Article Title

The American Reception of Tourneur’s Volpone in the 1940s


Research on Comparative Literature is paying increasing attention to the processes of text circulation and reception, and, more specifically, to the economics involved in theinternational transfer of texts. In what follows, close attention is paid to the American reception of Tourneur's French screen version of Volpone in the late 1940s. The best film adaptation of Jonson's satiric comedy, released in Paris in 1941, reached the United States in 1947, at a time of social, ideological and economic change. A detailed analysis of the film's paratext, which includes press reviews, interviews and a sophisticated advertising campaign throughout the United States between 1947 and 1949, has yielded valuable information on the changing nature of the targeted audience. The analysis of the socio-political and economic context has cast light on the positive reception of Tourneur's Volpone, an icon of French refinement that perfectly met the demands of American audiences for cultural capital in the prosperous aftermath of World War II.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.