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ENGL 3324 Great Adaptations (Spring: 1 )


Course Description

How does a writer make a new story out of someone else’s old story? And why? Shakespeare did it, and James Joyce, and the author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. TV and film studios do it constantly. Adaptations, versions, retellings with a different angle or flavor: what are the delights, and dangers? This one-credit course will center on Dickens’s Great Expectations, move to Peter Carey’s “Neo-Victorian” adaptation Jack Maggs (1997), which features a version of Dickens himself as a character, and conclude with Alfonso Cuaron’s Americanized 1998 film of Great Expectations, which echoes both its source – and Huckleberry Finn. We’ll familiarize ourselves generally with Dickens’s biography and read a few pieces of his journalism to see what he uses, and transforms, in his novels, and what license this gives to “adapting” artists as well. Writing: two short papers, a few in-class exercises to facilitate discussion, and two take-home essay questions as a final exam.


Schedule: Periodically

Instructor(s): Judith Wilt

Prerequisites: None

Cross listed with:

Comments: This course runs on Wednesday afternoons from 3-4:20 and concludes on April 18, well before your final projects in other classes.


Last Updated: 28-Sep-17