How Charles Dickens Created Cinema (And Vice Versa)


Monday, March 27 – 1:30pm – Campus Center 307

Dennis Bingham and Carrie Sickmann Han
Dickens is, after Shakespeare and the Scripture writers, the author whose works have been most often adapted to the movies. There is probably no better entry to the world of Dickens on film than A Christmas Carol, a story everyone knows, perhaps even without having read the 1843 novella. Though it may be downright cruel to tease you with the promise of Christmas in late March, we invite you to join us on this journey through cinematic adaptations of Dickens as we explore the ways in which even the most modern technologies can be haunted by the spirit one of the most fundamental literary forms: the Victorian novel. Along the way we will tackle the age-old, nagging question—“Is the book REALLY better than (or different from) the movie?”—by showing how Dickens and his adapters complicate issues of genre, technology, and national cinema. Though he is often touted as the father of the modern novel, Dickens also deserves acclaim as the grandfather of modern cinema, and we will show you how the Christmas story that you know and love both produces and is produced by the world of film.

Dennis Bingham
has been in IUPUI’s Department of English as Director of Film Studies for 25 years. He has lost count of how many different Film courses he has taught, but he often teaches Film Criticism, Film Theory and Aesthetics, decades in American Film History, French Cinema, various directors, such as Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, and the Coen Bros. He is known internationally for his publications on film biography (biopics), acting, stardom, and masculinity.

Carrie Sickmann Han is in her second year as a Visiting Assistant Professor at IUPUI where she teaches 19th-century British literature, children’s literature, and literature for adolescents. Her research and publications focus on adaptations and continuations of Victorian novels. Unlike Dennis’s work, this research has not (yet) brought her international acclaim, but her friends are pretty sure she is the world’s biggest Charles Dickens fan.

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