Tom Hendry | The Evolution of the 21st. Century Adaptation Industry–from the Perspective of the Works of Cormac McCarthy

For many years after George Bluestone* a ‘fidelity’ paradigm held sway for the ‘translation’ of text into film. While many scholars persisted in assigning a clear inferiority to the film, a number have, in the early 21stcentury, broken new ground by addressing perceived ‘blind-spots’ in adaptation scholarship. The ‘Adaptation Industry’ is increasingly seen as sociological, global and intercultural. This research examines both the ‘cultural’ and the ‘symbolic’ economy of adaptation and assesses the impact of these innovative approaches to adaptation. The central case studies are based on the adapted works of Cormac McCarthy, which include novels, screenplays and stage plays. Until the release of No Country for Old Men in 2007, the adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novels had always been somewhat problematic. The critical and commercial success of this and The Road in 2009 suggest that this was no longer the case. The thesis includes case studies of the original works and adaptations to contextualise and contrast their critical and commercial reception. The release of a film version of Child of God, based on an early, little known, but controversial, novel, in 2013, as well as the film of The Counselor with an original screenplay by McCarthy, are timely additions. This thesis will be an up-to-date and original study of the works and filmic adaptations of one of the iconic American writers of the last fifty years in the context of the evolving adaptation industry in an overwhelmingly digital era. * George Blackstone, Novels into Film: The Metamorphosis of Fiction into Cinema (Baltimore, John Hopkins UP, 1957)

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Tom’s research and academic background spans the study of history, literature and film studies. His first degree in History, at Cambridge, included the study of American ‘frontier’, while his Masters, with the Open University, concluded with the dissertation, ‘A Comparative Study of the Intertextuality of Films and Literature with Reference to the Filmic Adaptations by Ken Russell of D.H. Lawrence’s Major Novels’.