Connor’s Approach to Fidelity Discourse

Is fidelity discourse just a way of avoiding judgment, or is it a legitimate transformation of the process of adapting literature to film?

Connor presents a defense that borrows a little bit from everyone. Yet amongst these borrowings is a somewhat pessimistic outlook that indicates fidelity as being both a mere excuse, or scapegoat, as well as a legitimate adaptive mean for filmic adaptations of literature. While Connor combats both ideas, it ultimately makes me wonder if he remains tied to one of them. While quoting Andrew, “’the task of adaption is the reproduction in cinema of something essential about an original text,” Connor denounces the validity of this claim. In turn this makes more room for fidelity to navigate amongst adaptation. As Connor denotes film’s strict following of text, fidelity is given more room to capture the essence instead of recreate.

Connor presents both sides of this coin with thorough exploration of each; however, the further he dissects, the more his perspective seems tinted with a little bias. Connor states that even those who move to write beyond fidelity stumble through it. “the content of a story cannot be separated from its form.”(21) This idea should break skepticism from fidelity as fidelity adheres to form and story, but in a different way.

Fidelity discourse may be a way for filmmakers and critics to disassociate film and literature; however, it also transforms the adaptation process. It creates a broader scope of how to adapt literature to film and maintain its integrity. Connor seems a little partial to the fidelity discourse, as he seemingly deems it a transformation of practice. Yet, in doing this he combats other ideas that seek to align fidelity with a scapegoat.

Ultimately, Connor’s work comes off as a bit schizophrenic to me. As he attacks all sides of the argument with ample critical support, its hard to get a read on his actual stance. Though I believe it to ultimately fall in line with fidelity as a legitimate adaptive process, it is just as easy to dispute this as he references authors that combat and look past the discourse.



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One Response to Connor’s Approach to Fidelity Discourse

  1. Sara Tener says:

    From what I have gathered from Connor’s article, fidelity discourse does not necessarily avoid passing “judgement” so much as it skirts questions of “quality.” Fidelity discourse focuses on whether or not something is faithful to a prior work and how it compares to such: it involves some degree of judgement. It may not be everything that Connor wishes it to be, but it does allow individuals to begin to reflect on “aesthetic alternatives.” In other words, I do not believe that Connor means to cast out fidelity discourse. The intention of the article appears to be asserting that fidelity discourse needs to become everything that contemporary theorists fear it to be. It should not just judge/ compare/ objectively justify a prior evaluation but also be “judgemental.”

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