n English in Africa - Godard in the Karoo : J. M. Coetzee's screenplay adaptation of

Volume 41, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0376-8902



In an important early study of the relationship between literature and film, Keith Cohen argues persuasively that the emergence of European modernist fiction in the early twentieth century does not stem solely from a disenchantment with the tired realism of the nineteenth-century bourgeois novel. It also drew on the stylistic inventiveness of an entirely new art form: cinema. A "rapidly developing cinematic language" in the early silent film era (Eisenstein, Buñuel, Griffith) fed a similar inventiveness in the novel, catalysing a "dynamic handling of space and time, the radical shifting of point of view, and the reconstituted patterning (montage) of fragmented narration" (Cohen108). Cohen's argument involves a close reading of key works by Proust, Joyce, Woolf and Stein, showing how these texts drew from the innovative representational techniques of the new medium of film. Literature and film fed off each other to create the aesthetic revolution that constituted the cultural modernity of the early twentieth century.

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