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date: 19 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Adaptation studies and adaptation scholars have persistently been faulted for theoretical failure. Developing the argument that this critique is the fallout of a dysfunctional relationship between adaptation and theorization in the humanities, this essay examines particular problems that have arisen in adaptation scholarship as a result of adaptation’s and theorization’s impasses: tensions between theoretical nostalgia and theoretical progressivism, theoretical sprawl, failures in citation, mythological field histories, and transtheoretical field myths, most notably the claim that adaptation studies has been primarily concerned with fidelity of adapting to adapted work. This is untrue. The essay concludes that scholars instead attend to and critique our attempts to force adaptations to be faithful to theories that all too often obscure, neglect, and abuse adaptation.

Keywords: adaptation, theorization, scholarship, field myths, fidelity

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