McCarthy and the Coens

McCarthy and the Coens

The Moral Framework of the Novel and the Film

eBook - 2014
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This book offers an original perspective on the narrative in the film and the novel No Country for Old Men, it also gives a good account on the issue of fidelity that plays an important role in the analysis of the relationship between the film adaptation and its source text, observing whether the Coens have not eradicated the novel's complex and allegorical essence. The narrative analysis in the book as well involves an observation of the narrator's point-of-view and its reliability. Besides, the book undeniably proves that the relation of narrative time and narrative space is vital in the comparison of the film adapatation and its source text. The contents of the book may serve as a valuable source for aspiring students and researchers in the area of literary and film studies.   Auszug aus dem Text Text Sample: Chapter 2.1, Intertextuality: Various theorists, among them Andrew Dudley (2000) and André Bazin (2005), propose that film adaptation has to be analyzed not in terms of fidelity, but using the critical framework of translation or intertextuality. The term intertextuality has come into the oeuvre of film adaptation, as critics have concluded that adapted cinematic texts are essentially intertexts. Christine Geraghty in her book Now a Major Motion Picture: Film Adaptations of Literature and Drama suggests that 'the appeal to intertextuality has been specifically developed as a methodolological challenge to fidelity model" (Geraghty, 2008:193). She further stresses that recent studies have demonstrated an academic productivity of intertextual approaches in the U.S. and Europe in this area. In the research of intertextuality the central task becomes 'the study of the intertextual universe and to avoid the appearance of a tendency to reinscribe the superiority to the literary source" (ibid, 2008:193). Dimitris Eletheriotis has argued in a
similar debate about the importance of intertextuality in genre criticism, 'The fact that everything is intertextual should not be a point of arrival but a point of departure in the investigation of different conditions and forms" (Eletheriotis, 2001:100) Intertextual critics define adaptation as a practice of cultural intertextuality, and always regard film adaptation as a reading of the source text. Robert Stam (2004) argues that 'film adaptation can be seen as a kind of multileveled negotiation of intertexts" (Stam, 2004:46). Besides, Robert Stam and many other critics suggest that expanding availability of film adaptations has to be regarded not as self-contained structures, but as the transformation of other textual structures. Despite various broad definitions on intertextuality, Gérard Genette (1997) restricts it to instances of citation and allusion, where it describes a verbal or visual evocation of another film. Pat Dowel (1992) states that the Western film Unforgiven is surely Fordian with its allusions, mood, and the signature scene - the man with his silhouette against the sunset. Various critics in terms of intertextuality not only point to allusions and mood in the adapted texts, but also to different stylistic characteristics embedded as intertexts from other films, such as doubling effects and use of point-of-view shots. Although there have been many debates on the agreement on the nature of intertextuality, many critics still regard exploration of intertexts in film adaptation as one of the most interesting approaches in the study. Many critics use to explore Cormac McCarthy's oeuvre in regard to intertextuality. Cormac McCarthy (1992) himself has dwelled on the issue of intertextuality in his interview in New York Times, stating that 'it is clear that books are made out of books. The novel depends for its life on the novels
that have been written" (McCarthy, 1992). It serves as an indicator that Cormac McCarthy acknowledges intertextuality as an inevitable part in his works. Harold Bloom (2009) in his book Cormac McCarthy stresses that he has drawn attention to intertextuality in McCarthy's work Suttree where his narrative style employs occasional changes of voice and the same technique is used in the novel The Road. For Bloom the relation between The Road and Suttree seems clear and intentional. Whereas John Cant (2004) in his work The Silent Sheriff: No Country for Old Men-A Comparison of Novel and Film has compared McCarthy's Judge from the book Blood Meridian with the Shape in John Carpenter's Halloween, pointing out to several similarities between the characters in terms of inevitable evil that both embody. These are not the only interextualities that are interwoven in McCarthy's works, many other writer's novels exhibit various intertexts. The film adaptation as a practice of cultural intertextuality is undeniably worth observing, as Cormac McCarthy himself has not denied the importance of the various intertexts in his works. Therefore, the research will explore several intertextualities found in the novel No Country for Old Men, observing, whether they have been successfully transferred to the film adaptation by the Coens. The next subchapter looks closer at the issue of fidelity, as it is largely discussed in adaptation criticism and it will serve as a good precursor for the analysis of the film adaptation No Country for Old Men. 2.2, Fidelity of film adaptation: Adaptation criticism often focuses on the question of fidelity. Dennis Cutchins (2010) in her book Adaptation Studies: New Approaches claims that scholars in adaptation studies have addressed the matter of fidelity for more than fifty years. Analogies between source texts and their adaptation
continue to direct the reading and interpretation of adaptations. Robert Stam (2005) argues that 'it is important to move beyond the moralistic and judgmental ideal of fidelity" (Stam, 2005:14). He refers to the discussion of fidelity as ineffective, when valuing adaptations. Thus, for Stam fidelity as an evaluative criterion for adaptation studies is ineffective and insufficient. Notwithstanding Stam's rejection of fidelity as a proper matter that concerns adaptation, he has found an explanation of the endurance of fidelity discourse. Stam states that 'fidelity asks important questions about filmic recreation of the setting, plot, characters, themes, and the style of the novel" (Stam, 2005:34). Thomas Leitch, however, offers another explanation: 'the valorisation of fidelity amounts to a valorisation of literature as such in the face of the insurgent challenge of cinema studies" (Leitch, 2003:162). Many theorists still argue what makes a good study of fidelity and which approaches in the study are the most appropriate. Some theorists favour approaches that rest more on distinctions and content and they address the issue of transference of textual spirit. Mikhail Bakhtin and Gerard Genette especially favour the approach of distinction and content, and view adaptations as sets of intersecting codes and signals, texts and intertexts. Andre Bazin (2005) in his book What is Cinema suggests that in order to attain aesthetic fidelity, nothing has to be distorted but remain as objective as possible. For Bazin 'a good adaptation should result in a restoration of the essence of the letter and the spirit" (Bazin, 2005:67). Bazin in his essay In Defense of Mixed Cinema that tackle the process of filmic adaptations, suggests that film adaptations should be less concerned with fidelity to the source material, but rather with equivalence in meaning of the
forms. Andrew Dudley has made several references to Andre Bazin, concerning the issue of fidelity, though Dudley himself laments the discussion of fidelity, as it evokes only strident arguments about the differences in both media. Despite his negative attitude towards fidelity, Andrew Dudley gives a good account on Bazin's perception of fidelity, suggesting that 'freedom and flexibility of cinematic language makes a new level of fidelity available" (Dudley, 2011:114). However, without regard to the new perception of fidelity, Bazin does not deny that 'transposing a narrative from written language to cinema obviously changes the technical means of presenting it" (Dudley, 2011:112).Hence, Bazin's solution is that fidelity has to consider the differences between the available cinematic and literary techniques. J.D. Conor in the journal Media and Culture claims that theorist Kamilla Elliott attempts to write beyond the scope of fidelity as 'the fidelity debate is misguided not because fidelity asks the impossible but because at bottom critics of fidelity seek to purge cinema of its literariness" (J.D. Connor , 2007). She appears to be placed outside fidelity discourse, yet, as many other theorists, Elliott does not deny that clarification of adaptation and fidelity issue will always be important. For Brian McFarlane fidelity approach seems 'a doomed enterprise and fidelity criticism illuminating" (McFarlane, 1996:9). McFarlane and other writers on adaptation question the possibility of fidelity, and some theorists claim not to tackle it. Many critics still have maintained a belief that an adaptation has to follow the source text as closely as possible because audiences greatly admire faithfully adapted films; therefore the matter of fidelity in film adaptation is refutable. This leads to think that the study of fidelity is at a place, when observing
Publisher: Hamburg : Diplomica Verlag, 2014
Edition: 1st ed
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9783954896660
Branch Call Number: Electronic book
Characteristics: 1 online resource (98 pages)
Additional Contributors: ProQuest (Firm)


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