Still from *Pride and Prejudice and Zombies*(2015)

Linda Hutcheon, A Theory of Adaptation. 2006. 2nd ed., Routledge, 2013.

In short, adaptation can be described as the following:

  • An acknowledged transposition of a recognizable other work or  works
  • A creative and an interpretive act of appropriation/salvaging
  • An extended intertextual engagement with the adapted work

Therefore an adaptation is a derivation that is not derivative – a work that is second without being secondary. It is its own palimpsestic thing. (Hutcheon 8-9)

Definition of palimpsest (OED)

Paper, parchment, or other writing material designed to be reusable after any writing on it has been erased. Obsolete. (c. 1661-1706)

In extended use: a thing likened to such a writing surface, esp. in having been reused or altered while still retaining traces of its earlier form; a multilayered record. (c. 1845)

Example from 2001: “They [sc. television reruns] are another manifestation of today’s palimpsest pop culture, in which everything is ripe for sampling and nothing stays dead.”

Other important terms: focalization, adaptation as creative transformation, and transmedia storytelling