Adaptation Before Cinema: Literary and Visual Convergence from Antiquity to the 20th Century

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Edited collection
contact email: 


Adaptation Before Cinema: Literary and Visual Convergence from Antiquity to the 20th Century

Adaptation scholars regularly acknowledge that the practice of adapting and retelling stories is as old as storytelling itself. Yet the field of adaptation studies is dominated by scholars considering contemporary media forms, mainly film. Research in what Colin MacCabe mis-labels the “pre-history” of adaptation evidences the fact that pre-cinematic forms and practices of adaptation offer the field productive insights about the act, product, production, and reception of adaptation. Yet those explorations often take place outside the boundaries of adaptation studies. Such literary and cultural studies commonly run parallel to the theoretical and material concerns of adaptation studies, but the fields rarely intersect and the discourses rarely cross-pollinate.

This collection of essays seeks to construct historical bridges between these discourses by foregrounding and providing a platform for innovative approaches to any aspect of adaptation, appropriation, or transmedia storytelling from Antiquity through the invention of cinema in the late Victorian period. All forms and media prior to the advent of cinema are welcome. In keeping with current trends in adaptation studies that seek to move beyond the traditional 1:1 source/adaptation format, we are particularly interested in article-length essays that investigate any combination of thematic trends, material contexts, commercial practices, theoretical models, and trans-historical, cross-cultural, or comparative approaches, as well as essays that encompass a range of genres and pre-cinematic media, which may include (but are not limited to) theater, novelizations, painting and illustration, toys and games, or other forms of literary production and visual culture. Essays should demonstrate working knowledge of contemporary adaptation studies. The goal of this collection is to expand the primary scholarly audience of film and media scholars to literary scholars and cultural critics working across a range of historical periods, genres, forms, and media.

Send inquiries to Lissette Lopez Szwydky ( and Glenn Jellenik ( 500-word abstracts due by September 30, 2017 via email.

Tentative schedule:

September 30, 2017: Abstracts Due

December 30, 2017: Authors contacted for inclusion in volume

May 1, 2018: First drafts full essays