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Theorizing Adaptation$
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Kamilla Elliott

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780197511176

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197511176.001.0001

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Histories of Theorizing Adaptation

Histories of Theorizing Adaptation

(p.13) 1 Histories of Theorizing Adaptation
Theorizing Adaptation

Kamilla Elliott

Oxford University Press

Chapter 1 surveys prior histories of theorizing adaptation and the neglect of history in adaptation studies. In spite of being charged with theoretical lack, the field of adaptation studies has tended to prioritize theory over history. History offers a perspective that theorization, often ahistorical in its claims, lacks. Many scholars substitute a myth of fidelity for an actual history of theorizing adaptation; the histories that we do have tend to begin with the birth of film and figure the history of theorizing adaptation as a progress toward greater truth. This history, which reaches beyond literary film adaptation to other media and farther back to the sixteenth century, finds that adaptation theorization has not unfolded as a linear progress but has regularly engaged in processes of theoretical repetition and return, together with variation and progressivism. In so doing, a history of theorization resembles adaptation itself as a process of repetition with variation.

Keywords:   adaptation history, adaptation studies, adaptation theory, adaptation’s fidelity myth, adaptation field histories, adaptation genres, international adaptation studies

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