Adaptation Essay (Draft 1)

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   Fictional Adaptation: Essay   Sam McKeown    Discuss the view that with a successful adaptation, the srcinal work is transformed into something new and different, although retaining many traces of what it was formerly with reference to at least one text adapted for broadcast on television.    Introduction:   In this essay I will be exploring the subject of adaptation, and look into how it is used into versions made for Television. I will see how creative themes and ideas can be explored in adaptation and the way ideas can be conceived differently into various forms of mass media. Those in charge of creating adaptations can often conceive of elements that would otherwise not have been thought of, which can give a element of risk to a derivative art form.   I will look at what form of adaptation is used. These forms are; transposition, analogue and commentary. Furthermore I will look at how Stephen King’s, ‘ The Shining’ has been adapted in different forms and the influence of auteur vs author. I will also discern what post-modernism is, and how does it feature in The Shining  and the TV show it inspired?  Main Body:   First of, what is adaptation? Adaptation is when an srcinal piece of work (i.e a novel) is remade in a form of mass media, most prominently in Television and Film. There is the viewpoint that a successful adaptation should be made using independent thought as opposed to being completely faithful. In ‘The Cambridge Companion to Literature on Screen’ it is suggested that “fidelity to the srcinal”  is irrelevant because the “fidelity can only mean literal repetition, and a judgement of success is clearly dependent on different strategies” (1)   (Deborah & Whelehan, 2007)   Post-modernism is essentially post structure. It is inevitably evident in everything that I analyse as it is the belief that everything is subjective, as opposed to objective. As well as the idea that everything can be deconstructed. For these reasons regardless of changes to the srcinal vision a transformation of the initial text can still be considered a success.   Some critics however will be quick to argue that texts should be adapted as faithfully as possible to respect the srcinal authors vision. This is what is referred to as transposition, when the adapter changes very little to the srcinal. So there are a lot of people in favour of this creative choice. However there are also many who would consider it playing it safe because of its pre-existing audience from the srcinal text. Stephen King has been almost infamous in his disdain for Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film adaption. He was recently quoted as saying “in my book there’s a warmth… with Kubrick’s the Shining I felt that it was very cold.”  (2) (King, 2013) I thought it was intriguing that he would refer to the film version as Kubrick’s Shining, which arguably points out that he sees it as a completely different entity to his srcinal work he doesn’t want to be associated with. This gives further insight into why he decided to make direct his own Shining 1997 TV mini series .  It is worth pointing out that Kubrick’s version would be regarded as an analogue adaption. This means that it takes the basic story and characters but changes them in a way as to tweak them from the srcinal scenario. The differences between how adaptations can be viewed in a post-modernistic world is evident in an example by Sarah Cardwell in ‘Adaptation Revisited’ .  “  Every adaptation is an authored, interpretation of a text…” she subsequently expressed that the auteurs “may not be concerned with ‘fidelity’ but the creation of an independent Television text.” (3) (Cardwell, 2012)   Having read a few of Stephen King’s novels, I can see where his criticism of the film comes from. As hit or miss as I have personally found some of his novels, he understands his characters very well. This has allowed him to create an infinite universe for his disposal. He is well known for adding depth and life to these characters, almost at the expense of the story itself. This shows how different he is to Kubrick’s vision, not the least because I personally feel his films favour story development over character building. The srcinal novel seems like more of a psychological study than anything. These reasons show why he might have felt it necessary to create the transcript for a later TV mini-series of The Shining. One of the most intriguing things I made note of when researching this remake was that despite King’s previous complaints, the film version appears to have been much more critically and commercially successful with audiences than the TV adaptation. On IMDB the TV adaptation has a measly rating of 6.1 whereas Kubrick’s film has an 8.5 rating.  1. Cartmell, Deborah & Whelehan, Imelda. (2007) The Cambridge Companion to Literature on Screen. pp 108.   2.  BBC News: Entertainment & Arts: (2013)  Stephen King returns to The Shining with Doctor Sleep, BBC: 19th September. 2:06 minutes.   3. Cardwell, Sarah (2002)  Adaptation Revisited: Television and the Classic Novel. Manchester University Press. pp 21
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