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Journal of Literary Semantics

An International Review

Founded by Eaton, Trevor

Ed. by Toolan, Michael

2 Issues per year

CiteScore 2017: 0.38

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.122
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.575

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Volume 41, Issue 2


“It's not quite what I had in mind”: Adaptation, faithfulness, and interpretation

Anne Furlong,
Published Online: 2012-09-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jls-2012-0011


This paper proposes that Gutt's work on translation (2000), situated in a relevance-theoretic framework, provides a productive basis on which to discuss adaptations, especially of graphic novels. Expectations held by audience members that they will see their reading of a work presented on the screen are seriously flawed. In Gutt's terms, audiences who anticipate direct translations of their reading on the screen are disappointed by adaptations that present indirect translations; the disparity between expectation and result is the cause of disaffection. This paper argues that there is a crucial distinction between the interpretation of the text as constructed by the reader, and the filmmaker's interpretation as performed by the adaptation. This paper surveys a range of responses to film adaptations, explores the meaning of “faithfulness” in adaptation within the relevance-theoretic notion of resemblance, and concludes by showing that it is the director's, not the writer's or reader's, non-spontaneous interpretation which is performed by an adaptation.

About the article

Published Online: 2012-09-06

Published in Print: 2012-09-13

Citation Information: , Volume 41, Issue 2, Pages 175–191, ISSN (Online) 1613-3838, ISSN (Print) 0341-7638, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jls-2012-0011.

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