John Irving&#8217;s <i>A Widow for One Year</i> and Tod Williams&#8217; <i>The Door in the Floor</i> as &#8216;(mult-)i-conic&#8217; works of art

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This article explores the various layers of iconicity in John Irving&#8217;s novel <i>A Widow for One Year</i>, which abounds in iconic images, diagrams and metaphors, and Todd Williams&#8217; movie adaptation, <i>The Door in the Floor</i>. 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&#8217;s semantic density emerges, building up the illusion of an enhanced &#8216;visuality&#8217;. The media transfer of the novel to film is also examined: to what extent has the novel&#8217;s predominant feature, its &#8216;(mult-)i-conicity&#8217;, been transferred to Williams&#8217; 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&#8217;s web of semantic and structural correspondences has become as dense as the one in Irving&#8217;s text.


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