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postgraduate thesis: Word into image : cinematic elements in Caryl Phillips's fiction

TitleWord into image : cinematic elements in Caryl Phillips's fiction
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Heim, O
Issue Date2013
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Su, P. [苏娉]. (2013). Word into image : cinematic elements in Caryl Phillips's fiction. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5185926
AbstractCaryl Phillips, best known as a novelist, is a versatile writer who has also written for theater, radio, television and film. His experience in writing screenplays has made a considerable impact on the texture, style, technique and structure of his novels, which display either explicitly or implicitly many visual and formal features that resemble the narrative strategies of cinema. This study explores the many ways in which the cinematic art has influenced Phillips’s writing, focusing specifically on his four major novels: The Final Passage, The Nature of Blood, Dancing in the Dark, and In the Falling Snow. The chapters of this dissertation demonstrate that Phillips’s sustained interest and work in the area of cinema have profoundly shaped his novelistic craft, which is visibly manifested in the form, style and even themes of his fiction. He has used techniques analogous to film substantially in his novels for the purpose of formal experimentation, demonstrating a filmic sensibility that contributes considerably to his uniqueness in theme, characterization and form, enriches the meaning of his texts, and enhances his writing in a great many ways. Thus a reading of his novels in relation to the language and grammar of cinema will lead to a deeper understanding of his fictional art. This thesis uses cinema as an analytical framework to demonstrate the filmic quality of Phillips’s fiction. Chapter One discusses the dynamic exchanges, interactions, and cross-influences between the novel and film, thus establishing a theoretical context for a cinematic reading of Phillips’s major novels. Chapter Two investigates Phillips’s visual imagination by analyzing how literary equivalents of various camera shots such as long shots, medium shots, close-ups, pan shots, dolly shots, tilt shots, and freeze frames are produced by his use of language. It shows that Phillips visualizes his scenes as if through a camera lens, with medium shots, as a mode of characterization, predominating in his novels and sequences of shots displaying a recurring rhythm created by a continuous switching between the long, medium and short camera-to-object distances. Chapter Three, focusing on the editing processes, examines Phillips’s adaptive use of the different types of montages: quick sequences of brief shots, metaphorical montages, repetitive montages, jump cuts, parallel montages and flashback montages. This chapter demonstrates that the construction of literary montages in Phillip’s works has contributed to the author’s visual, rhythmic and concise language style and the predominance of different montage types in the four novels results in their distinct structural features. Chapter Four studies Phillips’s use of the cinematic devices of lighting, color and sound to illustrate that the three elements are a significant and expressive part of the author’s themes and narrative techniques. The reading of Phillips’s novels in the light of cinematic aesthetics will uncover some of the unexplored aspects of his fictional style, draw attention to those formal patterns that are associated with his literary translation of filmic devices, place him in the tradition of literary modernism, and ensure a fuller appreciation of his artistic achievement.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectFiction - History and criticism
Dept/ProgramEnglish
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/197091

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorHeim, O-
dc.contributor.authorSu, Ping-
dc.contributor.author苏娉-
dc.date.accessioned2014-05-07T23:15:26Z-
dc.date.available2014-05-07T23:15:26Z-
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.identifier.citationSu, P. [苏娉]. (2013). Word into image : cinematic elements in Caryl Phillips's fiction. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5185926-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/197091-
dc.description.abstractCaryl Phillips, best known as a novelist, is a versatile writer who has also written for theater, radio, television and film. His experience in writing screenplays has made a considerable impact on the texture, style, technique and structure of his novels, which display either explicitly or implicitly many visual and formal features that resemble the narrative strategies of cinema. This study explores the many ways in which the cinematic art has influenced Phillips’s writing, focusing specifically on his four major novels: The Final Passage, The Nature of Blood, Dancing in the Dark, and In the Falling Snow. The chapters of this dissertation demonstrate that Phillips’s sustained interest and work in the area of cinema have profoundly shaped his novelistic craft, which is visibly manifested in the form, style and even themes of his fiction. He has used techniques analogous to film substantially in his novels for the purpose of formal experimentation, demonstrating a filmic sensibility that contributes considerably to his uniqueness in theme, characterization and form, enriches the meaning of his texts, and enhances his writing in a great many ways. Thus a reading of his novels in relation to the language and grammar of cinema will lead to a deeper understanding of his fictional art. This thesis uses cinema as an analytical framework to demonstrate the filmic quality of Phillips’s fiction. Chapter One discusses the dynamic exchanges, interactions, and cross-influences between the novel and film, thus establishing a theoretical context for a cinematic reading of Phillips’s major novels. Chapter Two investigates Phillips’s visual imagination by analyzing how literary equivalents of various camera shots such as long shots, medium shots, close-ups, pan shots, dolly shots, tilt shots, and freeze frames are produced by his use of language. It shows that Phillips visualizes his scenes as if through a camera lens, with medium shots, as a mode of characterization, predominating in his novels and sequences of shots displaying a recurring rhythm created by a continuous switching between the long, medium and short camera-to-object distances. Chapter Three, focusing on the editing processes, examines Phillips’s adaptive use of the different types of montages: quick sequences of brief shots, metaphorical montages, repetitive montages, jump cuts, parallel montages and flashback montages. This chapter demonstrates that the construction of literary montages in Phillip’s works has contributed to the author’s visual, rhythmic and concise language style and the predominance of different montage types in the four novels results in their distinct structural features. Chapter Four studies Phillips’s use of the cinematic devices of lighting, color and sound to illustrate that the three elements are a significant and expressive part of the author’s themes and narrative techniques. The reading of Phillips’s novels in the light of cinematic aesthetics will uncover some of the unexplored aspects of his fictional style, draw attention to those formal patterns that are associated with his literary translation of filmic devices, place him in the tradition of literary modernism, and ensure a fuller appreciation of his artistic achievement.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.subject.lcshFiction - History and criticism-
dc.titleWord into image : cinematic elements in Caryl Phillips's fiction-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5185926-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineEnglish-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5185926-

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