Laurence Besnard-Scott

My research focuses on the cinematic representations of classical myths, in order to ascertain whether reverse ekphrasis provides the opportunity to think more productively about the problematic notion of film adaptation as translation. The title of my thesis being “Translation Beyond Words: Film Adaptations of Classical Myths as Reverse Ekphrasis”, my re-conceptualisation of ekphrasis aims to bring a more rigorous theoretical framework to film adaptation.

Ekphrasis being the poetical description of a visual artefact, my thesis aims to demonstrate that what I have termed “reverse ekphrasis”, or translation of words into images, can be identified as a discursive modality in film adaptation. My case studies reflect the origins of ekphrasis – its original sense and rhetorical function – and consist of film adaptations of classical myths which I have divided into two groups: the realist depictions on one hand, and the spectacular ones on the other. The division is not arbitrary and reflects the potentiality of reverse ekphrasis to be used as a visual rhetorical apparatus, a technical add-on the presence of which is revealed in various degrees of visibility. In that sense, I believe that translation theory advances the thinking about ekphrasis and film adaptation by allowing us to go beyond the traditional binary approach between text and image. As a source of concepts, it allows us to focus on the hermeneutic relation between the “timeless” and the contingent. Such relation can be studied in parallel with the dialogue established in cinema between the representation and the representing of it, a dialogue/relation ultimately occurring within a third space.

In addition to my research, my MA in translation, which I obtained at QUB in 2012, allows me to work as a freelance translator.

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