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Calls for Papers, News, and Events:  Archives

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Calls for Papers, News, and Events 2010 & 2011


Deadline:  June 1 (proposals), July 15 (essays), 2011

We seek essays or proposals for essays to be included in a book of collected critical assessments of Chaplin's films and career. The objective of this collection is to present Chaplin within a wide range of current critical thought. Thus, we are especially interested in work that reflects new theoretical perspectives. Submissions must be in electronic format (.docx or .pdf preferred) as attachments to an email message to Larry Howe, Roosevelt University, (lhowe@roosevelt.edu).


Deadline for submissions: essays (up to 6000 words) by July 15, or proposals for essays by June 1.

For more information, please contact any of the following:


James Caron:   jec@sas.artsci.hawaii.edu 

Benjamin Click:  baclick@smcm.edu 

Larry Howe:  lhowe@roosevelt.edu 



Call for Papers

International Conference

Shakespeare on Screen: Othello

21-22-23 June 2012

Université Paul Valéry Montpellier III (France)

Deadline for proposals: 30 April 2011

This "Othello on screen" conference is based on a partnership between the university of Le Havre and the University Paul Valéry Montpellier III and between two research centres: the GRIC (Groupe de Recherche Identités et Cultures, EA 4314, Université du Havre) and the IRCL (Institute for Research on the Renaissance, the Neo-classical Age and the Enlightenment, UMR 5186 CNRS, Université Paul Valéry Montpellier III).

This international conference will focus on the adaptations of Othello from 1908 to 2012, including Orson Welles' 1952 and Oliver Parker's 1995 versions but also the films that are built on the Shakespearean plot but prefer not to use Shakespeare's text, such as O, directed by Tim Blake Nelson in 2001. It will also focus on less full-flegded versions of Othello by inviting papers on references to the play on all kinds of screens (TV, cinema, computer).

A variety of approaches will be welcomed in this conference. The papers may examine, among other aspects:

  • how the play is (textually, aesthetically, ideologically, etc.) transformed when directed for the screen;

  • what each adaptation reveals about the culture in which it is set;

  • how Shakespeare's playscript (or plot) interacts with national ideologies and representations

  • how the screen versions have been influenced and shaped by previous theatre productions;

  • how gender and racial issues are treated on screen

Proposals, including a 300-word abstract and a short bio, should be sent to:

Sarah Hatchuel (shatchuel@noos.fr) and Nathalie Vienne-Guerrin (nathalie.vienne-guerrin@univ-montp3.fr) by 30 April 2011.

Selected papers will be published in the "Shakespeare on Screen" collection, edited by Sarah Hatchuel and Nathalie Vienne-Guerrin (Publications des Universités de Rouen et du Havre).

This "Shakespeare on Screen" conference, focusing on Othello, will prolong the series of conferences around "Shakespeare on Screen", which have been organized at the University of Rouen between 2003 and 2008 and in Le Havre in 2010. The University of Montpellier will host the event for the first time.

What gives this cycle of conferences its coherence and specificity is that it thoroughly interrogates what Shakespearean films do with and to Shakespeare's text. All the speakers share the same interest in the screen adaptations of Shakespeare's plays, but adopt various (historical, educational, cultural, analytical, practical, intertextual) approaches, thus focusing on multiple fields of study that testify to the richness of this research field.

If one film cannot render all the ambiguities of the play text, the confrontation of multiple versions can no doubt successfully convey a multiplicity of interpretations that may merge in the spectators' minds and grow to produce a kaleidoscopic form of meaning. If Shakespearean films have a life of their own, they also reveal the multifarious facets of each play whose hybrid nature is bound to feed "translations" of all sorts. Films based on Shakespeare fall into categories whose boundaries are always being transgressed. The conferences thus encourage scholarly interrogation on what the phrase "Shakespearean film" encompasses. They provide us with diverging assessments of the films, but also deploy a wide array of methodologies used to study "Shakespeare on screen".

Different scales of analysis may be used: some papers may focus on one film or on a selection of films; others may explore one theme or one particular scene considered in a selection of films. Some papers may adopt a primarily filmic approach while others may opt for a mainly textual "Shakespearean" approach. Some papers may contextualise the conditions of production, release and reception of the films; others may explore their ideological roots and impact. Some papers may focus on adaptations while others may focus on references to the plays on screen.


Sarah Hatchuel (GRIC, Université du Havre, France, shatchuel@noos.fr)

Janice Valls-Russell (IRCL, Université Montpellier III, France, cahiers@univ-montp3.fr)

Nathalie Vienne-Guerrin (IRCL, Université de Montpellier III, France, nvienneguerrin@orange.fr; nathalie.vienne-guerrin@univ-montp3.fr)




Call for Papers




A Joint Conference of Central Connecticut State University

and the Literature/Film Association


Extended Deadline: April 30, 2011


To be held at Central Connecticut State University

New Britain, Connecticut

October 12-14, 2011

LFA (only) Abstracts to: cymiller@tiac.net


The shifting boundaries between languages and national and ethnic identities in the late 20th and early 21st century are changing the notion of borders around the world, as borderland areas become places of hybridity, cultural transfer, and exchange, but sometimes also arenas of violent conflict and segregation. The Fall of the Berlin Wall, the resulting end of the Cold War, the expansion of the European Union, and the migratory movements across the continent have led to both peaceful and violent border negotiations and the attempted definition of a "New Europe." With the end of the Cold War, the notion of the "Americas" has been changing, as well, driven by an American foreign policy dominated by border politics, especially toward Mexico and the southern borders. In Spain, the transfers on the borders to North Africa are an enduring topic, as are the border disputes in South Asia and the Middle East.


While land borders are erased and redrawn by social and political realities, conceptual borders are also challenged and reconfigured by various strategies of adaptation from page and stage to screen, as well as by the proliferation of the Internet and new technologies.  At the same time, the new digital divide causes new barriers to emerge.


We would like to invite contributions that address the ways in which border conflicts and their resolutions, as well as mediations of different kinds in the borderlands, are reflected in the medium of film and the processes of adaptation. What are the newly imagined and real communities that are being shaped by border politics and how do films address the changing geographical, economic, ethnic, and cultural realities? What images of borderlands emerge from their filmic representations? How do these images influence the audiences and shape an understanding of borderlands among viewers not familiar with the local specifics? How do the filmmakers use the geographical borderlands as a metaphor to comment on other borders and boundaries: narrative, linguistic, or epistemological?  How are the borders and boundaries between various media approached, reconciled, or in some cases, violated?


Our Conference proposes to be a space for debating how different communities form senses of borderlands originating from places of knowledge, politics, art, memory, and lived experience, and how these senses contribute to a changing global community. While the European borderlands are one of the main focal points of the Conference, we also welcome submissions that address borders between non-European countries (e.g. North/South borderlands in Vietnam, the Korean border, the US/Canada borderlands, the US/Mexican frontera, Afro-Arabic borders, border conflicts in Israel and the Middle East, etc.), as well as borderlands between page and screen, and conceptual borderlands, as well. We encourage submissions on both fiction and non-fiction films and on different genres or film movements.


Possible Subthemes of the Conference:


•     Real/imaginary borders

•     Narratives crossing the borders between literature and film

•     Adaptations across national, cultural, or linguistic borders

•     Language barriers and negotiations

•     Modernity versus tradition

•     Gender on the borderlands

•     Dissolution of borders

•     Anxiety about intrusion/Borderlands in horror narratives

•     Violation of borders

•     Visions of border zones, enclosed areas, no man's land

•     New technologies and the digital divide


 We invite scholars to submit 250-300 word abstracts for individual presentations (20 minutes) that address any of the proposed themes of the Conference. Abstracts, along with affiliation and contact information should be sent to cymiller@tiac.net by March 15, 2011.


CCSU organizing committee: Dr. Matthew Ciscel, Dr. Jakub Kazecki, and Dr. Karen Ritzenhoff.


LFA conference committee:  Cindy Miller, Laurence Raw, and Jim Welsh.

Call for Papers
Music and the Moving Image VI
May 20-22, 2011

Deadline:  December 11, 2010

The annual conference, Music and the Moving Image, encourages submissions from scholars and practitioners that explore the relationship between music, sound, and the entire universe of moving images (film, television, video games, iPod, computer, and interactive performances) through paper presentations.  

In addition, this year’s conference will include a special session on teaching students about soundtracks. We invite those who teach within film, media, and/or music curricula to submit abstracts about applying particular theoretical approaches to the practice of teaching soundtracks. (For this special session, the faculty member should include with their abstract submission the courses they teach, their departmental affiliation, and the majors represented by their students.) The keynote address will be presented by Philip Tagg (Kojak: 50 Seconds of Television Music; Ten Little Title Tunes). Streaming video of the presentations will be available only at NYU from May 20-30, 2011.


The Program Committee includes Philip Tagg (see credits above); K.J.Donnelly (The Spectre of Sound, British Film Music and Film Musicals); Elsie Walker (Conversations with Directors; editor of Literature/Film Quarterly); and coeditors of Music and the Moving Image, Gillian B. Anderson (Haexan; Pandora’s Box; Music for Silent Film 1892-1929: A Guide); and NYU faculty, Ron  Sadoff (The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation; Chuck Jones: Memories of Childhood). The conference will run in conjunction with the NYU/ASCAP Film Scoring Workshop in Memory of Buddy Baker (May 24-June 2, 2011).


MaMI Conference website: http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/music/scoring/conference/


Calls for Papers, News, and Events 2009




From the Founder:  Goodbye to All That? 

A Report on the 2009 Literature/Film Association Conference, Carlisle, PA, October 15-18, 2009


Things change, and not always for the better, I was saddened to think while driving out of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, after having attended the 2009 Liturature/Film Assn Conference organized by the retiring David Kranz, who had decided to give us one final gift, pro bono, as he said.  The weather had been wretched—even British, overcast and rainy—but at least lacking the snow that had struck the higher elevations, making “Happy Valley” less so.  Dickinson had provided a very successful and satisfying conference with an elegant and fluent plenary speaker (even if he cut off one of our precocious quippersnappers at the knees when asked—I thought reasonably— if he were privileging the verbal over the visual in discussing the “essay” film.  Well, maybe the problem was in the asking:  “I find your privileging of language quaint,” was the way one sympathetic friend remembered it.).  Post-Dickinson, perhaps some of you will have noticed the review of Phillip Lopate’s Notes on Sontag (Princeton UP, 2009) by Rachel Hadas of Rutgers University that appeared in TLS (October 16, 2009—sporting a cover portrait of a young Chas. Dickens).  Praising the book, she claims that Lopate, who met Susan Sontag when he was an undergraduate at Columbia, “has given us, in the modest guise of these Notes, an extraordinarily rewarding study.”  Professor Lopate, she wrote, has “the thoroughness and clarity of a latter-day Edmund Wilson and an urbanity and wit that are all his own” (p.29).  Perhaps you noticed?


This year’s achievement award was granted to the always remarkably composed past-President Peter Lev of Towson University, whom I consider the Perry Como of conference presenters, by which I mean that he has a particular genius for putting his audience at ease, besides being knowledgeable.  The Conference had a terrific turn-out, pulling back regulars like Bill Bartley from snowy Saskatchewan and newcomers like Rick Wallach from sunny Miami.  So I am obviously grateful to David Kranz, Nancy Mellerski, Cindy Miller, Linda Cahir, Tom Leitch, and others on the program committee I haven’t met.  Having said all this, why, then, should I be depressed?


Because with David retired and Nancy Mellerski stepping down as President, I am afraid the string of conferences at Dickinson College might well be broken.  It is, after all, a perfect venue for small conferences.  All activities were confined to five conveniently-located campus buildings, and the campus itself is located only a short walk from the Comfort Suites Carlisle downtown, surrounded by festive boutiques and yuppie fernbars, with Fay’s for brunch just down Hanover Street.  The hotel staff was constantly attentive and helpful and, well, Comfort-ing.  When a forgetful Presenter “X” discovered he had left his paper in Kansas, for example, could a crisis be averted?  No problem:  the desk staff at the Comfort Suites quickly and cheerfully provided e-mail back-up with excellent printing capacity.  So what if there was a loud wedding reception later on?  All was forgiven.


Towson is the only other conference facility I know that can begin to compete with Dickinson College.  Folks were certainly helpful at the University of Kansas, but the Union facilities there were atop Mt. Oread, causing logistical problems for conferees staying downtown in Lawrence.  The University of the Bosphorus was simply spectacular, I can tell you, but also (alas) Istanbul is Out There on the cusp of Asia, and very expensive to get to.  And Salisbury and Ocean City I fear are only memories of the distant and receeding past.  So places like Dickinson and Towson are greatly to be valued.  Next year we shall attempt to find happiness (and Love, perhaps?) in Milwaukee, cozied up to Film + History.  (Actually, I am rather looking forward to Milwaukee, even if historians are something of a different breed.)  And after that, who knows?  An interesting possibility may exist in northern Ohio, not so far from the Pennsylvania border.  But meanwhile, thank you David and Nancy for an excellent conference in 2009.  Enjoy your retirement, David, but please don’t stop writing, and please do join us later.


Jim Welsh, LFA Founder

Founding Editor, Literature/Film Quarterly

Salisbury University Emeritus   




Focus:  Papers Presented at the Literature/Film Association Conference 2009

Deadline:  January 15, 2010


Presenters at the 2009 Literature/Film Association (LFA) conference are invited to submit their work for publication in a special issue of Literature/Film Quarterly; this special issue will be created by members of the LFA as well as the editorial board of Literature/Film Quarterly. Submissions will go through a peer-review process before being accepted for publication.  Only presentations from the 2009 conference are eligible for submission; they should, however, be revised for publication in an academic journal and according to the guidelines below. 

Although presenters are welcome to submit essays on any topic presented at LFA 2009, priority for the issue will be given to those articles which focus upon conference themes of technology, intertextuality, and adaptation in postmodernity. 

Each submission should be approximately 5,000 words, be double-spaced in 12 pt. Times New Roman, referenced in the New MLA Style and sent as a text file document (in Microsoft Word 98, 2000, 2003, or 2007 format). Each submission should be sent in duplicate hard copies (with text file on CD) to:

The Editors

Literature/Film Quarterly

Salisbury University

1101 Camden Ave.

Salisbury, MD 21801


Submissions may also be emailed to litfilmquart@salisbury.edu (please ensure confirmation of receipt).  The deadline for submission is January 15, 2010.

If you have questions regarding this special issue, please contact the journal at litfilmquart@salisbury.edu



"Representing Love in Film and Television"

November 11-14, 2010

Hyatt Regency Hotel, Milwaukee WI

Second-Round Deadline for All Areas: March 1, 2010

Be sure to join the Literature/Film Association in 2010, for their joint conference with Film & History, "Representing Love in Film and Television," to be held November 11-14, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, in Milwaukee, WI. The onference will look at how love, inits many guises, forms, contexts and historical moments, has been represented and interpreted in moving image entertainment. Examinations of any facet of love, from the most brutal, to the most divine, are welcome.

Director and film theorist, Dr. Laura Mulvey, will be appearing as the keynote speaker. Dr. Mulvey, professor of film and media studies at Birkbeck College, University of London, is widely known for her influential essay, "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" (1975), and is also the author of Death 24x a Second: Stillness and the Moving Image (2006), and Fetishism and Curiosity (1996), along with numerous articles. Her films, co-written and co-directed with Peter Wollen, are recognized for their complex explorations of identity, symbolism, and the female experience.

Submissions of papers, panels, and area proposals for the conference are currently being accepted. Please consult the Film & History website for a list of active areas and their chairs, or email Director of Communications, Cynthia Miller, at cymiller@tiac.net, for additional information.



March 30-April 3, 2010

Renaissance Grand Hotel, St. Louis, Missouri

Deadline:  30 November 2009

Adapting Politics

Papers on any and all aspects of adaptation will be considered, but we are particularly interested in politically charged adaptations this year.  Film adaptations have, since their earliest days, been vehicles for political messages.  The blockbuster status of D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation (1915), adapted from Thomas Dixion’s The Clansman, popularized Griffith’s bombastic political message of racism and segregation.  Later film adaptations were often more subtle with their messages.  Robert Wise’s 1951 The Day the Earth Stood Still took a more or less innocuous Harry Bates adventure story and adapted it into a criticism of cold war militarism and the nuclear arms race.  In that same year Howard Hawks made his own cold war statement film, this time adapting John Campbell’s science fiction thriller “Who Goes There” into The Thing From Another World (1951).  Unlike Wise’s film, and Campbell’s short story, Hawks’s adaptation celebrates the role of the military as our only hope for survival in an increasingly dangerous world.  High Noon (1952) is another ‘50s film that took a genre (this time the western) and an adventure story (John Cunningham’s “The Tin Star”) and turned them toward political ends.  This year we’d like to take a special look at adaptations that have distinct political goals.

As always, we consider “adaptation” a way of looking at texts more than a particular brand of texts.  Thus we welcome papers on video game adaptations, new media adaptations, literature to literature adaptations, and radio adaptations along with film adaptations.  Papers on any and all aspects of adaptation (not just politics) will be considered.

Please send proposals as soon as possible to Dr. Dennis Cutchins (dennis_cutchins@byu.edu).  More information on the conference can be found at




October 15-18, 2009

Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA

Deadline:  15 August 2009


“Texts, Technologies, and Intertextualities: Film Adaptation in a Postmodern World”  

Paper proposals are invited from ALL AREAS of adaptation studies and film or media studies.  Proposals relevant to the conference title above, including questions about graphic novels, comics, CGI, HD/Blue-ray television, home theater/surround sound, YouTube and other internet media, adapted screenplays, remakes, etc., are especially encouraged.  Also of significant interest are papers on literature/film theory, film and history, national cinemas, international cinematic influences, cultural and political issues related to film/media, and concepts of race/class/gender/sexual orientation in lit/film contexts.  We welcome as well papers comparing a single film and its source text, individual film analyses, auteur studies, and fresh looks at traditional genres and subgenres like film noir, war films, Shakespeare films, biopics, romantic comedies, and so on.


Proposal abstracts should be 300-500 words in length (eventual papers must be read in no more than 20 minutes) and are due by 15 August 2009.  Send by email attachment to David Kranz, LFA 2009 Conference Director, at kranz@dickinson.edu. Proposals sent by regular mail should be addressed to David Kranz at Dept. of English, Dickinson College, P.O. Box 1773, Carlisle, PA 17013.  Rolling notifications of acceptance will arrive over the summer and by 1 September 2009 at the latest.


Conference Registration Fees: $100 before 25 September 2009 and $125 thereafter.  Fees for graduate students and retired professionals:  $75 before 25 September 2009 and $100 thereafter.  Make checks out to Dickinson College and mail to David Kranz at the address above.


LFA Dues: All conference attendees must be now or soon become members of LFA.  To join and pay 2009 dues of $20, please go to our website at http://alpha.dickinson.edu/departments/film/lfa/membership.htm


and use our PayPal feature or send a check to


Tina Lent, Professor and Chair, Fine Arts Department

College of Liberal Arts

Rochester Institute of Technology

92 Lomb Memorial Drive

Rochester, NY 14623-5604

Calls for Papers, News, and Events 2008


Call for Papers:

Film and Science: Fictions, Documentaries, and Beyond

Biennial Conference by the Center for the Study of Film and History


30 October 2008 – 2 November 2008

Chicago, Illinois  USA

Website:  www.filmandhistory.org


Deadline:  August 1, 2008


Download the conference poster here.


The Center for the Study of Film and History, publisher of the scholarly journal, Film & History, will conduct its 5th biennial conference, “Film and Science: Fictions, Documentaries, and Beyond,” in Chicago, October 30 - November 2, 2008, at The Westin O’Hare Hotel.


The third-round deadline for the submission of abstracts and inquires is August 1, 2008, but panels are being formed now, and prompt submissions find the most compatible scheduling and contexts.


A wide range of areas, concerns, and historical eras will be represented at the conference, including scientific icons, animation, exploration, extraterrestrials, and forensics, and the work of filmmakers such as David Cronenberg and Steven Spielberg.  Each area will consist of multiple panels, so opportunities abound.  A complete listing of areas and their detailed calls for papers may be found on the Film & History website, along with contact information for area chairs.  Abstracts may be sent directly to the chair of your chosen area, or to either Loren PQ Baybrook, the new director of the Center (filmandhistory@uwosh.edu), or Cynthia Miller, the Call-for-Papers Manager (cymiller@tiac.net).


Featured speakers will include special-effects legend Stan Winston. Also scheduled for plenary sessions are noted scholars Wheeler Winston Dixon (author of Visions of the Apocalypse, Disaster and Memory, and Lost in the Fifties: Recovering Phantom Hollywood) and Sidney Perkowitz (author of Hollywood Science: Movies, Science, & the End of the World).


Several publication opportunities will derive from the conference, ranging from proceedings to themed journal issues to edited volumes by publishers who will attend the event to talk with scholars.


Additional information on conference registration, accommodations, and other details may be found on the website.  Conference registration fees include a full year of the journal, but a separate online subscription form for Film & History is available for individuals who would like to begin receiving the journal immediately.


Inquiries: filmandhistory@uwosh.edu

Web address: www.filmandhistory.org


Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Film and History.



New Website:


Literature/Film Association


The Literature/Film Association now has a website:  click here (or above) for their new home on the web!  As the website itself notes, "The Literature/Film Association, established in 1989, encourages a wide variety of approaches to the study of cinema, with special focus on the relationship of literature and film. It supports and promotes cinema studies, largely by planning and running an annual conference of film scholars from across the country and around the globe."  On their new website, you'll find a comprehensive newsletter on various events in the association, information on upcoming conferences, and also instructions for becoming a member.  One excellent feature of their most recent newsletter includes "Favorite Adaptations to Teach," in which a number of scholars reflect candidly on their adaptation pedagogy.  If you are at all interested in the study of adaptation, this association is well worth becoming a part of.



Periodically Yours:  Plugging the Bosphorus, and then some

by Jim Welsh

Founder, Literature/Film Association, and Co-Founding Editor, Literature/Film Quarterly

[Part of this article also appears on the Literature/Film Association Newsletter, posted at their website here.]

Once upon a time, back when I fancied myself somehow in demand, I wrote a column called “Periodically Yours” that ran irregularly in a half-dozen newspapers, in Literature/Film Quarterly, then in American Classic Screen, and even, for a while, in Filmviews, in Australia. I thought (being me) the title was pretty clever, since the column appeared “periodically” and since the subject, after all, was “periodicals”—mainly film periodicals, but I’ve since grown up. Now that I am retired, my interests are running more towards academic conferences, where I still keep running into periodicals. There was the promise of a new periodical, for example, at that conference at Oglethorpe University last year, which resulted ion the publication of Adaptation this past March.

But wait—there’s still another possibility! At Popular Culture national in San Francisco Easter weekend of 2008 I met the outgoing and extraordinary Richard J. Hand, who worked his rhetorical legerdemain both at the conference and on the radio, since he was also involved in mounting a play out in the City By the Bay. Richard presented me with Vol.1, No.1 of his new Journal of Adaptation in Film and Performance, which celebrated its first issue just a bit earlier than Adaptation in November, 2007. Richard teaches at the Cardiff School of Creative and Cultural Industries (!) at the University of Glamorgan in Wales and, having met with him, I only wish I could attend his forthcoming conference in Cardiff (one of my favorite cities in the country my surname belongs to) in June 2008, but, alas, it’s too late for me, were I bright enough to qualify. Anyone else interested, however, should write to rhand@glam.ac.uk.

Therefore, I’ll just have to settle for the delights of Istanbul, courtesy of Laurence Raw and his friends running the American Studies Assn. of Turkey, when the next Literature/Film Assn. Conference convenes at the University of the Bosphorus on October 10th, 2008.  This will be my next stop in my continuing quest for friendly conferences—though I must say it will be hard to top the continuing Geműtlichkeit of Albuquerque (Southwest/Texas PCA/ACA) and San Francisco (PCA/ACA national), or, for that matter, the wonderfully named ShInE Conference in Iaşi, Moldavia (“Shakespeare In Europe,” hooray for Balz Engler and Odette Blumenfeld, et al.—see my literaturecompass blog for Blackwell for pictures and details)  The topic for our Istanbul Conference is “Adapting America/America Adapted” and American and British scholars are eagerly sought.  Moreover, simply the best plenary speaker I know has been invited to keynote.  Laurence Raw (no doubt on his way back to Ankara as I write) promises an excellent evening of “Fish by the Bosphorus,” combining conversation and cuisine in a Turkish-delightful way, so that a good time may be had by all.  Laurence has just published a new book, entitled Adapting Nathaniel Hawthorne to the Screen (Scarecrow Press, 2008), so send him your congratulations and conference proposals at l_rawjalaurence@yahoo.com   [Editor's Note:  The CFP for the conference appears below.  To access, click here.]

In closing, another word of congratulations to the redoubtable Dr. Tibbetts, who organized the last LFA Conference at the University of Kansas in 2007, for John Tibbetts has been named a 2008 recipient of the Kansas Governor’s Art Award for Arts in Education.  Meanwhile, John is working to complete his book on the British director Tony Palmer, whose work will be far better known in the United States (we hope!) after the release of Tony’s television history of popular music.  Stay tuned for that (featuring the Rolling Stones and the Beatles; John Lennon, encouraged by Palmer’s 1968 rock documentary All My Loving, approached Tony Palmer to suggest that he undertake a documentary of the whole pop music scene, with Lennon securing interviews with many of the rockers profiled), and watch the forthcoming titles from Southern Illinois University Press.

I should probably also mention another book about to be uttered (a display copy had been printed up for the PCA/ACA San Francisco conference):  Conversations with Directors:  An Anthology of Interviews from Literature/Film Quarterly (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2008), edited by Elsie Walker and Dave Johnson.  In a way, no one would be better qualified to evaluate these interviews, since I originally vetted, solicited, and encouraged all but two of them.  The collection begins with Gerry Barrett’s interview with Jonas Mekas.  At the time Gerry, a friend and colleague of Tom Erskine’s at the University of Delaware, was one of the three original editors of LFQ (in fact, I remember driving with the two of them through the roadside attractions of Terre Haute, Indiana, on our way to the 1975 Popular Culture Association national conference in St. Louis).  Gerry Barrett moved on from Delaware to Texas, but, years later, lo and behold, his enthusiasm resulted not in a book on Mekas, but in the G.K. Hall volume Stan Brakhage:  A Guide to References and Resources (1983). Barrett was our go-to guy then for interviews, as evidenced by his second interview, this time with William Friedkin, addressing, initially, The Exorcist.  (We should have interviewed Jordan Leondopoulus, who was Friedkin’s supervising film editor on The Exorcist and who, later taught cinema, and, for a while, became a regular at LFA conferences and lectured as my guest at Salisbury, where he described what it was like to work with “Hurricane Billy.”)  Ah, sweet nostalgia. 

I certainly remember two of the interviews I was most proud to have published:   Krystyna Przybylska’s “Interview with Andrzej Wajda”  (1977),  and Royal S. Brown’s “Alain Robbe-Grillet” (1989).  I remember the latter because it happened quite by accident.  In a conversation with Royal Brown on something to do, perhaps, with music and film, he mentioned that Robbe-Grillet would be on his campus as a guest lecturer, and I flipped.  The spokesman for the nouveau roman and the writer-director of the cinema’s greatest puzzler, Last Year at Marienbad?  Please, Royal, I begged, will you interview him for us if possible, and he did, making my career as editor worthwhile, and justifying my very existence. 

Speaking of whom, Royal S. Brown kept a regular column called “Film Musings” for almost twenty years for Fanfare magazine, where he also served as music editor, besides his academic career as chair of the Department of European Languages and Literatures and director of Film Studies at Queens College, New York.  About half of what he wrote for that column has now been published under the title Film Musings (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2007), in an oversized volume that runs to 417 pages.  The organization is bothersome, by month and year, though a Film Index is provided to help readers find what may be of interest.  Check out the entry for Eyes Wide Shut (pp. 320-322) and you’ll soon discover that the interest and scope of these “musings” go beyond film music, which Brown discusses, from Shotakovich’s Jazz Suite No. 2 to Gyorgy Ligrti’s Musica Ricercata, II.  Of course, Royal knows music, but he is also worth listening to when explaining that the film is not simply about sex, but, rather, about a “patriarchal male’s displacement of his sexuality onto or into such things as impossible wealth, voyeurism, game playing, aesthetics, and, ultimately, death.”  Such examples abound, but see also the tributes to film composer Miklós Rózsa (pp.179-180) and George Korngold (pp. 47-48).  Too bad that the book may at first glance seem too specialized for readers who might really enjoy reading it.


Jim Welsh, Emeritus Co-Founding Editor of LFQ, is working on his 17th and 18th books.  His last published effort was The [as yet unreviewed] Literature/Film Reader: Issues of Adaptation, edited with Peter Lev for Scarecrow Press in 2007.  He has recently been invited to join the Advisory Board of The Journal of American Culture, where he has been quietly working with Book Review Editor Ray Browne, the Founder of the Popular Culture Association and the American Culture Association.

The sometimes contentious Jim Welsh can be reached at jxwelsh@salisbury.edu  but be advised, though not by nature a backbiter, he may bite back.


American Studies Association of Turkey

33rd Annual American Studies Conference

In collaboration with

The Literature Film Association (LFA)

Adapting America/America Adapted

October 8 – 10, 2008

Bogazici University

Istanbul, Turkey

This conference seeks to define a new agenda for adaptation studies, specifically, as a branch of American Studies that not only encompasses literature and visual media, but also a wide-range of subject areas including, but not limited to, history, anthropology, political science, philosophy, sociology, the performing arts, and cultural/ethnic studies.  By looking at adaptation in relation to the United States, we seek to investigate a variety of culturally and historically transformative strategies.  We also seek to examine how the process of adaptation has been influenced by social, ideological and political factors both inside and outside the United States. 

While, traditionally, adaptation refers to the transformation of literary texts into different forms of media (e.g., films and television programs), the concept of adaptation can also be applied to other disciplines.  Historians engage in process of negotiating or "adapting" various histories, or dialogues, when they tell the story of a nation; politicians adapt/adopt different philosophies, at different times, to suit their particular interests; and artists and musicians adapt/adopt a broad range of cultural signifiers when creating new works, conventions, and/or trends.

The American Studies Association of Turkey invites proposals that consider adaptation, broadly conceived.  We particularly encourage proposals which incorporate transdisciplinary explorations of adaptation, and welcome proposals from any field of study. Possible themes include, but are not limited to:

  • Processes/purposes of adaptation

  • Adaptation and its motives (e.g., intentionality)

  • Adapting history for political reasons/historical reinvention

  • Popular history: creation and reception

  • Foreign policy and adaptation

  • Audience and adaptation

  • Trans or intercultural adaptation

  • Cultural outcomes/products of adaptation (hybridity, creolization, metissage, mestizaje)

  • Racial adaptation ("passing")

  • Musical adaptation (e.g., sampling in rap music)

  • Artistic adaptation

  • Cross-cultural adaptation (e.g., African elements in American Jazz/Blues)

  • Lingual adaptation (e.g., ebonics)

  • Transformation/transmutation of ideas

  • (Re)creation/simulacra

  • Mimicry, authenticity, and adaptation

  • Forced adaptation (e.g., colonization, imperialism)

  • Americanization, assimilation, acculturation

  • Indigenous adaptation

  • Identity and adaptation

  • The appeal/limits of adaptation

  • Sex/gender adaptation (e.g., transvestitism, berdachism)

  • Conscious adaptation (e.g., metafiction)

  • Self-writing (e.g., transforming personal experiences into literature) 

  • Biopics

  • Pastiches/parodies/satire

  • Literature/film adaptation

  • Video/board games and popular songs based on classic films and/or literary texts

  • Architectural adaptation

  • Semiotics of adaptation

  • Psychological/emotional adaptation

  • Pedagogical applications of adaptation

The time allowance for all presentations is 20 minutes. An additional 10 minutes will be provided for discussion. 

Proposals for papers, panels, performances, exhibits, and other modes of creative expression should be sent to both Louis Mazzari (
louis_mazzari@hotmail.com) and Tanfer Emin Tunc (asat2007@gmail.com) and should consist of a 250 - 300 word abstract in English, as well as a 1 - 2 paragraph biographical description for each participant. Alternatively LFA members may also send a proposal to the LFA representative on the conference organizing committee, Laurence Raw (l_rawjalaurence@yahoo.com).

Deadline for submission of proposals: May 31, 2008

Notification for acceptance of proposals: August 15, 2008

Co-sponsored by the Embassy of the United States 

Calls for Papers, News, and Events 2007


Conference Report:  Literature/Film Association Conference, 2007.  Guest post by Jim Welsh, Founding Editor Emeritus, Literature/Film Quarterly.  Posted on Literature Compass Blog.

Literature/Film Association Conference 2007


University of Kansas, Lawrence


October 11-14, 2007


Primary Focus:


Adapting Theatre into Film & Television


Also related issues of screen adaptation covering all genres







Updated Call for Papers

2007 Literature/Film Association Conference
11-14 October 2007, The University of Kansas, Lawrence

Featured Speakers Announced:

  • Director and Playwright, Neil LaBute

  • Film Scholar, Dr. Frank Manchel

  • Theatre and Vaudeville Scholar, Dr. Andrew Erdman.  (See below for more information)

Primary Theme:  Adaptations of Theatre into Film and Television.  Papers are also invited from all areas of literature/film studies, including adaptations and remakes, literature/film theory, history and film, biography and film, genre topics, social issues (including race, class and gender studies), auteur studies, and individual film analyses.  The Theatre/Film focus should not be regarded as restrictive.

Proposals:  300-500 word abstracts due 15 August 2007.  Send to tibbetts@ku.edu and copy jxwelsh@salisbury.edu, cymiller@tiac.net, and tom.prasch@washburn.edu.

About Our Speakers:

Neil LaBute:  Director, screenwriter, and playwright, Neil LaBute is known for his edgy and often unsettling portrayals of relationships.  A recipient of awards and nominations from the Sundance Film Festival, the New York Film Critics Circle, the Society of Texas Film Critics, and the Independent Spirit Awards, among others, LaBute is known for theatrical productions and films alike, including In the Company of Men, Nurse Betty, Your Friends and Neighbors, Wicker Man, Fat Pig, and In a Dark, Dark, House, among others.

Dr. Frank Manchel:  A foundational scholar in the field of film studies, Dr. Manchel's work in the areas of film history and criticism has guided and informed generations of film scholarship.  He is the author of numerous volumes, including Terrors of the Screen (1970), Box Office Clowns: From Bob Hope to Woody Allen (1979), Gangsters on the Screen (1978)  Great Science Fiction Films (1982),  and the four-volume Film Study: An Analytical Bibliography (1990), along with countless articles in scholarly journals.  Dr. Manchel has had an extensive career teaching in the departments of both English and Communications at the University of Vermont, where he also served as Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for more than a decade.  He is currently Professor Emeritus of English and Film at the University, and is celebrating the release of his latest volume, Every Step a Struggle: Interviews with Seven Who Shaped the African-American Image in Movies (New Academia Publishing, 2007), critically acclaimed as "must reading for anyone interested in the cultural politics of race in America."

Dr. Andrew Erdman:  Author of Blue Vaudeville: Sex, Morals and the Mass Marketing of Amusement, 1895-1915 (McFarland, 2003), Andrew Erdman has taught film, theater, writing, and media studies at a number of New York Universities.  His work has appeared in Theatre Studies, The Theatre Annual, and The Bulletin of Biography, as well as Fortune and National Lampoon.  Dr. Erdman has also written for LifetimeTV.com, VH1, and the stage ("Likeable War Criminals" 2000), and is also featured as an expert in the documentary film, The Original Mermaid: The Amazing Story of Annette Kellerman, about a famous swimmer-turned-vaudevillian, produced for the Australian Broadcasting Company.  He is currently at work on a biography of Eva Tanguay (1878-1947), the so-called "Queen of Vaudeville."

Conference Director

Dr. John C. Tibbetts, Associate Chair
Department of Theatre and Film
The University of Kansas
Lawrence, Kansas 66045


Jim Welsh, LFA Founder, Salisbury University emeritus
Tom Prasch, Washburn University, Topeka, KS/
Cynthia J. Miller, Emerson College, Boston, MA.

Sponsored by The Literature/Film Association, the University of Kansas Department of Theatre & Film, and the Hall Center for the Humanities (Lawrence, KS).

The Association

The Literature/Film Association was established in 1989 as an outgrowth of Literature/Film Quarterly, its editors, contributors and supporters, to provide for expedient conference planning and to encourage humanistic approaches to cinema studies. The first LFA conference was held at Salisbury State College in Maryland in 1980. Subsequent conferences have been held at Towson University in Baltimore, at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, at Arizona State University, the University of Rhode Island, Ashland, Oregon, and at the University of Bath in England. Jim Welsh, co-founding editor of Literature/Film Quarterly, was first President of the Association. The line of succession has included Tom Leitch of the University of Delaware, Peter Lev of Towson University, David Kranz of Dickinson College, and our current President, Nancy Mellerski of Dickinson College. John Tibbetts, our Conference Director for 2007, has served as Vice-President of the Association.


Jim Welsh

LFA Founder


Hotel Facilities:

  • Spring Hill Suites Riverfront Marriott, No.1 Riverfront Plaza, Lawrence, KS 66044 Tel. (785) 841-2700 Request Lit/Film Rate $114

  • Holiday Inn, Holidome, 200 McDonald Drive, Lawrence, KS 66044. Tel. (785) 749-8925 Request LFA Conference Rate of $99

  • Hampton Inn, 2306 West 6th Street, Lawrence, KS, 66049. Tel. (785) 841-4994 LFA Rate: $89

Please Note: LFA Conference rates will apply only if rooms are booked by 11 September 2007. Rooms may be scarce thereafter, since on the Saturday of the Conference KU will host a home football game.

Parking at the Kansas Union should be available for $6.50 per diem. Best to arrive early on Saturday, however, because parking can be scarce on football weekends.

Location: Lawrence, Kansas, is located 35 miles west of Kansas City Airport (MCI), where cars can be rented. There is also an airport shuttle service to Lawrence. The University of Kansas is located on a hill (called Mount Oread) that overlooks the city of Lawrence. Spring Hill Suites are situated downtown on the Kansas River. Lawrence, one of the most livable cities in the Midwest, has a functioning "main street" (Massachusetts Avenue) where conferees will find decent restaurants, and many delightful shops, including a Borders for the bookish.


A PDF of the original conference brochure is available for download here.


The Association of Literature on Screen Studies

2nd Annual Conference

This year’s conference will be in Atlanta, 20-22 September 2007.  Anyone interested in submitting a paper should contact the seminar leaders below. Papers will be selected for publication for the first issue of the international journal, _ Adaptations: The Journal of Literature on Screen Studies_ (OUP).  Any suggestions for further panels should be directed to the organiser, Barton Palmer, Department of English, Clemson University at ppalmer@Clemson.edu or visit our website http://www.literatureonscreen.com. A complete programme and additional seminars and panels will follow.

Panels proposed so far include:




Children’s Literature on Screen

Deborah Cartmell: djc@dmu.ac.uk


Film and the Critical Tradition

Timothy Corrigan: tcorriga@sas.upenn.edu


The Literatures of Film: screenplays, film romans, film reviews

Kamilla Elliott: k.elliott@lancaster.ac.uk


Parody and Adaptations

Douglas Lanier: doug.lanier@unh.edu


Videogame adaptations

Ian Hunter: iqhunter@dmu.ac.uk


Victorianism and Neo-Victorian Literature on Screen

Eckart Voigts-Vircow: voigts-virchow@anglistik.uni-siegen.de


'Chick Flicks': Women's Writing on Screen

 Imelda Whelehan: imw@dmu.ac.uk


The Screenwriter and the Director

Jack Boozer: jousb@langate.gsu.edu



Calls for Papers, News, and Events 2006


CFP:  Empathy and Ethics in Film and Literature (College English Association; November 1, 2006)

We invite papers on Empathy and Ethics in Film and Literature for the 38th annual meeting of the CEA.

Proposals should be submitted via the online database at http://english.ttu.edu/cea/conftool by November 1.

When you submit your proposal, you may use a pull-down menu to indicate your topic. Indicate at that pull-down menu that your submission should be directed to Carol Osborne, chair of the Film and Literature panels.

To preserve time for discussion, CEA limits presentations to 15 minutes.

All presenters must become members of the College English Association by January 1, 2007. For membership information, contact Joe Pestino at jpestin5@naz.edu

For more information about CEA, the general conference theme, or other special sessions, please consult the CEA web site - http://www2.widener.edu/~cea/



(Deadline:  November 1, 2006)

Statement: Dramatizations and documentaries of artists and artistry proliferate across the theater screens and on television. Their impact upon a viewer’s entertainment tastes and cultural education is difficult to assess. But it is clear that much of what we think we know about artists and their work could be the consequences of these audio-visual representations. The Journal of Popular Film and Television seeks original essays for a special issue on arts and artists in the popular media. Topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

1.  The BioPic as Genre. What might qualify the Biopic as a distinct genre? Or should we define it as a subset of the “historical film” genre? Further, do Biopics about artists (composers, painters, sculptors, literary figures, dancers, etc.)—as opposed to those about athletes, scientists, politicians, actors, explorers, etc.—deserve their own defining categories within that subset? Are there narrative models, or paradigms present in specific groups of Biopics, i.e., classical Hollywood in the 1930s-late 1950s; in postmodern biopics of the ’70s to the present?

2.  Debating the Conflicting Practices of Professional Literary Historiography and Audio-Visual Discourse. What are the issues in the current debate between literary historians and audio-visual historians involving the “credibility” of documentary and biographical films? Is our postliterate media culture as much visual as it is oral and written? How may a visual representation be as analytical and realistic as any written account; or, conversely, how may it achieve its own distinctive and unique qualities? Where does “truth” reside in both, i.e., how may we either “portray” or “betray” the artist?

3.  Fact and Fiction in Portraits of Artists. To what degree might a documentary portrait of an artist also flirt with fictive elements and dramatization? Conversely, to what degree should a dramatized biography be responsible to factual data?

4.  Visualizing the Creative Process. How can the interior creative processes of the artist be depicted in film and television? Consider the conception and execution of paintings in Minnelli’s Lust for Life; the composing and performance practices of music in Vidor’s A Song to Remember and Russell’s Mahler; the writing and enactment of poetry and prose in Molinaro’s Beaumarchais the Scoundrel and Dunmore’s The Libertine; the design and building of architecture in Vidor’s The Fountainhead and Kahn’s My Architect; the writing and staging of an opera in Leigh’s “backstage” Topsy-Turvy; etc.

5.  The Fictional Artist. Can filmed and televisual portraits of fictional artists reflect on the actual experiences and works of real-life artists and artistry? Consider the trumpet player in Curtiz’s Young Man with a Horn (based on Bix Beiderbecke) and the painter in Lewin’s The Moon and Sixpence (based on Paul Gauguin).

6.  The Influence of Artistic Movements and Styles on Audio-Visual Discourse. How have artistic movements and styles affected the work of filmmakers? Are the painterly styles of Impressionism revealed in the films of Jean Renoir; the operas of Verdi in the films of Visconti; architecture in the mise en scène of Antonioni; the modes of German Expressionism in “films noir”; the musical “theme and variations” form in Girard’s Thirty-Two Short Films about Glenn Gould; the narrative experiments of Joyce and Woolf in such adaptations as Strick’s Ulysses and Gorris’s Mrs. Dalloway; the comic strip layouts of Ang Lee’s The Hulk and Berman’s American Splendor; etc.?

Guest Editor: John C. Tibbetts, University of Kansas. Submissions should be no longer than twenty double-spaced pages and should conform to MLA style. Please include a fifty-word abstract and five to seven keywords to facilitate Web researchers. Send three hard copies (with self-addressed, stamped envelope if return is desired) no later than 1 November 2006. John C. Tibbetts, Department of Theatre and Film, University of Kansas, 356 Murphy Hall, Lawrence, KS 66045; e-mail: tibbets@ku.edu; phone: 913-599-1418. ]


Call for Papers (Literature/Film Annual Conference; August 21)



3-5 November 2006


Burkshire Conference Center, Towson University, Towson, Maryland


Director: Peter Lev

Associate Directors: Jim Welsh, Nancy Mellerski

Organizing Committee: Greg Faller, Jennifer Lackey, Peter Lev

Program Committee: Greg Faller, Peter Lev, Rebecca Pauly, Richard Vela.


Call for Papers: Papers are invited from all areas of literature/film studies, including adaptations and remakes, literature/film theory, history and film, genre topics, social issues (including race, class, and gender studies), auteur studies, and individual film analyses.


This year’s area of special interest is transnational adaptation, e.g., literature, drama and film from one country that is adapted in another country (and often in another language). Or, a filmmaker working apart from his home country, language and/or culture, e.g., Ang Lee making Brokeback Mountain in Alberta and Wyoming.


Proposals should be 200-400 words. Submit proposals via email (preferred means of transmission) to Peter Lev (plev@towson.edu) with a copy to Greg Faller (faller@towson.edu). Please verify that your email has arrived.


If you would rather send a proposal via US mail, use this address: Peter Lev, Electronic Media and Film, Towson University, 8000 York Rd., Towson, MD, 21252-0001.


Deadline for proposals: 21 August 2006; notification of acceptance by 9 September.


Registration: Early registration is $120 for faculty, $90 for graduate students; must be postmarked by 10 October 2006. Please make check payable to Towson University. Late registration (after October 10, or at the door) add $10. Registration includes buffet lunch at the Burkshire on Friday, November 3 and Saturday, November 4.


Literature/Film Association Dues: $10; Please make separate check payable to Literature/Film Association.


For Information:  Contact Peter Lev, (410) 704-3189, Email: plev@towson.edu


Conference Hotel: Burkshire Guest Suites and Conference Center, 10 West Burke Avenue, Towson, MD, 21204. Reservations 800-435-5986 or 410-324-8101; general number 410-324-8100.


The Burkshire Guest Suites and Conference Center is a joint venture between Towson University and Marriott Conference Centers. All 103 suites offer full kitchen, living room and dining room areas, bedroom and balcony. Conference rooms and services are downstairs, along with a 140 seat dining room. Towson University is across the street, and the restaurants and shops of downtown Towson are two blocks away.


Hotel Reservations: Book your rooms directly with the Burkshire Guest Suites and Conference Center, 800-435-5986. Ask for the Literature/Film Conference Rate: $99 for one person (single suite)/per night; $119 for two people (double suite)/per night. To protect your room, reserve by October 1. After this date, remaining rooms will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, and the Conference rate is not guaranteed.





Film and History Conference: 

"The Documentary Tradition"

Click here to download the pdf for this conference:  Documentary Tradition pdf

Or visit the website directly at http://www.filmandhistory.org

Calls for Papers, News, and Events 2005

Spectacular Utah, Spectacular Shakespeare!

How about a Conference in Paradise, Pilgrim?

 By Jim Welsh, Literature/Film Quarterly Founder (Salisbury University emeritus)

It’s a continuing spectacle, that’s what.  On the way to the Utah Shakespearean Festival and the Wooden O Symposium one first arrives at Las Vegas, a man-made paradise fabricated of glitz and glitter for the entertainment of addicted morons.  It’s a potentially evil place, replete with Satanic seductions, a place where the Seven Deadlies might (and probably do) thrive.  My wife and I wanted to get out of town fast, before Mephistopheles materialized.  We would later see Mephistopheles, however, accompanied by lesser green goblins and Lucifer himself—Egad!—in the thrust study of Dr. Faustus, protected all the while by that metaphorical Fourth Wall.  But I’m getting way ahead of myself…

From Mafia Babylon to Biblical Icons

            Driving northeast out of Sin City, one will be treated to a different kind of spectacle, natural, not man-made.  For an hour or so, it’s all dusty mesquite, but then one crosses the northwest corner of Arizona, which is utterly gorgeous!  Thence unto the bosom of Abraham and the safety of Zion National Park, almost too beautiful to be believed, as the pilgrimage continues.  On our metaphorical journey to Southern Utah University, which is home to a major annual Shakespeare Festival, we stayed a few days in this Biblical Paradise (rather than the Fool’s Paradise of Las Vegas) before taking a northeastern loop through God’s Country to witness (Biblical diction still works best here) Cedar Breaks National Monument, which is only a dozen miles or so up the mountain (at 10,300 feet) from Cedar City, Utah, our final destination.

            There we would find a different kind of spectacle and magic.  Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus (as directed, adapted, and imagined by Howard Jensen) has a pretty thin plot, after all, despite the ornamentation of Marlowe’s “mighty line,” but the Utah Festival dressed it up properly with elaborate costumes and marvelous special effects, smoke, fire, and mirrors, made further effective by a tempest conveniently conjured up during the evening open-air performance.  It was as if Prospero might have been in the wings, pulling strings and things.

So, What Did We Expect?  Not a Tony in the Wilderness!

            I went to Cedar City thinking, oh, yeah, I’ll hear a play or two besides participating in the 5th Annual Wooden O Symposium and I’ll see how well they know Shakespeare.  However, as Master William Baldwin hath written (in Beware the Cat, published in London “at the signe of the Faulcon by Wylliam Gryffith” in 1570), “A wise man may in some things change his opinions.”  And did I ever.  Once there, I was truly surprised, and I wanted more, more, more!  How good is the Utah Shakespearean Festival?  Good enough to win the 2000 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre!  And the 2005 season demonstrated why that Tony was so well deserved.

            We saw, for example, Romeo and Juliet (directed by Kate Buckley) and Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus (a play I never expected to see in production) in the Adams Theatre, roughly modeled after Shakespeare’s Globe, an open-air theatre with seats for the “groundlings” surrounding the thrust stage, but with all the tricks and traps of Shakespeare’s Globe, and the capacity to move the action to an indoor stage in the event of inclement weather midway through the production.  Romeo and Juliet was also performed in this theatrical space, a fine production with an enchanting Juliet (Tiffany Scott; Paul Hurley played Romeo) that, following the Folio text, dispensed with the stately Prologue and gave us a more humane Lady Capulet (Melinda Pfundstein) than Franco Zeffirelli might have ever imagined.  This production was an excellent demonstration of Shakespeare’s manipulation of chronological logic and the audience’s awareness and perception of time, as discussed by Simon Ryle, visiting the Wooden O Symposium from the University of Split in Croatia.  Ironically, Simon himself ran out of time in shaping his thesis, but the production clearly showed that Simon was on to something potentially new and interesting, even though one of his major sources was as old at St. Augustine.  Because, you see, it’s OK to be a traditionalist at the Wooden O.

            Shakespeare is performed in two theatres in Cedar City, one outdoor, and one indoor.  Across the street from the Adams Theatre in the newer of the two theatres, this one named for Randall Jones, one could see A Midsummer Night’s Dream (remarkably staged!  Fairies in the funhouse!  Director Kathleen Conlin did it with a distorting mirror!); or Camelot (director Brad Carroll did that one with a hidden live orchestra, and a right villainous bastard to complicate the plot); or an Irish surprise, Stones in His Pockets, by Marie Jones, directed by J.R. Sullivan, a two-hander with two gifted and versatile actors, David Ivers and Brian Vaughn, playing no fewer then 15 roles, a theatrical tour-de-force that was as well done in Utah as it had been done when I saw it—twice!—in London in January of 2004.  (The two actors, in their main roles, play extras, along with one claiming to be the oldest surviving extra from The Quiet Man, for a movie that is being shot down towards the Dingle peninsula.)  Actor Brian Vaughn also played King Arthur in Lerner and Loewe’s Camelot, which was based upon and adapted from T.H. White’s The Once and Future King.  Christine Williams was enchanting as Guenevere, and in excellent voice in the lusty (if not merry) month of May (though August was indeed upon us). 

So What About Next Year?

            What will be playing in Cedar City in 2006?  Hamlet leads (as Hamlet bleeds, June 22 to September 2), accompanied by Antony and Cleopatra and The Merry Wives of Windsor in the Adams Theatre.  Across the street what delights may await?  H.M.S. Pinafore for Gilbert and Sullivan fans, On Golden Pond for Ernest Thompson fans, and Room Service (by John Murray and Allen Boretz) for those who may remember the Marx Bros.  The actors are at hand, ready to be cast and fitted for costumes such as you’ll rarely see.  (The technical support in Cedar City is awesome!)  I would hope that friends active in the Literature/Film Association will want to participate in a Theatre/Film Symposium that might be linked to the Festival’s 6th Wooden O Symposium next year.  We’ll hope to have plans sorted out by October.  You may never have a chance to attend an academic conference linked to such quality theatre.

Hence, a Tentative “Call for Papers”

            I might remind new members that the Literature/Film Association has so far held four conferences west of the Mississippi—first on the campus of Arizona State, then in Ashland, Oregon, then in Iola, Kansas (linked with the Buster Keaton Festival), and finally in Dallas/Ft Worth (with the Film and History League in 2004); but we’ve never been linked to a major Shakespeare Festival before, to say nothing of that infernal nonsense, Pinafore; and, depend on it, this could be the start of something big.  Meanwhile, check the following website:  www.bard.org  The Wooden O “Call for Papers” for the 2006 Symposium, to be held early August, has already been issued, with an April 1, 2006, deadline.  Abstracts (250 word minimum) should be sent to woodeno@suu.edu and copied to jxwelsh@salisbury.edu with a clearly designated LFA link noted.  Focus on problems of Shakespeare to film (and Hamlet in particular), or theatre to film adaptation (On Golden Pond in particular).  What an excellent opportunity may await, supposing that bureaucratic details might be cleared.  We hope to have more details at the 2005 Dickinson College LFA Conference.  Stay tuned.

Jim Welsh is the co-founding editor of Literature/Film Quarterly, now in its 33rd year of publication, and the founder of the Literature/Film Association, which has been conferring annually for the past 16 years.  He is also co-author of Shakespeare Into Film (Checkmark Books, 2002), The Encyclopedia of Stage Plays Into Film (Facts On File, 2001), and The Encyclopedia of Novels Into Film, 2nd Edn. Rev. (Facts On File, 2005).

Literature/Film Editors Revise Encyclopedia of Novels Into Film

(Salisbury, MD)  Professor Darrell G. Hagar of the Salisbury University English Department, an eighteenth-century specialist in literature and rhetoric, has read all of the 20 nautical novels of Patrick O’Brian; so when his colleague Jim Welsh needed a specialist to write an entry evaluating director Peter Weir’s adaptation Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World for the 2nd Revised Edition of The Encyclopedia of Novels Into Film, just published by Facts On File, New York, he knew exactly whom to ask. Hagar considered the film a “sensory delight,” even though the film, he thought, missed some of the depth and complexity of Captain Jack Aubrey as portrayed by actor Russell Crowe.

The Encyclopedia, originally published in 1998, was edited by Jim Welsh and John C. Tibbetts of the University of Kansas. The new “revised” edition includes a “Foreword” written by Robert Wise, past president of the Motion Picture Academy and director of several popular films, including The Sound of Music, West Side Story, and Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The book includes entries for many adaptations released since 1998, as well as some titles overlooked by the first edition, such as Winston Groom’s novel Forrest Gump, published in 1986, and later adapted to film by Robert Zemeckis, Eric Roth, and the uncredited Barry Sonnenfeld, who was originally supposed to direct the picture, which became a sentimental blockbuster hit starring Tom Hanks.

Many of the entries (including Gump) were written by emeritus Salisbury professors, Jim Welsh and  Tom Erskine, who jointly founded the academic journal Literature/Film Quarterly at Salisbury in 1973 and then went on to develop a film major within the English Department at Salisbury University. Welsh and Erskine wrote or co-wrote entries for dozens of adaptations, including The Bourne Identity (2002), Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001), Cider House Rules (1999), Cold Mountain (2003), The Manchurian Candidate (2004), Mystic River (2003), Red Dragon (2002), The Shipping News (2001), The Tailor of Panama (2001), and Whale Rider (2002). But by far the single longest entry, running to over 6,000 words, was written by co-editor John Tibbetts covering The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Several other entries were written by members of the extended editorial board of Literature/Film Quarterly, such as Peter Lev of Towson University, Tom Leitch of The University of Delaware, and David Kranz of Dickinson College, where the next Literature/Film conference is scheduled for October of 2005.

Sweetness & Light, History, Literature & Film, War & Conflict near Dallas

By Jim Welsh, Founding Editor LFQ

Before going to the joint conferences of the Literature/Film Association and the Film and History League, my wife and I had been spoiled by a week north of Venice in Pordenone in a 4-star hotel while attending the Cinema Muto silent film festival of 2004. The American Airlines Dolce Conference Center near the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport fell a bit short of that elegance.  Our room was comfortable, but cramped.  “I feel like we’re in a foreign country,” my wife said upon first seeing the room, “a bad one!”   But after a week it didn’t seem so bad.  Though the closets were absurd, the bed was comfortable and the plumbing worked really well, even though the hot water seemed to be turned off about noon.  How Eastern European!

“Raw Turkey” Leads the Way…

Isolation was the watchword, even though the conference center was reasonably close to a railway station that could transport conferees either to Dallas or to Fort Worth.  Problem was, one had to get over the Interstate to get to the station.  This didn’t stop our British friend Laurence Raw, who currently is teaching in Turkey.  Laurence certainly had the most distinctive name tag of the conference.  It read: “RAW, TURKEY.”  Laurence assured us that getting over the Interstate was no worse than negotiating traffic in Istanbul.  “Raw, Turkey” not only got to shopping centers in Dallas but also to a Rodeo and even to a production of an Oscar Wilde play, something I had not thought to look for in that part of Texas.  But for people less adventuresome than Laurence, who worked for the British Council all through the Balkans before settling in Turkey, the Dolce location probably helped to capture audiences for the conference proceedings.

Sic transit [guts &] gloria mundi…

Plenary speakers invited to the conference included Larry Suid, celebrating the latest oversized incarnation of his UP Kentucky book, Guts and Glory, as he had also done at the national PCA conference held in San Antonio last spring.  The plenary speaker invited by the Literature/Film Association was Frank Thompson, author of no fewer than five books on the Alamo, including Alamo Movies, the Newmarket Press movie tie-in book for John Lee Hancock’s film The Alamo, released in April of 2004, and the novelization of the screenplay (in English, German, or Polish, take your pick).  Frank’s theme was historical accuracy in “remembering the Alamo” (or exploiting it) and part of his presentation involved a montage of clips from all of the Alamo movies representing the massacre.  Although Frank once worked for the outrageous “reality” TV show “Blind Date,” he brought no thought bubbles, though he did give a thoughtful, entertaining insider’s glimpse into The Alamo.

The plenary headliner for the Film and History League, however, was Adrian Cronauer, who totally explained to us why he was not Robin Williams, who once played a character named “Adrian Cronauer” in the Barry Levinson film, Good Morning, Vietnam! (1987).  Turns out the “real” Adrian Cronauer shares a vision of Viet Nam with conference organizer Peter C. Rollins.  Both of them served in Southeast Asia in 1965-1966.  Salisbury University Professor Donald M. Whaley provided a rather different perspective on the attitude of veterans towards Viet Nam in his paper “Lifers, Juicers, White Morons, and Heads: Oliver Stone, Vietnam Veterans, Film Historians, and the Contest over the Meaning of Vietnam.”  For Don Whaley, veterans who served after 1968 fought a very different war than those who had served earlier on.  He was careful to stipulate, however, that the experience of the earlier troops was in no way nullified by the alienated short-timers who found themselves in Viet Nam during the 1970s. 

Post-Election “Blues”

The conference ended with a huge, ungovernable panel that was organized to “debate” the meaning or the importance or the political impact of Michael Moore’s groundbreaking, record-breaking “documentary,”  Fahrenheit 9/11.  Turns out not everyone in the “Flagship” Auditorium liked Moore’s film, but the “debate” turned out to be something of an albatross that never really took off, really, though some of us tried to flap our wings and talk like Fibber McGee.  Perhaps this was a result of post-election depression for die-hard Blue-depressed Democrats, strangers in a strange Red land.  Adrian Cronauer buttonholed me afterwards, wanting to know why colleges are teaching youngsters how to think.  Good open-ended question, that.  Maybe television in general or the Fox News Network in particular has had a psychologically subversive effect that has ultimately impeded natural thought processes?  Maybe timid educators are afraid to ask hard, alienating, probing questions?  Maybe Bill O’Reilly and Chris Matthews and other cathode bloviators have permanently damaged thoughtful discourse, and not only on television?   Maybe even historians have forgot how to think?  Maybe Morris Berman got it right in his book The Twilight of American Culture (W.W. Norton, 2000), which suggested that religious superstition is replacing rationalism and that we are slowly drifting into a new “Dark Age”?   When Adrian put this question to me, I was standing in the Men’s Room at a urinal, and all I could think to say was, “Gee, I dunno; I guess I’m just pissing around here.”  Let’s say there was not an entirely successful meeting of minds here (or there).  I wish I had followed my original instinct and proposed a paper keyed to Saving Pvt. Ryan following the interpretation of Curtis White in his book The Middle Mind (HarperSanFrancisco, 2003), which bears the subtitle: “Why Americans Don’t Think for Themselves.”  The point I’m trying to make here is that maybe Adrian was on to something.

In a way this was a breakthrough conference for the Film and History League because David Culbert and other IAMHIST members opted to participate this time around.  IAMHIST (The Internationl Association for Media and History) is a long-established organization of historians, archivists, filmmakers, and television producers that meets every other year, most frequently in Europe.  Their meetings I have attended figure among the best conferences I have ever experienced.  David Culbert, who edits the IAMHIST journal, The Historical Journal of Radio, Television, and Film and Roger Smither, Keeper of the Imperial War Museum Film and Photograph Archives in London, were in the forefront of the IAMHIST delegation in Dallas.

LFA papers were limited to 20-minute presentations so as to allow time for discussion; Film and History papers were given 30 minutes.  In general, time limits were observed.  The conference was frustrating, however, because we too often had to choose between parallel sections including friends we only get to see once a year.  “Raw, Turkey” was not so happy, for example, that I somehow missed his paper discussing “Turkish and British Views of T.E. Lawrence on Screen,” but my friend and fellow amanuensis John Tibbetts was there to witness and write up the session.  I might add that Laurence Raw has become a regular at out Lit/Film conferences and that I have recommended that he be appointed our European delegate for the Literature/Film Association.    But such oversights were unavoidable, not at all intentional.  I will say, however, that almost all of the papers I heard were well structured and seemed to make sense and were also well presented, by and large.  Rumor had it that something like 400 people had registered for the conference. Perhaps a special citation should go out to Susan Rollins for her amazing efforts to organize this ambitious conference.  On the Lit/Film side, David Kranz of Dickinson College in Pennsylvania was particularly effective as well.  In other words, the conference was well organized and well administered.  We were fated to be sated with what the youngsters call “discourse.”

Soup, Soup, Beautiful Soups!

Of course we were also fated to be feted.  The banquet food at the conference center was also quite good, especially the nicely prepared soups, the tortilla soup, the creamed sweet potato soup, and the salmon bisque. We were reminded of the lyrics from Carousel at the conference:  “The vittles we et, wuz good, you bet, and we all had a wonderful time!”  As Jackie Gleason might have said of the Dolce Conference Destination, “How sweet it was!”

Next year the Literature/Film Association will meet at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and the Film and History League will hibernate, freeing up members to attend The XXI Conference of the International Association for Media and History in Cincinnati, Ohio, 20-24 July 2005, sponsored by the University of Cincinnati and The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives and the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion..  Send abstracts to Dr. Frederic Krome by 15 January 2005 (fkrome@huc.edu) ; the topic will be “Projections of Race and Ethnicity.” It’s another conference to look forward to.