn about traits of Romanticism, for instance, you find that they also apply to many of the paintings from the period. And when I consider authors I have little interest in (like John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway), I sometimes find that I also have little interest in films from the period. Is that just coincidence? Considering that art always, in one way or another, responds to what came before it, I think not.

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