The Illusory Architext of the Institute Benjamenta

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I present a reading of the Quay Brothers? film Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream People Call Human Life (1995) and Robert Walser?s original novel Jakob von Gunten: EinTagebuch (1909) which not only compares the two works but also attempts to use both texts to open up a reading of what Gerard Genette would call the architext of both novel and film, an illusory narrative that can be seen to inform both the original and its adaptation. I argue that Institute Benjamenta takes as its central theme the possibility of the existence of an ?authentic inner chamber? which does not exist. This impossible place is the space of the possibility of adaptation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-101
Number of pages14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Quay Brothers
  • Institute Benjamenta
  • Robert Walser
  • Architext
  • Adaptation theory


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