Talk Uses Film to Examine English Novels

Cheri Larsen Hoeckely

Dr. Cheri Larsen Hoeckely

Cheri Larsen Hoeckley, professor of English at Westmont, examines how literary texts contribute to the delights of British costume dramas in a free, public lecture on Thursday, April 11, at 5:30 p.m. at University Club, 1332 Santa Barbara St. Tickets are not needed; the limited seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, please call (805) 565-6051. The talk, “From the Page to the Screen: Film Adaptations of English Literature,” is part of Westmont Downtown: Conversations about Things that Matter, which is sponsored by the Westmont Foundation.

Larsen Hoeckley will discuss the successful “Downton Abbey” and cinematic adaptations of novelists such as Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë. “Through looking at specific clips and considering some reactions to adaptations of novels, I’ll explore how films can help us see novels differently,” Larsen Hoeckley says. “Many adaptations take advantage of the shift from page to screen to highlight narrative techniques and cultural contexts that we might overlook while reading a novel, even with careful attention to plot and narrator.”

Larsen Hoeckley, who has been teaching at Westmont for 16 years, says cinematography, set design and costumes all make these period pieces enjoyable. “As a Victorianist, I often wonder about how films might be serving similar cultural functions in the 21st century that novels did in the 19th,” she says. “I look forward to thinking together with members of the community about how we might read these films in ways that make us more attuned to their original texts and to our own cultural impulses.”

Larsen Hoeckley, a graduate of UC Riverside, earned a Master of Arts at the University of Texas at Austin and a doctorate at UC Berkeley. The lecture series is sponsored by the Westmont Foundation, which hosts the annual President’s Breakfast in Santa Barbara to promote discussion and consideration of current issues among local community leaders.