Emile Zola and the Artistry of Adaptation

Kate Griffiths

Legenda (General Series)

Legenda

17 July 2009  •  158pp

ISBN: 978-1-906540-27-2 (hardback)  •  RRP £75, $99, €85

ISBN: 978-1-351194-15-0 (Taylor & Francis ebook)

ModernFrenchFilm


Filmmakers have drawn inspiration from the pages of Emile Zola (1840-1902) from the earliest days of cinema. The ever-growing number of adaptations they have produced spans eras, genres, languages, and styles. In spite of the diversity of these approaches, numerous critics regard them as inferior copies of a superior textual original. But key novels by Zola resist this critical approach to adaptation. Both at the level of characterization and in terms of their own textual inheritance, they question the very possibility of origin, be it personal or textual. In the light of this questioning, the cinematic versions created from Zola's texts merit critical re-evaluation. Far from being facile copies of the nineteenth-century novelist's works, these films assess their own status as adaptations, playing with both notions of artistic creation and their own artistic act.

Kate Griffiths is a Lecturer in French at Swansea University.

Reviews:

  • ‘This book could be grandly defined as an essay in intertextuality, intergenericity and transmodality... Such forbidding terminology should not by any means discourage the more general reader familiar with Zola’s works from engaging with, and almost certainly from enjoying, Kate Griffiths’s splendid study.’ — David Baguley, Bulletin of the Emile Zola Society 2010
  • ‘This is a book that refreshingly refuses to subscribe to clichés about Zola’s ‘pre-cinematic technique’. And in reading adaptations (both forward and back) against her selected texts, Griffiths provides for each of them an intelligent contribution to the thinking of students and specialists alike.’ — Robert Lethbridge, French Studies 65.3, July 2011, 398-99
  • ‘One of the most significant new books to be published concerning a major literary ‘canonical’ figure—Émile Zola—and the adaptations his prose generated... In particular, Griffiths’s work on La Terre is one of the best discussions of Antoine’s silent masterpiece I have read in years. Her scholarly text is readable, intellectually cogent, and illuminating for the student of Zola’s naturalist, experimental methodology, as formulated in his ‘scientific’ prose, and the ensuing, often multiple, film interpretations it generated. This is a superior study of literary–film interrelations, excellent and timely scholarship.’ — Robert Singer, Modern Language Review 106.4, 2011, 1160-61 (full text online)

Bibliography entry:

Griffiths, Kate, Emile Zola and the Artistry of Adaptation (Cambridge: Legenda, 2009)

First footnote reference: 35 Kate Griffiths, Emile Zola and the Artistry of Adaptation (Cambridge: Legenda, 2009), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Griffiths, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Griffiths, Kate. 2009. Emile Zola and the Artistry of Adaptation (Cambridge: Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Griffiths 2009: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Griffiths 2009: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


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