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date: 18 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter addresses the plenitude of adaptations from Dickens’s fiction to performance media since his death in 1870. The first half considers how Dickens helps us to think about theories of adaptation and what makes Dickens’s fiction—conceived through performance—so suitable for rendering into such varied forms as theatre, cinema, radio, and television. The second half examines key adaptations of Oliver Twist, Dickens’s second-most-adapted work. Adapters serve as interpreters of the novel, not only choosing to dramatize what interests them or what works well in performance but also offering a particular vision of what the text means, at least for the moment. Actors make performance choices that reveal problems and possibilities within both adaptation and source. Dickens’s rich legacy of adaptation demonstrates his fiction’s flexibility as a vehicle to comment on contemporary cultural, political, and social concerns.

Keywords: Dickens, adaptation, theatre, film, television, radio, musicals, performance, Oliver Twist, Oliver!

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