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Adaptation Considered as a Collaborative Art: Process and Practice, (Eds.: Bernadette Cronin, Rachel MagShamhráin and Nikolai Preuschoff

This book examines the processes of adaptation across a number of intriguing case studies and media. Turning its attention from the ‘what’ to the ‘how’ of adaptation, it serves to re-situate the discourse of adaptation studies, moving away from the hypotheses that used to haunt it, such as fidelity, to questions of how texts, authors and other creative practitioners (always understood as a plurality) engage in dialogue with one another across cultures, media, languages, genders and time itself. With fifteen chapters across fields including fine art and theory, drama and theatre, Film and television, this interdisciplinary volume considers adaptation across the creative and performing arts, with a single focus on the collaborative.

This edited collection has emerged from an international conference entitled Process and Practice: Adaptation Considered as a Collaborative Art, co-hosted in 2014 by the Departments of Theatre, German, and Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, UCC. The collection is situated at the cutting edge of the increasingly vibrant and popular field of Adaptation Studies with its growing focus on intertextuality and intermediality. It features fifteen chapters in which a broad spectrum of genres across the creative and performing arts are represented, focusing on adaptation as a collaborative art.

As a conference steering committee what interested us was the how of adaptation, the creative processes and practices of practitioners who engage collaboratively in adaptation, rather than what are often more or less redundant discussions relating to authorship, questions of fidelity, or negative rhetoric about the status of the adaptative product as secondary or derivative. The call for papers, consequently, attracted a very broad range of proposals from across the creative and performing arts, and included consideration of adaptative exchanges in and between literary texts, plays, play scripts, films, operas, video games, advertising, television series, documentary / mockumentary; adaptation as collaboration; signature and ownership; translation as adaptation; music and sound design as adaptation; the costume designer as adapter; casting and adaptation, cross-cultural film re- makes and audiences; adaptation and community; adapting the unadaptable; deconstruction as adaptation; adaptation and intertextuality; cultural materialism and Adaptation Studies. While it was not possible to do justice to all of these areas in the collection, it is important to signal that the intention of this publication was to move Adaptation Studies forward from the traditional focus on literature-film interactions into a broader context that reflects the increasingly interdisciplinary collaborative practices of practitioners engaged in adaptation across the creative and performing arts.

The conference keynotes, Thomas Leitch and Judith Buchanan, complemented each other in fascinating ways: the idea of collaboration with the dead ran through these two very different, yet equally compelling presentations, and their chapters bookend this collection, which also includes chapters from a number of  current and former UCC colleagues.

See table of contents below:

1. Introduction

Conversations with the Dead I

2. Thomas Leitch: Collaborating with the Dead: Adapters as Secret Agents

 Adaptation: Drama and Theatre

3. Bernadette Cronin: playing ‘the maids’: Devising an Adaptation: Collaboration and the Actor’s Process

4. Mary Noonan: The Not-So-Singular Life of Albert Nobbs 

5. Siobhan O’Gorman: Adaptation, Devising and Collective Creation: Tracing Histories of Pat McCabe’s The Butcher Boy on Stage

Adaptation: Literature and Screen

6. Graham Allen: The Alien World of Objects: Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing

7. Donna Maria Alexander: Adapting History in the Docupoetry of Lorna Dee Cervantes and Script Poems of Danez Smith and Claudia Rankine

8. Nikolai Preuschoff: “His world had vanished long before he entered it.” Wes Anderson’s homage to Stefan Zweig

Adaptation: Screen and Politics

9. Christiane Schönfeld: Collaborative Art with Political Intent: The 1933 Adaptation of Theodor Storm’s Der Schimmelreiter / The Rider on the White Horse (1888)

10. Jean Conacher: Adapting Hein’s Willenbrock: Andreas Dresen and the legacy of the GDR ‘ensemble’ tradition

Adaptation: Screen, Fine Art and Theory

11. Guillaume Lecomte: Same Player, Shoot Again: Géla Babluani’s 13 (Tzameti), Transnational Auto-Remakes, and Collaboration

12. Caitríona Leahy: Anselm Kiefer’s Signature. Or: adapting God

Adaptation: Television

13. Mark Wallace: Adaptation as Arguing with the Past: The Case of Sherlock

14. Thomas Van Parys: The Prestige Novelisation of the Contemporary Television Series: David Hewson’s The Killing

Conversations with the Dead II

15. Rachel MagShamhráin: Things You Can Do to an Author When He’s Dead: Literary Prosthetics and the Example of Heinrich von Kleist

16. Judith Buchanan: Collaborating with the dead, playing the Shakespeare archive; or, how to avoid being pushed from our stools


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