Colloques & Conferences de l'Universite Lyon 2, "Rewriting / Reprising" - La reprise en litterature

Rewriting squared: Harold Pinter's cinematic adaptation of John Fowles's:The French Lieutenant's Woman

Isabelle roblin

Dernière modification: 2007-06-26


The question of rewriting is at the very heart of John Fowles's The French Lieutenant's Woman, one of the first ''retro-Victorian novels'' of the 1960s. What happens then when the novel is in turn re-written for the cinema by Harold Pinter, one of the greatest contemporary British playwrights? That particular reprising was clearly a challenge (the novel had been called ''unfilmable'') and is particularly interesting on several counts. By comparing the three stages of the work - Fowles's novel, Pinter's screenplay and the film itself - we shall first study how Pinter brilliantly managed to transfer to the screen the metafictional aspect of the novel, and more particularly his use of the ''the film-within-the film'' technique, and then we shall consider the limits of such an adaptation, which are linked to the medium itself (for example the length of the film and its production costs) but also to the aesthectic choices of the screenwriter.

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