Journal Article

The Illusory Architext of the <i>Institute Benjamenta</i>

David Sorfa

in Adaptation

Volume 5, issue 1, pages 88-101
Published in print March 2012 | ISSN: 1755-0637
Published online March 2011 | e-ISSN: 1755-0645 | DOI:
The Illusory Architext of the Institute Benjamenta

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I present a reading of the Quay Brothers’ film Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream People Call Human Life (1995) and Robert Walser’s original novel Jakob von Gunten: EinTagebuch (1909), which not only compares the two works but also attempts to use both texts to open up a reading of what Gerard Genette would call the architext of both novel and film, an illusory narrative that can be seen to inform both the original and its adaptation. I argue that Institute Benjamenta takes as its central theme the possibility of the existence of an ‘authentic inner chamber’ that does not exist. This impossible place is the space of the possibility of adaptation.

Keywords: Quay Brothers; Institute Benjamenta; Robert Walser; architext; adaptation theory

Journal Article.  6836 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film ; Television ; Literature

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