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The interdisciplinary MA in Film and Literature at the University of York examines the lively and symbiotic traffic between written words and cinematic images (through adaptation, borrowing, versioning, negotiation, appropriation, transmediation, analogy, equivalence, resistance, pastiche, collision). It combines trenchant academic enquiry with passionately committed teaching, recent cinematic releases with early silent cinema, pop culture with high culture, theoretical questions with practical ones, blockbuster with poetry, mainstream with avant-garde, institutional studies with formal aesthetic analysis. And it allows students to determine the particular film/literature balance of the degree according to their own preferences.
Film and Literature both asks what is particular to the narrative codes and presentational conventions of cinema (as opposed to various literary forms) and also pits questions of medium-specificity against shared narrative, interpretive and socio-cultural histories. Through ranging cinematic, literary and theoretical illustration, it examines the ways in which the circulation of ideas between these two influential modes of expression can be more varied, more interesting and sometimes more surreptitious than conventional studies simply of `adaptation´ might imply. Overall, it:
* enables nuanced and sophisticated case-studies of mainstream literary adaptations for the screen (from classic novels, popular fiction, play texts, Shakespeare, real life news stories and more).
* innovatively extends academic enquiry into other forms of influence, exchange and response between print and cinematic media (which includes the study of novels, poetry, journalism, reviews, plays, filmscripts, contracts, film censors´ reports and more).
* roots all films in their broader cultural, historical, industrial, technological and aesthetic contexts.
Film and Literature would appeal to those who are looking for a strong academic preparation for doctoral study in a related area. It would also suit those who are looking to refine their detailed film-reading skills and who would enjoy studying film and literature, separately and/or in combination, before going on to work in writing, reviewing, publishing, arts administration, teaching, production or other related fields.
The MA is supported by a lively visiting speaker programme of both academics and industry professionals, including screenwriters, directors, actors and script-commissioning editors. In autumn 2008, for example, Andrew Davies, the celebrated writer of literary adaptations for the BBC, will be conducting a workshop with Film and Literature MA students on adapting the classics for the screen.
Full-time students take four taught modules (two required, two optional) across the first two terms (October-March). Available taught modules include:
* the study of the Western and film noir as popular American cinematic genres that spin myths of individual and national identity through a wealth of inherited sources.
* a case-study on British cinema: questions of literariness, national heritage, directors, stars and experimentation from the silent era to the present.
* literary adaptation in European cinema
* copyright issues in the cinema and in literary production
* the history, theory and criticism of intermediality and transmediality: a study of how film and literary forms have borrowed each other´s materials, appropriated and adjusted each other´s communicative strategies and been read as related modes of expression both by real-world audiences and academic theorists.
* the secretary in film and fiction 1890-1940: a revealing cross-media case-study on one tropic figure
* theories of narrative
* avant-garde European playwrights
* poetry and poetics 1930 to the present
* recent American fiction
* and more, with available modules varying from year to year.
Optional modules may also be taken in other arts and humanities departments. (Part-time students are also very welcome to take this MA across two years and should enquire to discover how modules are spread across the two years.)
Film and Literature MA students then have six months (April-September) in which to write a 15-20,000 word dissertation with the support and guidance of a supervisor. This may be on any area of film studies or on the interface between film and literary studies. The subject is chosen by the student and honed in consultation with the supervisor.
Staff teaching on the York MA in Film and Literature are internationally respected film scholars working in a highly prestigious literature department (ranked second in the UK by the 2006 Times Good University Guide).