In a landmark essay of 2003, Thomas Leitch claimed that “several fundamental questions in adaptation theory remain unasked, let alone unanswered. Everyone knows, for example, that movies are a collaborative medium, but is adaptation similarly collaborative, or is it the work of a single agent—the screenwriter or director—with the cast and crew behaving the same way as if their film were based on an original screenplay?” Rather than returning to reductive but seemingly never-exhausted debates such as the fidelity issue, this conference takes Leitch’s question as its starting point, approaching adaptation from the point of view of the processes and practices involved. Looking at the debate from this perspective makes issues such as authorship, originality, genius, even appropriation less important than questions of collaboration, ensemble, engagement etc. which now become the critical factors in the consideration of an artwork. A focus on the “how?” of adaptation dismantles a hierarchical view of adaptation that is caught in the gravitational field of originality, fidelity and marked by such concepts as primacy and secondarity. Instead the artist is always understood to be in relation.
DAAD, Failte Ireland, College of Arts, Celtic Studies amd Social Sciences, School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures