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Hunt the author: Zola, Vadim and La Curée

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In spite of their differences, Émile Zola's 1872 novel La Curée and Roger Vadim's 1965 cinematic adaptation, La Curée/The Game is Over, are linked by images of hunting. This article asks: What is the quarry being chased in both works? It comes to the conclusion that it is authorship itself. Vadim has been criticized for his alterations to Zola's ‘original’ text. However, it is clear upon inspection that it is precisely such a notion of an ‘original’ text or a founding moment of authorship that Zola undermines in his novel. On an intratextual level, Zola dramatizes the lack of authorship of his characters. He extends this dramatization to incorporate his own authorship, demonstrating that far from constituting a moment of original textual presence, his novel is rather a palimpsest, an adaptation of earlier adaptations. By incorporating the images of ever earlier sources, Vadim and Zola enter into a dialogue on the nature of authorship itself, demonstrating that the author may be hunted, but s/he will never truly be caught.

Keywords: La Curée; The Game is Over; Vadim; Zola; adaptation; authorship

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/seci.2.1.7/1

Affiliations: University of Wales, Bangor.

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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  • Studies in European Cinema provides an outlet for research into any aspect of European cinema and is unique in its interdisciplinary nature, celebrating the rich and diverse cultural heritage across the continent. The journal is distinctive in bringing together a range of European cinemas in one volume and in its positioning of the discussions within a range of contexts - the cultural, historical, textual, and many others.
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