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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

IAS Fellows' Seminar - Towards an Aesthetics of Adaptation

12th March 2018, 13:00 to 14:00, Seminar Room, Institute of Advanced Study, Dr Pascal Nicklas (Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz)


In this seminar, we want to look at the theory of adaptation as a cultural and aesthetic practice. Adaptation today is the dominant practice in culture industry but it has also been for centuries the model of emulation in literature and the arts: originality has only in the past 250 years become the hallmark for literary genius. This historical perspective may open our eyes for the observation by Linda Hutcheon that ‘adaptation is not the exception but the norm of human imagination’. If this is so, we may wonder what kind of effect adaptations have on the reader or viewer who realizes that what she reads or sees is something she has read or seen before ­– though with a difference. The pleasure (or sometimes intense displeasure) at seeing an adaptation as an adap­tation might have something to do with our biological set-up and our cognitive-affective apparatus much older than the kind of cultural products we process mentally and emotionally today. So, there are two sets of struc­tures we want to look at: first, the structural consistency which permits re­cognizing an adaptations as an adaptation; second, the structure of our per­ception which shapes the range of reactions we may have to adaptations we have recognised as such.

Places are limited and so any academic colleagues interested in attending a seminar should register online in advance to reserve a place. Places will be confirmed within 48 hours of receipt (subject to availability).

Contact for more information about this event.