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. The conference is part of a series of events celebrating and criticizing adaptations of Conradʼs works. It follows screenings at Somerset House in 2013 of U-Wei Haji Saariʼs film Hanyut (2012, based on Almayerʼs Folly) and Christopher Hamptonʼs film of The Secret Agent (1996) – both with panel discussions with the directors. An edited volume, potentially to include contributions to ʻAdapting Conferenceʼ, is also under discussion with a publisher.
Confirmed participants/keynote speakers include Dr Katherine Baxter (author of Joseph Conrad and the Swan Song of Romance, 2010) and Professor Robert Hampson (author of Conradʼs Secrets, 2012).
Registration details and a full programme can be found here.