Adapting Conrad: A multi-disciplinary conference on what happens to books when translated into other media
30 May 2014, Institute of English Studies, Senate House, University of London
“Thereʼs been a lot of talk about the way in which Hollywood directors distort literary masterpieces. Iʼll have no part of that!”
– Alfred Hitchcock to Francois Truffaut, 1968.
Joseph Conradʼs fictions have been adapted for stage, screen, and radio, and have appeared in songs, graphic novels, and art installations. His work has been adapted by Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Francis Ford Coppola, Bob Dylan, Christopher Hampton, Nicolas Roeg … and Conrad himself, who wrote three stage plays and a film treatment based on his own stories.
What happens to a literary work – masterpiece or otherwise – when it is adapted into another media? Is it always a distortion? What criteria of success can be used to judge an adaptation? What can we learn about narrative, audiences, and genre from the process of adaptation and the relationship between the original and the adaptation? How can different critical approaches help us understand that relationship?
These are some of the questions we will be addressing in ʻAdapting Conradʼ, a one-day conference hosted by the Institute of English Studies at Senate House, London, on 30 May 2014. Continue reading
Sprays of laurel and oak leaves surround the head of Edward VII, king and emperor, looking so wise and benign in this finely sculptured likeness created, not as one might expect by an artist from the British Empire, but by an Austrian, Emil Fuchs. Here at the highest level, and yet at the most mundane, is an emblem of nationhood, proclaiming a country that – superficially at least – sees itself as cultured, unshakably monarchist, and ultimately pacific. Continue reading
Stanislawa de Karlowska, Barrage Balloons, c.1914
‘Terribly quiet; that is in two words the spirit of this age, as I have felt it from my cradle. I sometimes wondered how many other people felt the oppression of this union between quietude and terror. I see blank well-ordered streets, and men in black moving about inoffensively, sullenly. It goes on day after day, day after day, and nothing happens; but to me it is like a dream from which I might awake screaming. To me the straightness of our life is the straightness of a thin cord stretched tight. Its stillness is terrible. It might snap with a noise like thunder’ (G. K. Chesterton, The Napoleon of Notting Hill, 1904)
Our second annual conference will take place later this week in Liverpool. The schedule is as follows:
THURSDAY 10th April
Panel One: Empire and War 10.15-12.25 (chair: Harry Wood)
Paul Stocker – The Imperial Spirit: The Edwardian Era, Empire and British Fascism
Andrew Glazzard – “And Now I Build Destroyers!” The Economics of War in Edwardian Fiction
Michael Robinson – Perceptions of the Irish soldier during the time of the Great War: A Victorian and Edwardian Legacy of Anti-Irish Prejudice
Patrick Longson – Before the German Menace: British Imperial Anxiety before 1896 Continue reading