"With Tears and a Journey": Recreating Shakespeare's Life on Screen
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DirectorRodríguez Martín, María Elena
DepartamentoUniversidad de Granada. Departamento de Filologías Inglesa y Alemana
Adaptación fílmicaFilm adaptationBiopicIntertextualidadIntertextualityShakespeare in LoveShakespeare, William, 1564-1616PelículasVersiones cinematográficas
SponsorshipUniversidad de Granada. Departamento de Filologías Inglesa y Alemana. Máster en Lingüística y Literatura Inglesas
The purpose of this paper is to study the film Shakespeare in Love (1998) from the perspective of biopics with a twofold aim. Firstly, our intention is to consider how the adaptation of a writer's life, in Leitch's words "of non-literary or non-fictional sourcetexts", can "enlarge the range of adaptation studies by revealing the parochialism of theories that restrict their examples to films based on fictional texts" (2008: 67). Thus, our aim is to explore the way this film recreates Shakespeare's life, taking into account the most recent studies about the biopic genre and the latest theories of adaptation. Secondly, with the analysis of this film we intend to contribute some ideas to Carretero González and Rodríguez Martín's view on the arguable necessity of biopics being completely "faithful to the original story" (2010: 603). Besides, if an adaptation, either fictional, non-fictional, literary or non-literary, is according to Stam an intertextual dialogue (2000: 66), the importance of analysing the notion of intertextuality in this film is already stated. The movie not only brings Shakespeare's life into the big screen from a 20th century perspective but it also fictionalises the Bard's life when mixing it with his literary works. We can also trace in the film the use of different sources which may go from Shakespeare's biographies to previous adaptations of his life and works. Moreover, it is necessary to take into account "the interpenetrative dynamics of Stoppardian intertextuality" which made Bloom apply "the ancient Roman stage trope of contaminatio to Stoppard’s plays" (Meyer 1989: 106). According to Meyer, contaminatio is a "technique" Stoppard may use "as a contextualizing and historicizing force making a play not only a comment on another play but also what Stoppard has called a commentary on something else in life" (Ibid.). From our viewpoint, the same can be applied to Stoppard's work as a screenwriter, as can be seen in his script for Shakespeare in Love.