ENGL 246/001: Literature and Film (September 2024)

ENGL 246/001: Literature and Film

Term 1 | MWF 2:00-3:00pm

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Vampires on Page and Screen: Transfusions and Transmutations

“I am all in a sea of wonders. I doubt; I fear; I think strange things, which I dare not confess to my own soul.” – Bram Stoker, Dracula

This course examines adaptations in something of the way vampire transformations work, by considering how elements of appearance remain but the resulting creature is always radically different. We’ll go in prepared, not with stakes and garlic but with the critical and theoretical tools needed to move beyond popular online discussions and enable consideration of ideological, political, and cultural questions arising in creating through adaptation a new and separate text in a different genre. Our approach will be more that of literary and cultural studies than film studies, as we consider why stories about vampires, the blood-drinking immortals of myth and legend – and more recently of fiction and film – fascinate us and their adapters, and to what extent visualizing them results a transfusion, a transmutation, or both.

Core texts tentatively include Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla plus one adaptation (ideally the 2019 eponymous film, possibly The Vampire Lovers), Bram Stoker’s Dracula plus two adaptations: possibilities include Nosferatu (either Murnau or Herzog), Dracula (1931; Tod Browning), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992; Francis Ford Coppola). We might also have a look at John Polidori’s novella The Vampyre (or at one as yet unadapted vampire story) and at one vampire film that isn’t an adaptation (e.g. What We Do in the Shadows or Only Lovers Left Alive). Film choices will depend on access through Library Online Course Reserves. As well, academic readings in theory and criticism specifically concerned with adaptation, as well as in Gothic studies, will be set and provided through Library Online Course Reserves. I have ordered the Broadview edition of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula through the UBC Bookstore.

Evaluation will tentatively be based on a midterm essay, a term paper requiring secondary academic research, a final reflection essay, and participation in discussion.

Please keep checking this post for more information about the course, its texts, and its requirements. Please email me (Gisele.Baxter@ubc.ca) if you have any questions.

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