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A Theory of Adaptation by Linda Hutcheon

A Theory of Adaptation

by Linda Hutcheon

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This is a book I've used a lot, but never actually read: I've cited bits of Hutcheon's work in papers I've written, and I've taught chapter 2, "What? (Forms)," multiple times. But I'd never actually read it as a book, and I finally gave that a shot this summer. It's as strong an accomplishment as a whole as I'd imagined from the parts-- Hutcheon covers a wide range of adaptations. When teaching the book, it frustrated my students (and me) that she often used esoteric adaptations, like the opera of Billy Budd. But in reading the whole book, this eclecticism is clearly part of her project: she wants to understand that human drive to adapt in all of its manifestations, and adaptations run a lot further than books-to-film.

Hutcheon's book has become definitive, and justly so. She fills in how media transmute, debunking a number of clichés we're still mumbling eight years later. She talks about the why and the how and the when/where, and she accesses a wide range of sources: not just the texts themselves, but the words and ideas of the adapters, and reviews of the adaptations. And it's even a quick and directed read!

If I have any complaint, it's that she gives short shrift to comics/graphic novels, lumping them in with "telling" media when I don't think that's really accurate. But that might say more about my personal interests than her book's problems.
  Stevil2001 | Jul 19, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Linda Hutcheonprimary authorall editionscalculated
O’Flynn, SiobhanAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0415967953, Paperback)

Renowned literary scholar Linda Hutcheon explores the ubiquity of adaptations in all their various media incarnations and challenges their constant critical denigration. Adaptation, Hutcheon argues, has always been a central mode of the story-telling imagination and deserves to be studied in all its breadth and range as both a process (of creation and reception) and a product unto its own.

Persuasive and illuminating, A Theory of Adaptation is a bold rethinking of how adaptation works across all media and genres that may put an end to the age-old question of whether the book was better than the movie, or the opera, or the theme park.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:29 -0400)

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