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Theorizing Adaptation

Kamilla Elliott

Publication Date - June 2020

ISBN: 9780197511183

376 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $43.95


From intertextuality to postmodern cultural studies, narratology to affect theory, poststructuralism to metamodernism, and postcolonialism to ecocriticism, humanities adaptation studies has engaged with a host of contemporary theories. Yet theorizing adaptation has been declared behind the theoretical times compared to other fields and charged with theoretical incorrectness by scholars from all theoretical camps. In this thorough and groundbreaking study, author Kamilla Elliott works to explain and redress the problem of theorizing adaptation. She offers the first cross-disciplinary history of theorizing adaptation in the humanities, extending back to the sixteenth century, revealing that until the late eighteenth century, adaptation was valued for its contributions to cultural progress, before its eventual — and ongoing — marginalization by humanities theories. The second half of the book offers ways to redress the troubled relationship between theorization and adaptation. Ultimately, Theorizing Adaptation proffers shared ground upon which adaptation scholars can debate productively across disciplinary, cultural, and theoretical borders.


  • Offers the first cross disciplinary history of theorizing adaptation in the humanities
  • Makes a new argument for a mutual adaptation of theorization and adaptation to each other
  • Analyzes adaptation theory through the lens of rhetoric

About the Author(s)

Kamilla Elliott is Professor of Literature and Media at Lancaster University.


"A dazzlingly comprehensive, indeed Herculean, cleaning out of the dysfunctional stables in which both adaptation and theorizing have been kept!" -- Linda Hutcheon, author of A Theory of Adaptation

"An extraordinarily expansive and incisive assessment of the cutting-edge field of contemporary adaptation studies, lucidly argued by one its most articulate scholars." -- Timothy Corrigan, author of The Essay Film: From Montaigne, After Marker and editor of Film and Literature: An Introduction and Reader

"This is the most ambitious and exciting book about adaptation Iâve ever read. Kamilla Elliott, long established as an unrivaled historian of adaptation and adaptation studies, here confirms her status as their leading theorist as well. Theorizing Adaptation will be indispensable reading for anyone attempting to take the measure of adaptation studies." -- Thomas Leitch, author of The History of American Literature on Film

Table of Contents

    Introduction: The Problem of Theorizing Adaptation

    Part 1: Theorizing Adaptation
    Chapter 1 Histories of Theorizing Adaptation
    Chapter 2 Theorizing Adaptation in the Sixteenth to Nineteenth Centuries
    Chapter 3 Theorizing Adaptation in the Twentieth Century
    Chapter 4 Theorizing Adaptation in the Twenty-First Century

    Part 2: Adapting Theorization
    I. Retheorizing Theorization
    Chapter 5 Redefining Definitions
    Chapter 6 Resetting Taxonomies
    Chapter 7 Rethinking Theoretical Principles

    II. Refiguring Theorization
    Chapter 8 The Rhetoric of Theorizing Adaption
    Chapter 9 Refiguring Adaptation Studies