Novel to Novel to Film: From Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway to Michael Cunningham’s and Daldry-Hare’s The Hours

UNCA Author/Contributor (non-UNCA co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jacob Rogers (Creator)
University of North Carolina Asheville (UNCA )
Web Site:
Lorena Russell

Abstract: Adaptation is a fundamental part of storytelling, yet oftentimes adaptations of pre-existing works are devalued precisely for their presumed unoriginality; if a work borrows material from a pre-existing one, it is assumed to be automatically less valuable or worse than the original. The prevailing attitude towards adaptations seems incapable of viewing them as artistic creations unto their own, often judging based on faithfulness to content rather than artistic quality. An interesting case of adaptation to study is that of Stephen Daldry and David Hare’s film adaptation of Michael Cunningham’s novel, The Hours. Published in 1998, Cunningham’s novel is an adaptation of sorts, a re-writing of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. In this paper the author posits that contrary to all claims against film as a flawed adaptive medium for literature, Daldry-Hare’s The Hours proves more faithful to Woolf’s text in terms of its treatment of, and interaction with, certain formal aspects of Woolf’s modernist project of accurately representing concepts of time, space, and the human lived experience. To this effect, the paper analyzes both the novel and the film in relation to Mrs. Dalloway and show that the film version of The Hours converses and interacts better with Woolf’s text than Cunningham’s novelistic version does.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Mrs. Dalloway, The Hours, adaptation

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