Academic journal article Mosaic (Winnipeg)

Introduction

Academic journal article Mosaic (Winnipeg)

Introduction

Article excerpt

If the kinship of languages manifests itself in translations, this is
not accomplished through a vague alikeness between adaptation and
original. It stands to reason that kinship does not necessarily involve
likeness.--Walter Benjamin, "The Task of the Translator"

In "Historical Picturesque: Adapting Great Expectations and Sense and Sensibility," Susan Johnston provides something of a critical vocabulary, and disposition, for this issue overall. Considering two contemporary film adaptations of nineteenth-century novels, Johnston's essay brings fiction and film together--but even as it does so, the essay argues against a settlement between the two genres. What is at stake, for Johnston, in the interdisciplinary and is translation, rather than replication, where "translation," as Walter Benjamin understood it, always exceeds correspondence of one thing (one text, one time) to another. "For," as Johnston puts it, "we are not immigrants to [the] past and can never be; it may inhabit us, but we do not inhabit it, and our every effort to adopt it, whether as refuge or homeland, is doomed to wither in endless appeals to a fidelity, which is, finally, inaccessible because of its inauthenticity. …

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