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Adaptation

Studies in French and Francophone Culture

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Edited By Neil Archer and Andreea Weisl-Shaw

Originating in the conference held at the University of Cambridge in 2009, this collection of essays includes a range of innovative papers from across the diverse field of French and Francophone studies. From medieval texts to the dramatization of the novel, from postcolonial writing to the politics of film and the bande dessinée, the articles in this collection draw on recent developments in the theories of adaptation, translation, and cultural and textual transition. In keeping with these developments, they move the notion of adaptation away from questions of authenticity and fidelity, thinking instead about the movement across texts and time, and the way such movement generates new meanings. Offering insightful approaches to its subjects of study, the book is an engaging contribution to this growing area of research.

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Neil Archer and Andreea Weisl-Shaw - Introduction: Theorizing Adaptation 1

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Neil Archer and Andreea Weisl-Shaw Introduction: Theorizing Adaptation To engage in any study of adaptation is to confront the often conf lict- ing discourses that coalesce around the term across dif ferent contexts. If adaptation is regarded within scientific discourse as inherent and natural to all living beings, within the field of cultural production it is more likely to be seen as one artistic option amongst others. To ask within a scientific context why we should adapt would invite derision: we adapt because that is how we survive, exercise our curiosity, improve our skills and develop a sense of the world. Yet to ask the question in a literary or visual-cultural context, which this introduction is presently attempting, is to risk another kind of answer: one which might emphasize the derivative and second- hand aspect of adapted texts; their potential acquiescence to the safe, the tested or commercially viable option (in the form, say, of cinematic literary adaptation), and therefore a repudiation of those qualities – originality, creativity, spontaneity – often held to be essential values of any artist and artwork. This is a view questioned by the essays presented in this volume. These essays suggest, rather, that adaptation in its various cultural modes be seen on a level with its scientific sense. In conjunction with a number of other recent works devoted to adaptation as an artistic practice,1 we would like to suggest an approach to adaptation which emphasizes those same quali- ties – of originality, creativity and spontaneity – which might...

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