Double Vision

And twofold always. May God us keep From single vision and Newton's sleep!--William Blake

One of the pleasures of studying the Art of Adaptation is the pleasure of double vision: thinking about Fiction and Film together.

My interest in Adaptation is in how a film adapts the text, but also in the text itself. I believe that in order to understand the art of adaptation--how a particular film uses the originating story--one must study the art of fiction.

Reflecting on the art of fiction deepens our understanding of the art of film because film narrative employs the same basic elements of narrative. Analyzing the originating text, how it employs the major elements of narrative art, is therefore indispensable in understanding the complex relationship of the Adaptation to the text.

When one thoroughly understands the originating text, one is in a position to appreciate the Adaptation--the transformation of text into moving images and sound, its metamorphosis into a rich and strange new Work of Art.

Double Vision: Studying fiction and film together also indulges the primordial human pleasure in comparison and contrast. A text and a film. This is like that. This is not like that. Comparison and contrast allows one to see the different capacities and resources of each medium--what they share in common and what is unique to each.

A text in one eye, its adaptation in the other. Double vision deepens our appreciation and love of the art of fiction and the art of film.

So here's my Studies in the Art of Adaptation, reflections from twenty years of twofold teaching.

Dr. John Hartzog
Art Center June 09