Casanova's Histoire de ma vie in Twentieth Century Cinema (Adaptation, Interpretation, Reception from Volkoff to Fellini)
Title: Casanova's Histoire de ma vie in Twentieth Century Cinema (Adaptation, Interpretation, Reception from Volkoff to Fellini)
Author: GUBAREVA, Marita
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of History and Civilization
Casanova’s memoirs have inspired an incredible number of books, commentaries, and creative reinterpretations. While the reception of this text in literature has been analyzed in many studies, relatively little attention was paid to the analysis of films based on the book. The aim of this thesis is to fill in this gap. The study argues that film adaptations of a text can be regarded as part of its general reception and treated as creative reinterpretations which explore the potential meanings of the original and are anchored in a certain context that they inevitably reflect. These theoretical and methodological issues are addressed in the first part of the thesis. The second and third parts are dedicated to the analysis of the structure of Casanova's Histoire de ma Vie and its four screen adaptations (the films of Alexandre Volkoff, 1927, Luigi Comencini, 1969, Federico Fellini, 1976, and Ennio Flaiano's script of 1968), respectively. The study demonstrates how the semantic exploration of the original text in each case was influenced by various extra-textual factors: production determinants, aesthetic and genre issues, the filmmaker's tastes and background, the cultural environment, etc. It shows how the perception of Casanova changed over the 20th century and analyzes the mechanisms which determined these changes. The thesis thus advances our knowledge and understanding of the European cultural history and can be regarded as a case study which contributes to the theoretical discussion of film adaptations as a branch of reception studies.
Defence date: 9 July 2012; Examining Board: Professor Arfon E. Rees (EUI) Supervisor; Professor Martin van Gelderen (EUI); Professor Frank Burke (Queen’s University, Ontario); Professor Vito Zagarrio (Università degli Studi Roma Tre).
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