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The concept and process of dramatic adaptation, derived from a study of modern adaptations of Shakespeare's plays

Anderson, Sarah (1980)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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The thesis investigates the concepts, processes and purposes involved in adapting one play into another. The study is based on post-1956 adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays, and we find that these may be classified into five distinct types on the basis of the adaptive processes used: collages, cultural transpositions, domestications, reorientations and transformations. Despite differences between these types, all have common characteristics which enable us to term them ‘adaptations’ as opposed to directorial interpretations or new plays. Having established a definition of an adaptation we proceed to broaden its application, showing that any narrative form (eg novel, film) using a narrative source (eg history, legend) can be subjected to the same processes. The modern Shakespeare adaptations are then placed within their theatrical and political contexts in an attempt to explain their existence and their form. In this way we discover that the period 1959 to 1964 saw changes of dramatic form and of thematic purpose. Finally we consider whether it is valid to adapt plays, and suggest criteria for evaluating such adaptations. These criteria emphasise the significant connections between the adapted play and the adaptation, and so indicate how effectively this particular genre has been exploited.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Matheson, Thomas Pendleton and Wilcher, Robert (1942-)
School/Faculty:Faculties (to 1997) > Faculty of Arts
Department:Shakespeare Institute
Subjects:PR English literature
PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1795
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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