“Novelization: From Film to Novel is absolutely a joy to read. Baetens basically owns this field, and his scholarship is profound and almost overwhelming. The examples are brilliantly chosen to highlight specific aspects of the film/novelization relationship.” —David Richter, Queen’s College, City University of New York
Studies of adaptation from novels to film are common, but not as widely known are adaptations with the opposite relationship. In Novelization: From Film to Novel, Jan Baetens explores how transforming an original film or screenplay into a novel establishes a new genre and revises our understanding of narrative theory more broadly. A typical example of popular literature, novelization has remained an overlooked practice in spite of the cultural and commercial importance of the genre, which is as old as cinema itself.
Novelization offers a historical overview of the genre, focusing on the various formats that have been adopted since the first decades of the twentieth century until today: daily and weekly novelizations, cheap brochures, pocket books, and trade editions. It studies the specific features of the genre from various points of view: narrative style, illustrations, authorship, and marketing. By studying novelization from a broad historical perspective, Baetens reframes our understanding of adaptation and the relationship between cinema and literature. Rather than assume that cinematic adaptations either cannibalize or rejuvenate literature, Novelization ultimately offers the opportunity to rethink the adaptation paradigm of film and literary studies.
Jan Baetens is Professor of Cultural and Literary Studies at University of Leuven.
Introduction A Universe to Discover
Part I On the Genre of Novelization
Chapter 1 Establishing Landmarks in the Genre’s History
Chapter 2 Variations on a Definition
Chapter 3 Illustrations: A Rhetorical Tool
Part II A Sample of Case Studies
Chapter 4 Transcription of a Silent Film: The Passion and Death of Joan of Arc by Pierre Bost
Chapter 5 Jean-Claude Carrière, Tati’s Novelizer
Chapter 6 Scandalous Novels, Shocker Collection: Vian’s Seghers Saga
Chapter 7 Out of Breath: A Novelized Remake Translated Back into French
Chapter 8 Cinephilia and Screenplays
Chapter 9 Olivier Smolders and the Self-Novelization of Nuit noire
Part III The Poem-Novelization
Chapter 10 The Poem-Novelization, A Sub-Genre?
Chapter 11 Jean-Luc Godard 1, 2, Infinity . . .
Part IV From Novelization to Adaptation
Chapter 12 New Readings of the Genre