Literature and Cinema

The Department of English is home to several researchers in the field of film and literature, both permanent staff and postgraduate. Due to the extraordinary cultural revolutions associated with modernism (not least the very invention and success of cinema), it is arguably impossible to study modern and postmodern literature without some working knowledge of contemporaneous film history. Variously, we are working on making these mediations clearer and sharper.

We are slowly building up a video and DVD archive, both in Fisher Library, and internal to the Department.

Next year, we are hosting the first of two conferences addressing the theme of surveillance in film and literature, which will be held at the University, and we will publish the selected proceedings of these conferences.

Penny Gay is interested in film 'adaptation' of classics, particularly of Shakespeare and Jane Austen: she is enthusiastic about free, imaginative, and wide-ranging rather than literalist attempts to translate these works to the screen. She has supervised several Honours dissertations in this field, and has taught a unit of study called 'Shakespeare in the City' which is entirely based on film versions. Her publications in this area include: 'Pictures of perfection: Filming Jane Austen', Sydney Studies in English, 23 (1997): 41-57 ;'Sisterhood is still powerful: Ang Lee's Sense and Sensibility', Jane Austen On Screen, eds Gina and Andrew Macdonald (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003); and an essay on Patricia Rozema's film Mansfield Park, 'Fanny Price: wild colonial girl' has been commissioned for a book to be published by the Centre for Studies in Romanticism, Bologna, Italy.

David Kelly's published research in this area focuses on the interplay between cinematic and literary genres, Romance and the Period picture (The Portrait of a Lady), Tragedy and its affiliation with the Western (High Noon) and the Thriller (Rope), and literary and screen Comedy (Emma and Clueless). His current research is focussing on narrative and narration in the films of David Lean, and counter-narratives in Martin Scorsese.

Kate Lilley's published research in the field includes 'Lesbian Professor', Australian Feminist Studies 11, 1996, 81-88. 'The Accused' and 'Early Modern Garbo: the Two Bodies of Queen Christina' in Feminist Temporalities, eds. E. McMahon and B Olubas, (Perth: UWA Press 2003/4). Her ongoing research interests include Hollywood psychoanalysis, poetry and film, Early Modern women on film, film and photography; and she has supervised distinguished theses in the area of literature and visual media.

As well as being a scholar, Kate is a celebrated poet; and many of her poems engage film and television. See especially Versary, (Cambridge: Salt Publishing, 2002).

'Nicky's World' (Young and the Restless plate poem)
'Lady in the Dark' (Ginger Rogers on the couch)
'Crime of Passion' (Lana Turner - Madam X)

Peter Marks researches on surveillance theory and its relationship to cinematic and literary utopias. This work focuses particularly on how surveillance in its cinematic and literary guises plays an role in the genesis and maintenance of modernity. He is co-editor (with Roger Luckhurst) of Literature and the Contemporary (1999) which surveyed theories of temporality from cultural and philosophical viewpoints.

He has published several articles on George Orwell, as well as on a range of topics including Socialist Realism, theories of the essay, Margaret Atwood, and the influence of the avant-garde literary periodical on the development of Modernism.

He is currently working on a study of the films of Terry Gilliam for Manchester University Press's British Filmmakers series.

Julian Murphet's current research is preoccupied with the relations between the moving image and literary production in America throughout the twentieth century, but especially in the 'Modernist' period. He is writing a book on this topic, provisionally entitled Cinematic Imaginations; or The Uneven Development of Representations. He is the author of Literature and Race in Los Angeles (Cambridge, 2001), which explores the fate of the written word in an urban culture dominated by Hollywood; and is the co-editor (with Lydia Rainford) of Literature and Visual Technologies (Palgrave, 2003), a roundtable on the general topic to which he contributed an Introduction and a chapter on Gertrude Stein. He has also published 'Film Noir and the Racial Unconscious' in Screen (Spring, 1998).

Simon Petch has an interest in the western, and is engaged on a research project on the western film. As well as his article, 'The Law, the Western, and Wyatt Earp' HEAT 2 (new series, 2001): 93-107; he has an essay '"Trampling out the vintage": Revenge and Resentment in High Noon' coming out in Sydney Studies in English ; and a paper on The Unforgiven is to be published by Arizona Quarterly next year.

Other staff who are included within this grouping:

Professor Elizabeth Webby

Several research students are also part of the Film and Literature research group:

John Byron
Andrea Dansie
Tim Roussos
Kieryn McKay
Gwyn Symonds
Gro Frølund
Adam Pike