Honors | From Page to Screen (HON)
H226 | 28367 | Margaret Gray

TuTh 1:00-2:15pm
HU 111

“To interpret a text,” claimed Roland Barthes, “is not to give it a
meaning…; on the contrary, it’s to appreciate the text’s very
plurality” (S/Z, 11).  This course will ponder issues in literary
interpretation; its possibilities, its challenges, its limits, its
dangers, its rewards.  Our fundamental goal will be to analyze
the “plurality” brought to every text by responsible
interpretation.  To that end, we will study literary works from five
different genres; novel, novella, theatre, fairy tale and legend.
We will test our conviction of the plurality of interpretation by
comparing our texts with selected scenes from films they have
inspired, using cinematic adaptation as interpretation-in-action.
Our texts (and film excerpts) will include:

A novel : Marcel Proust’s 1913 Swann in Love, drawn from his
masterpiece In Search of Lost Time, and compared to scenes from
Volker Schlöndorff’s film
A novella : Vercors’s The Silence of the Sea, set during the German
occupation of France during World War II and compared to scenes from
Jean-Pierre Melville’s 1949 adaptation
A play : Edmond de Rostand’s 1897 Cyrano de Bergerac, with scenes
from Jean-Paul Rappeneau 1990 film of the same title
A fairy tale: Mme LePrince de Beaumont’s 1757 tale, “Beauty and the
Beast,” with  Scenes from Jean Cocteau’s 1946 film
A legend: “Tristan and Isolda,” as retold by Joseph Beidier in The
Romance of Tristan
And Iseult, and using scenes Jean Cocteau’s 1943 modernized
adaptation, The Eternal

Upon completion of the course, students will be able to recognize
the merits and flaws of varying literary interpretations ; identify
the elements that constitute a responsible, well-founded
interpretation, as well as construct, present and defend their own;
appreciate the presence of interpretation within cinematic
adaptations of literary texts. Student final grades will be based on
class participation; an oral presentation; an in-class writing
exercise; a 7-pp paper ; and a comprehensive final exam.