Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

I Found It at the Movies: Literature through the Camera's Eye

Prof Gayla McGlamery.

From 1990 to 1995, 4,250 films were made annually around the world, and the number continues to increase. Human beings respond to pictures. Laborers, bureaucrats, techies, bosses, soldiers, teachers— people from every way of life find in movies images that speak to them, move them. In film, the arts bond with technology, speak through technology, and through film, technology allows the arts and humanities to speak to an audience that seems to be turning from the written word. Movies, particularly film adaptations of literature, can reconnect our visually-oriented, "wired" culture with words, with stories, with the value of meditating on the human condition.
The American humorist Will Rogers once said that "There is only one thing that can kill the movies, and that is education," but I argue that education that includes the judicious use of film may be the only education capable of bringing young men and women back to literature. Forging these connections requires a carefully calibrated effort involving courses that take film adaptations and the literature that inspired them equally seriously.
My presentation will offer a case study showing how the close examination of Winterbottom's The Claim (2000), a film based loosely on Hardy's 1886 novel The Mayor of Casterbridge, increased students? interest in the particulars of Hardy's story, improved their understanding of his conception of the human condition, sensitized them to tonal shifts, and led them to greater appreciation of the work's aesthetic. I will conclude with suggestions about making such connections beyond the academy.


Prof Gayla McGlamery  (United States)
Associate Professor of English
English Department
Loyola College / Baltimore

Prof. McGlamery teaches Victorian literature and film at Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland, and writes primarily on nineteenth-century British fiction. She is past president of the Nineteenth-Century Studies Association (formerly SENCSA) and former co-director of Loyola's Honors Program and its study abroad program in Leuven, Belgium

  • Film adaptation
  • Literature into film

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)