Article published in:Semblance and Signification
Edited by Pascal Michelucci, Olga Fischer and Christina Ljungberg
[Iconicity in Language and Literature 10] 2011
► pp. 405–422
John Irving’s A Widow for One Year and Tod Williams’ The Door in the Floor as ‘(mult-)i-conic’ works of art
This article explores the various layers of iconicity in John Irving’s novel A Widow for One Year, which abounds in iconic images, diagrams and metaphors, and Todd Williams’ movie adaptation, The Door in the Floor. Intra-medial and intermedial forms of iconicity are brought into focus, as they weave the complex web of cross-, self- and meta-references out of which the novel’s semantic density emerges, building up the illusion of an enhanced ‘visuality’. The media transfer of the novel to film is also examined: to what extent has the novel’s predominant feature, its ‘(mult-)i-conicity’, been transferred to Williams’ movie? Beyond aesthetic questions, medial idiosyncrasies have required structural and material changes and Williams had to abandon some iconic signs, modify others, or establish new forms of iconicity, i.e. audio-visual ones. Despite the differences, the movie’s web of semantic and structural correspondences has become as dense as the one in Irving’s text.
Published online: 23 November 2011