Beneath the penumbral glow: John Banville and the cinema
University College Cork
This study focuses on the cinematic aspects of John Banville’s work, aiming to answer how the overt cinematic interest in the cinema in his later work is to be understood in the context of his writing career as a whole. His writing plays on the difficulties inherent in the relationship between appearances and reality, raising questions about how words and images, accurately or otherwise, represent the world. The thesis here is that the cinema has become a significant feature and powerful symbolic image of these preoccupations in the later period of Banville’s career, resonating with his earlier work while bringing a new frame through which to look at his novels and wider career. This cinematic interest continues the Banvillian tradition of appropriating other art forms in the construction of his novels and also is a deeply resonant form considering the predominant themes of surface, appearance and inability to penetrate reality in his work. Following this thread involves the consideration of many of Banville’s novels, naturally, but also brings his scriptwriting credits for film into critical discussion of his writing, as well as the cinematically inflected work of his Benjamin Black writing persona. As such a further aim of the research is to expand the horizons of study around Banville’s writing by looking at the more esoteric and marginal in his oeuvre and how they relate to his prominent, dominant, well-known works.
John Banville , Scopophilia , Cinema , Benjamin Black , Chinatown , Adaptation , Fiction , Crime fiction , Psychoanalytic criticism , Philosophical novel , Historical fiction
Kirwan, M. 2016. Beneath the penumbral glow: John Banville and the cinema. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.