Gothic Adaptation: Intermedial and Intercultural Shape-Shifting
The Gothic is a wide-ranging mode that comprises multiple genres, including but not limited to literature, drama, film, television, art, music, games, comics, and graphic novels. It is also a shape-shifting mode. Like vampires or werewolves, expressions of the Gothic frequently and uncannily change form, thereby calling into question the stability and desirability of fixed generic, cultural, and mediatic boundaries. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), the most often adapted Gothic text, first took the shape of both a novel and a play before transforming into innumerable plays, operas, ballets, graphic novels, TV shows, films, comics, and games. Extending across genres and centuries alike, versions of Dracula’s story are even more multiform and long-lived than the vampire himself. They demonstrate how adaptation is the lifeblood of the Gothic, the means by which it sustains itself, evolves, and meets its moment. For this Special Issue of Humanities, we invite proposals for essays that investigate the many forms and functions of Gothic adaptation.
These essays might consider but are no means limited to the following questions.
- How, and to what extent, might adaptation be considered a Gothic practice? How might it involve not only shape-shifting but also vampirism, hybridity, the uncanny, narrative complexity, and other key features of the Gothic?
- In transnational forms such as manga and anime, how are intermedial and intercultural Gothic adaptation related?
- How might adaptation (further) involve queer Gothic texts, and how do queer adaptations relate to their queer or heteronormative antecedents?
- Might Gothic adaptation be construed not as a one-way process, but as a conversation between or among texts? Is it possible to extrapolate a narrative that at once expresses itself within and transcends original and adapted iterations?
- How are tensions between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture explored and expressed in intermedial and/or intercultural Gothic adaptation? What happens when novels become games or comics; or, conversely, when ‘low’ forms are ‘elevated’?
- How might Gothic texts engage in a palimpsestic intertextuality of multiple media involving, for instance, film, novel, graphic novel, theatre, poetry, and serial television? How should we understand a multi-adapted text?
- Where and how do the Gothic and the Surreal intersect in an occularcentric twenty-first century that privileges the visual when adapting any text, written or otherwise?
- How might the Gothic assume a significant role in a pedagogy of adaptation? How does the study of Gothic texts in pedagogical contexts expand adaptation studies?
- In what ways have Gothic texts been the subjects of sustained and intensive cultural reworkings, retellings, and/or homogenized reiterations, and what politics underwrite such processes?