Graphic Novel Adaptations of Literature: Perspectives on Fidelity and Authorship

By Kirsten Møllegaard.

Published by The International Journal of Literary Humanities

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Published online: October 2, 2015 Free Download

Although graphic novel adaptations of classic and contemporary literature are regularly dismissed (if not outright ignored) in Literary Studies as imitative and lacking merit, it is worth considering their relative literary qualities for three reasons: first, because such adaptations expand upon the meaning of the original texts both visually and textually; two, as a consequence graphic novel adaptations have distinct literary properties; and three, because graphic adaptations represent self-reflective and culturally refractive multimedia turns in postmodern literature. The graphic adaptation of a novel is obviously not the same text as the original. How do we distinguish their similarities and differences? Do graphic adaptations alter the meaning of the original text? If so, how? This essay will incorporate the concepts of fidelity and authorship to consider examples of adaptations in relation to the source texts. Fidelity examines how close the adaptation is to its source, while authorship focuses on artistic interpretation in the retelling of the prior story. The paper examines examples from graphic novel adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Pit and the Pendulum” and Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist.”

Keywords: Graphic Novel, Adaptation

The International Journal of Literary Humanities, Volume 13, Issue 4, December 2015, pp.71-79. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: October 2, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 387.337KB)).

Dr. Kirsten Møllegaard

Associate Professor, English Department, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo, Hawaii, USA