A Theory of Adaptation by Linda Hutcheon

By Linda Hutcheon

Are we residing within the age of edition? In modern cinema, after all, there are sufficient variations --based on every thing from comedian books to the novels of Jane Austen--to make us wonder whether Hollywood has run out of latest tales. but when you're thinking that edition could be understood through the use of novels and flicks by myself, you're unsuitable. this present day there also are tune covers emerging up the pop charts, online game types of fairy stories, or even curler coasters according to profitable motion picture franchises.
Despite their acceptance, even though, variations are typically handled as secondary and by-product. even if within the kind of a Broadway musical or successful tv exhibit, variations are nearly unavoidably considered as not as good as the "original." yet are they?
Here, well known literary student Linda Hutcheon explores the ubiquity of diversifications in all their quite a few media incarnations--and demanding situations their consistent serious denigration. edition, Hutcheon argues, has consistently been a critical mode of the story--telling mind's eye and merits to be studied in all its breadth and diversity as either a procedure (of production and reception) and a product unto its personal.
Persuasive and illuminating, A concept of variation is a daring rethinking of the way variation works throughout all media and genres which could positioned an finish to the age--old query of no matter if the ebook used to be greater than the motion picture, or the opera, or the topic park.

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Ray Bradbury’s script for John Huston’s 1956 film version of Melville’s Moby Dick (1851) might stand as a typical example of the pragmatic necessity of cutting a sprawling novel to make it fit the screen in terms of time and space, because it usually takes longer to perform an action than to read a written report of it. But at other times the change is perceived as less a question of quantity and more one of quality. To remain with Melville, the morally complicated tale in the novella of Billy Budd is rendered in black and white, both literally and ethically, in Peter Ustinov’s 1962 film version.

Sometimes the text being paraphrased or translated is very immediate and available. indb 17 5/1/06 7:54:52 AM 18 A Theory of Adaptation the actual minutes of the 85-minute meeting held in 1942 and chaired by Reinhard Heydrich, the Chief of the German State Police, in which the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question” was decided. In 2001, Loring Mandel did a further adaptation in English for BBC and HBO called Conspiracy. At other times, the adapted text is more complex or even multiple: Sidney Lumet’s 1975 film Dog Day Afternoon was a fictionalized adaptation of an actual 1972 bank robbery and hostage situation in Brooklyn that was covered live on television and was much discussed in the media.

This essay too has had a long history, for it has implicitly informed much of the critical response to new media, such as film: it seems that no art can acquire cultural capital until it has theorized itself as medium-specific with its own formal and signifying possibilities (Naremore 2000b: 6). Witness pronouncements like this: “Each medium, according to the ways in which it exploits, combines, and multiplies the ‘familiar’ materials of expression—rhythm, movement, gesture, music, speech, image, writing (in anthropological terms our ‘first’ media)—each medium … possesses its own communicational energetics” (Gaudreault and Marion 2004: 65).

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