The drift: Rethinking the affective dynamics of adaptation

John Hodgkins, University of Rhode Island


The Drift effects a deeper understanding of the dynamic relationship between literature and cinema by articulating an "affective turn" for adaptation studies, a field whose traditional focus has been the critical castigation of filmic adaptations based on canonical plays or novels. Specifically, this project draws on theorists such as Gilles Deleuze, Brian Massumi, and Marco Abel to re-conceive literary and cinematic texts as spatio-temporal engines generating and disseminating affect, and the adaptive process as a drifting of those intensities from one medium to another. By conceptualizing adaptation in this manner, this study steers clear of the chimerical notion of fidelity (to story, to character, to theme) which has anchored so many analyses of adaptive texts over the years—and the reproving language inevitably attending it—in favor of more productive avenues of investigation: What affective work are certain literary and filmic texts performing? What can this tell us, more generally, about the underexplored affective dimensions of literature and cinema, and the dialogic interactions between them? The Drift addresses such questions through close, careful readings that put a variety of realist, modernist, and postmodernist works into conversation with each other, among them the fiction of John Dos Passos, Don DeLillo, and Susanna Moore, the films of Dziga Vertov and Sergei Eisenstein, as well as recent cinematic adaptations by Jane Campion and Charles Burnett. ^

Subject Area

Literature, American|Cinema

Recommended Citation

John Hodgkins, "The drift: Rethinking the affective dynamics of adaptation" (2010). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3430330.