Recently adaptation theorists have argued for a re-valuing of adaptations and of the dynamic between originary texts and their adaptation. Critics such as Brian McFarlane, Imelda Whelehan, and Deborah Cartmell have argued that adaptations carry “cultural capital” equal to the original’s, and that putting a material, original text in dialogue with an adaptation provides an opportunity to revalue, perhaps increase the value of the original.
Initially formed as a response to critical responses to film adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels, adaptation theory potentially applies more widely, to originals and adaptations in a variety of media both material and immaterial, and by a variety of authors: Southerne’s stage adaptation of Behn’s Oroonoko, Inchbald’s use of Kotzebue’s plays, sequels to Austen’s novels posted on The Republic of Pemberley website, the recent film adaptation of Gulliver’s Travels, and so forth. Questions posed by adaptation itself and by adaptation theory include
•What is the relationship between an originary eighteenth-century text and an adaptation? Does a tradition of adapting a text (Shakespeare’s plays in the eighteenth century, Austen’s novels in the twentieth) affect its standing? In what ways? For whom?
•What is the significance of factors such as gender, class, or genre in making or valuing adaptation?
•What does adaptation theory suggest to us about the role of originality in a digital age?
•How should “originality” be used in analyzing, evaluating, teaching, canonizing eighteenth-century texts?
This panel seeks papers considering the relationship between eighteenth-century literature and adaptations, whether during the eighteenth century or subsequent periods, and whether in print or less material forms.
Chair and Organizer: Dr. Karen Gevirtz, Dept. of English, Seton Hall University, Karen.email@example.com.