The Hypothetical Stratagems of Borges and Bertolucci

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David Herman developed the notion of hypothetical focalization for the purposes of analysis of literary narratives, but it can be illuminatingly adapted also to the study of film. The conceptual adjustments this entails can be rewardingly explored through the study of cinematic adaptations of literary works in which hypothetical aspects loom large. Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Spider’s Stratagem, a cinematic rendering of Jorge Luis Borges’ Theme of the Traitor and the Hero, is a particularly intriguing example of such intermedial adaptation. By means of a subtle and highly intertextual filmic style, suggestive change of historical setting and partial transformation of the story material, Bertolucci has transposed the extraordinary mode of the original text into his own medium and created a story with its own highly unique quality of hypothetical narration.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntermedial Arts : Disrupting, Remembering and Transforming Media
EditorsLeena Eilittä
Number of pages11
Place of PublicationNewcastele upon Tyne
Publication date2012
ISBN (Print)1-4438-3285-5
Publication statusPublished - 2012
MoE publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings

Fields of Science

  • 6131 Theatre, dance, music, other performing arts
  • hypothetical focalisation, adaptation, Réne Magritte, Bernardo Bertolucci, Jorge Luis Borges

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