Adaptation, Revision, Translation: From Life to Art, from the Page to Stage and Screen
June 17-18, 2016 at Lille Catholic University
Reflecting upon the new edition of her Theory of Adaptation published in 2013, Linda Hutcheon feels that the first version of her study only looked at adaptation “in terms of repetition with variation.” She now sees “new forms and platforms” and wonders “where to draw the line at what we call an adaptation?” In an endeavour to fuel the body of work already available on adaptation theory, this conference means to explore a variety of avenues. Contributors are welcome to work on textual manipulations: short stories being turned into novels, the use of myth, legends and of the epic tradition in children’s books or “original rewritings” such as Michael Cunningham’s The Hours (1998).
History or real crime finding their way into fiction or film also have their place here, whether in detective fiction classics like F. Tennyson Jesse’s A Pin to See the Peepshow (1934) or glamorous historical bestsellers like Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl (2001). As Linda Seger points out, “adaptation is a transition, a conversion, from one medium to another. All original material will put up a fight, as if it were saying ‘take me as I am’.” How novelists and screenwriters resist that temptation and engage in the necessary reconceptualising in order to create a storyline and a work of art is an essential part of our subject.
It will also be interesting to reflect, in a more traditional way, on adaptations of fiction into film and, in a less conventional way, on fiction that derives from film. We shall thus see in what ways Kamilla Elliott’s comments in Rethinking the Novel/Film Debate can be taken further for, according to her, “if art draws from real life, then an art adapting another art is one step further away from real life as a representation of a representation.” Other points of entry would be to dive into the relationship between plays and musicals (My Fair Lady being the classic example of the genre) or from a story or event to painting, sculpture or graphic art. As Hutcheon’s study suggests, adaptation is interactive in that it enables “the knowing audience” to envisage “adaptation as adaptation.” The remakes of famous films – re-adaptations – such as The Great Gatsby could lead to discussions on revision as a means of introducing the young public to classics. Other forms of adaptation such as fan fiction or new translations of famous works could also be taken into consideration. The word “adaptation” will thus be understood in a broad sense, making interdisciplinary approaches possible.
Abstracts of about 500 words should be sent to Suzanne Bray (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Gérald Préher (email@example.com) before January 15, 2016 along with a short biographical note.
Academic panel: Suzanne Bray (Lille Catholic University), Cindy Hamilton (Liverpool Hope University), Jacqui Miller (Liverpool Hope University), Gérald Préher (Lille Catholic University)