Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Adaptation and Appropriation

Sanders Blog Post
·      Literature is made by literature
o   Texts feed off and create other texts
·      Tracing of intertext is self-confirming
o   More texts you read, more parallels you find
o   Readers add their own meaning, and their own intertexts
·      Intertextuality
o   Coined by Julia Kristeva
o   How texts encompass and respond to other texts
o   Functions as a web, not linearly
o   Does not consume sources
§  Does the opposite: aids the survival of the source
o   Stretches the horizons of a single work
·      Late 20th century: Originality not necessary
o   Rewriting is important (not imitation, but adaptation)
o   Originality is impossible
o   Brings up the question of ownership: copyright and property laws
·      T.S. Eliot
o   Questioned ‘ the tendency to insist, when we praise a poet, upon those aspects of his work in which he least resembles anyone else.’
o   Response to past texts more important than originality
§  Not advocating blind copying and plagiarism
o   Created new material built upon the foundation laid by past works
o   Encourages contrast and comparison
o   Concludes the reinterpretation of texts is inevitable
·      Transcends imitation
o   Authors add, supplement, improvise, innovate, expand
o   New work is not a clone, but more like a child
o   Incorporates current affairs and movements
·      Readers benefit
o   Enjoy seeing overlap between the familiar and the new
o   Proud when they unde rstand allusions
·      Constant and ongoing process
o   Like Darwin’s evolution (finches and moths)
o   EX: Romeo and Juliet è West side story è Romeo + Juliet
o   EX: The Taming of the Shrew è Kiss Me Kate è 10 Things I Hate about You
·      Hypotext
o   Hypotext is an earlier text which serves as the source of a subsequent piece of literature
·      Re-visionary writing is
o   “the act of looking back, of seeing with fresh eyes, of entering an old text from a new critical direction”
o   Important to read historical works to break the hold of tradition
·      Bricolage
o   French for DIY
o   A construction or creation from a diverse range of available things
·      Pastiche
o   French term
o   An artistic work in a style that imitates that of another work, artist, or period
o   Often has a satiric undertone or parodic intention
o   Originally used to refer to melodies made up of fragments pieced together
·      Misprision
o   deliberate concealment of one's knowledge of a treasonable act
What is adaptation?
·      Adjusting something to fill a need
·      Piece is reinterpreted, but clearly still related to the original work
·      Can feature
o   Proximation – change of genre (novel to film, play to musical… etc)
o   Parallelism – parallels the text
o   Amplification/Reduction – expansion/trimming of text
o   Commentary – revised point of view
·      Commonly used for
o   Making classics accessible to a new audience
o   Brings it closer to the audience’s frame of reference
·      Three types
o   Transposition
§  All second performances are transpositions to some degree
§  EX: Baz Luhrman, Romeo + Juliet (1996)
·      Changes temporal and geographic setting
o   Commentary
§  More culturally loaded than simple transposition
§  Comments through alteration and addition
§  Requires pre-existing knowledge of another text
§  Often explicitly connect to a source with a shared title
§  EX: Aimé Césaire, A Tempest
·      Sycorax appears on stage, as opposed to the original, where she was only mentioned
·      Imposes negative ideas of colonization
o   Analogue
§  Do not require knowledge of its intertext: can stand alone
§  EX: Amy Heckerling, Clueless
·      an adaptation of Jane Austin’s Emma
§  EX: Disney, The Lion King
·      An adaptation of Hamlet
What is appropriation?
·      Taking something for own use
·      Wholesale rethinking of the terms of the original
·      Transforming original into new product, journeying away from the source
·      Piece does not always clearly identify the source
·      Can feature
o   Embedded texts and interplay  
o   Sustained change
EX: Romeo and Juliet vs. West Side Story
·      Overlaps but changes. Can stand on its own without the Shakespeare.
·      Highlights issue of race conflict in New York
o   Tony : Maria :: Romeo : Juliet
o   Jets : Sharks :: Montagues : Capulets
o   Fire-escape : Balcony
o   Doc : Friar
o   Anita : Nurse
o   Musical vs play
o   Marias parents never feature on stage
o   Anita is gang raped
EX: Our Country’s Good vs. The Recruiting Officer
·      Both feature a play within a play
·      Performed alongside each other with same actors performing in both
·      The Recruiting officer
o   highlights controversy over Australian land and property rights
·      Our Country’s Good
o   popular among prison drama groups
o   highlights the social and cultural importance of the arts
Sustained Appropriation: Homage or Plagiarism?
·      Graham Swift’s Last Orders
o   Won Booker Prize in 1996
o   Criticized for being too similar to William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying
§  Featured juxtaposed monologues
§  Featured somewhat circuitous narratives
§  Relied on the same archetype
·      Presence of the dead on the living, wake of death
·      Swift called his work an homage to Faulkner
·      Others called him intellectually dishonest for not crediting Faulkner
o   Called his book inauthentic and devalued because it borrowed
·      Acknowledging Faulkner would have closed the door for possible associations with other texts
·      Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
o   Polymonic (many voices or points of view)
o   Relied on same archetype:
§  Physical pilgrimage that correlates to a spiritual/inner journey
o   Not as linear as Chaucer
·      Old English poems Wanderer and Seafarer
o   Different landscapes (land, terra firma, sea) and
·      Biblical references
o   Cain and Abel
·      Showed how no work has one intertext, but functions as a symphony of intertexts
o   Like Baroque music
§  Improvised performances layered on top of patterns
§  Repeated harmonic base was the foundation, as intertexts are for appropriations
§  Like Jazz music (Jazz riffs) and rap/hip-hop (re-contextualization)
·      Suggests we are enriching, not robbing
o   Sheds adaptation in a more positive light
o   Creates new cultural possibilities

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