Leitch and His Many Questions

Since I am doing my presentation on Leitch my post wont be as long as normal because I don’t want to  give all of my ideas away! In his article Adaptation Studies at a Crossroads, he asks: “is literature on screen?” “if it is on screen, is it literature?” Seems to be a bit broad but I think it is important to think about with our studies of adaptation in class. When I think about these questions I wonder, how can literature physically be on screen? I assume he doesn’t mean a physicality of literature because that is just not possible! I think he means the spirit of the piece of literature and the spirit that we have talked about in class; the true core of the piece of literature and its use in an adaptation. He says that adaptation theorists are stuck with the notion that adaptation has to be faithful to its original source texts. He says that this is what is ‘haunting’ the field and that a lot of adaptations use secondary sources as well but these are completely ignored. He says. “Beneath this contradictory notion of film adaptation as not merely hybrid texts but texts holding dual citizenship in two modes of presentation is an even more pervasive legacy that haunts adaptation studies : the assumption that the primary context within which adaptations are to be studied is literature”( Leitch 64). So my question is: Do we focus on adaptation strictly in the context of the primary literary source? How come we forget the other sources that may contribute to the adaptation? And does this mean that all of the adaptation theorists we have read thus far are stuck with this same perception?


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One Response to Leitch and His Many Questions

  1. One of the ideas/questions from Leitch’s piece that stuck out was the idea of entrapment (or even enslaving) of the adaptation practice. Leitch asks if literature is on the screen, and then later speaks of how the notion of adapting text haunts the field. I like how Laura addresses these ideas and responds by asking exactly what sources are necessary to include in an adaptation. It made me think of validation. Just what makes a source more prone for citing? What validates it? With these questions comes the idea of entrapment. Leitch suggests that adaptation cannot be free from literary analysis. As a result this entraps the adaptation as being unable to achieve its purpose, as it will be relegated to literary dissection. So, once sources are deemed valid enough to reference or include, the film adaptation will be dissected as an extension of the literature instead of its own medium. If this is the case, then why does film adaptation exist as a medium? If it is not going to be given its own study (and be studied through literature) how can film adaptation ever gain validation as a medium?

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