Call for Papers: The Literary Image and the Screen

This conference aims to explore the connections and relationships between literature and the screen, from the pre-cinematic age to the era of television and new digital technologies.

Location: Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, University of Genoa, Italy

Date: 5-6 September 2019

Papers: Proposals from PhD and early career researchers welcomed


This conference aims to explore the connections and relationships between literature and the screen, from the pre-cinematic age to the era of television and new digital technologies. A cross-media approach, aimed at understanding the reciprocal influences between these artistic forms, as seen from the point of view of techniques of representation, theoretical exchanges and the circulation of works, will shed new light on ideas in, and theories of, both literature and the cinema.


The dialogue between different genres of literature and film has been crucial in their respective developments from the birth of cinema to the present day. Moreover, various texts and authors in the literature of the pre-cinematic era can be analysed through film techniques and regarded as, in some ways, anticipating them.


This observation can lead us to ask somewhat quirky questions: is it possible to perceive elements in Dante’s works which can be understood in terms of film editing? How and why does Flaubert use close-ups in his novels and can film theory offer further insight into his literary techniques? Could the study of light and colour in cinema be useful in discussing Modernist poetry or Surrealist prose? Such questions could also be asked in the opposite direction and we could apply techniques and approaches from literary criticism to the analysis of film.


Focusing on more recent timeframes one could go beyond film and ask: how do digital media, 3D technologies, virtual reality or computer-generated images trigger neo- modernist definitions of space in novels since the turn of the century? To what extent do latter-day TV series reproduce and engage with earlier forms of serial, literary fiction?


We welcome, though do not restrict, proposals for papers that pertain to the following lines of enquiry:

  • literary anticipations of cinematographic techniques
  • the relationship between literature and pre-cinematic visual experimentations (for example, the diorama and the magic lantern)
  • literary      techniques     that     influence     film    narration      and,     conversely, cinematographic techniques that influence writing
  • contemporary film theories and literary techniques
  • the manner in which the forms of cinema and literature differ in the ways that they respond to societal, political and cultural change
  • theoretical exchanges between literature and film (e.g. Eisenstein, Jameson)
  • spatial and temporal approaches to the literary and cinematic
  • writers’ reflections on cinema


The official language of the conference is English.


Keynote speakers

Prof Laura Marcus, and Prof Nikolaj Lübecker from University of Oxford


This will be the opening event of a series co-organised by the University of Genoa and the University of Oxford.


Application process

Please send an abstract (max. 250 words) and a short bio (max. 50 words) in a PDF attachment to:


Proposals should include your name, university affiliation (if applicable), academic status, and the title of your paper. Papers should not exceed 20 minutes.


The deadline for abstract submissions has been extended to 30th June 2019.

Notification of acceptance will be communicated on 15th July 2019.


Other information

The Organizing Committee:

Peter Budrin, Pany Xenophontos (University of Oxford)

Daniele Franzoni, Martina Morabito, Natalia Osis (University of Genoa)


The Academic Committee:

Luisa Villa, Laura Salmon, Laura Colombino, Anna Viola Sborgi (University of Genoa)

Published June 30, 2019 3:44 PM - Last modified June 30, 2019 3:44 PM