Everything Old Is New Again: Adapting the Classics in Contemporary Young Adult Novels

deadline for submissions: 
September 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Drs. Dana Lawrence and Amy L. Montz
contact email: 

CALL FOR PAPERS

Everything Old Is New Again:

Adapting the Classics in Contemporary Young Adult Novels

“An adaptation is not vampiric: it does not draw the life-blood from its source and leave it dying or dead, nor is it paler than the adapted work. It may, on the contrary, keep that prior work alive, giving it an afterlife it would never have had otherwise” (Linda Hutcheon, A Theory of Adaptation, 2006).

Linda Hutcheon’s refusal to see adaptation as “vampiric” is particularly inspiring for those who do work on adaptations. The idea of an “afterlife” of texts, of seeing what comes before as an inspiration for what comes now is, by its very definition, keeping works “alive.” Adaptations for young adults, in particular, have the added benefit of engaging the young adult reader with both then and now, past and present. The hope is, of course, that the young adult reader will approach both text and context, both original and adaptation, to explore the importance of a theme, or a writer, or a novel, and see the historical, cultural, and literary connotations presented. Linda Hutcheon defines adaptation further by noting, "If we know that prior text, we always feel its presence shadowing the one we are experiencing directly. When we call a work an adaptation, we openly announce its overt relationship to another work or works.” Adaptation is about connection, connective tissues leading from one text to another, one author to another, one time to another. We see an adaptation and we must remember the original, engage with the original, and are encouraged to visit the original for the first time, or once again.

 

For this proposed collection, we are most interested in essays that explore relationships between texts and contexts, that see the connections between canonical and young adult literature. As adaptation simultaneously re-imagines and reinscribes a literary canon, the engagement with the canon is a key aspect of the adaptive qualities of the text. The author’s familiarity with the original work--or, for the purposes of this collection, the original author--lends new life to the canonical text. In “Seven Types of Intertextuality,” Robert S. Miola understands adaptations as “literary progeny that bear direct and immediate descent from originary texts and that exist in a very conscious counterpoise of tribute and criticism…If an author’s revision of his or her own work asserts his or her power and domination, then the reviser of another’s work enacts a rebellion and usurpation.” What remains unique about the adaptation is this tension between tribute and criticism, particularly when issues of race, gender, and other aspects of diversity are brought into play. Seeing the past through new eyes means we must examine the past in all its defects. It means engaging with our predecessors and the rights, and wrongs, of their literatures.

 

“Everything Old Is New Again: Adapting the Classics in Contemporary Young Adult Novels” will explore the “afterlife” of texts and contexts. These historical and literary phenomena will argue that adapting the classics is a way to engage young adult readers with their cultural past, and to see how that past can be rewritten in order to best present what can be changed, what benefits from change, and how they, too, can be agents of change. These adaptations empower young readers to make them more culturally, historically, and socially aware through the lens of literary diversity.

Topics may include:

* Authenticity

* Authorship and Authority

* Fan fiction

* Graphic Novel Adaptations

* Sequels and prequels

* Rewrites of canonical texts

Of particular interest are essays about texts that diversify race, sexuality, gender, and ability in adaptations.

Interested authors will need to submit a 500-word abstract and 150-200 word bio by September 1, 2018. Selected abstracts will be included in a book proposal to a peer-reviewed publisher. 6,000 to 8,000 word essays will due early in 2019. Please submit abstracts to both Dr. Amy L. Montz at almontz@usi.edu and Dr. Dana Lawrence at lawrende@mailbox.sc.edu. Questions can be addressed to both, as well.