Monday, November 24, 2014

Adaptations of Shakespeare: Fischlin and Fortier

·      Daniel Fischlin: associate professor of Literature and Performance Studies in English at University of Guelph (Canada)
·      Mark Fortier: Associate professor in English at University of Winnipeg (Canada)
·      This article is the general introduction to the book “Adaptations of Shakespeare: An Anthology of Plays from the Seventeenth Century to the Present” by Daniel Fischlin and Mark Fortier

Key Points
Different types of Shakespeare reworkings
·      Offshoot: something that “grows from Shakespearean stem” pg. 3
·      Reduction/Emendation: lines are cut and words altered
·      Adaptation: plays that have substantial cuts and additions

Contexts of an Adaptation
·      Adaptations engage with world around them
o   Specifically political situations
·      “The task of a careful reader is to see exactly how an adaptation functions in any particular situation and what effects it has or may have on the literary politics of author and canon as well as on larger social and political questions” pg. 7
o   Basically, context is really important to understanding adaptations

Intertextuality in Adaptations
·      Shakespeare had his own source texts
o   Common practice back in 1600s to learn to write by imitating other writers
·      Sources are necessary for adaptation – but there are varying degrees of involvement
o   Range from influencing the author’s text to being directly quoted within the text
o   Ex: Shakespeare
·      Copyright issues: Shakespeare has no legal copyright rights – just a moral code
o   But authors who use his texts to write their own can copyright – is this right?
o   Originality is highly valued in society – but was Shakespeare all that original?
·      For theatrical adaptations, intertextuality is more than just words.
o   The way people move, speak, dress, etc. – the culture – also plays a part

Theatrical Adaptations
·      Putting a written play on in a theatre requires adaptation of some sort – not all stage directions are spelled out
·      Generic mixing occurs frequently (2 genres mix on stage)
o   Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet is comedic mixed with romantic
o   Common generic mixing in theatrical adaptation: creation and criticism

Global Shakespeares
·      Shakespeare’s plays are regarded as a large part of British national identity
o   BUT they have been so widely adapted to other cultures that this association is becoming less and less
·      His works can lend themselves to other nations and cultures to find national identity/unity
o   Because the original Shakespeare plays do not have explicit political messages
o   Think political Hamlet adaptations that we read in class (Al-Hamlet Summit, Russian Hamlet, etc.)
o   However, Understanding Shakespeare can be difficult for some cultures
§  Ex: explaining Hamlet to tribe in Africa (Think 1st article we read in class)
§  Can be difficult even for our culture because of differing values
·      i.e. A Midsummer Night’s Dream law about a daughter being put to death for refusal to marry a man seems exceedingly harsh and takes away from comedic aspect of the play
o   In Shakespeare’s time, this was rarely put into effect
·      Cultural Messages in Shakespeare
o   Original Shakespeare plays have commentary about colonization and cultural differences (i.e. Othello, Tempest) that playwrights can draw upon to expose the issues (i.e. Harlem Duet, Une Tempete)

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