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date: 19 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Chapter 5 is an introduction to one of the most contentious concepts in adaptation studies: fidelity, or the idea that a given aesthetic object—traditionally, in adaptation studies, a film—reflects a faithful understanding of its source—traditionally, a literary text, especially a novel, play, or short story. Beginning by acknowledging the vexed history of the term for adaptation studies, especially in its recurring rejection, the essay investigates some representative moments in that history before turning to places where the use of fidelity to investigate adaptations—or what would come to be known as fidelity studies—might have found support. As it continues, the essay challenges the commonly held assumption that journalism is to blame for the recurring fascination with fidelity, and ends by suggesting three possible directions for fidelity in the future of adaptation studies in the years ahead.

Keywords: adaptation studies, fidelity, fidelity studies, adaptation, novel

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