Adaptation, fidelity and reception

Authored by: Dennis Cutchins , Kathryn Meeks

The Routledge Companion To Adaptation

Print publication date:  April  2018
Online publication date:  April  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138915404
eBook ISBN: 9781315690254
Adobe ISBN:


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Defining ‘adaptation’ has been an obligatory exercise in adaptation studies since the field was created. George Bluestone tried it in Novels Into Film in 1957, and he has been followed by dozens of scholars over the last sixty years. Despite the best efforts of adaptation scholars to understand adaptations as artifacts with more or less objective elements, however, texts occasionally touch readers in ways that are idiosyncratic, emotional, and highly personal. In short, sometimes texts are received in ways that defy definition. This is the bare fact of reception, and neither scholarly tradition nor the lack of sufficiently objective scholarly language should bar those who write about adaptation from acknowledging the receptor experience. We urge those who write about adaptations to shift the conversation in such a way that the reader/audience experience may be seen as a legitimate element in any understanding of adaptation. The process of making that shift, we believe, will reveal new aspects of adaptation studies.

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