FARMINGTON — Adaptations in the arts have long been a common occurrence where the audience has the opportunity to experience previous content in a new genre and from a fresh perspective. A scholarly exploration of this process of transformation throughout the arts will be presented at a two-day international conference at the University of Maine at Farmington.

The conference “Adaptations in the Arts: Theory and Practice” will take place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Thursday, April 28, and 9 a.m. to noon, Friday, April 29, in the Emery Community Arts Center at UMF. All events are free and open to the public.

Co-sponsored by UMF and the Université du Maine in Le Mans, France, the conference will feature presentations on the theory and practice of adaptation throughout the arts, including literature, film, music, theatre and the visual arts.

Truly international in scope, the conference includes scholars from South Africa, Canada, and multiple universities in France and the U.S. Genres considered will range from classical texts (translations of Catullus) to contemporary biopics. Areas of particular focus will include adaptation in film and the visual arts, translation and cross-cultural adaptation and the impact of history and ideology on acts of adaptation.

Thomas Leitch, professor in the Department of English at the University of Delaware, will present Thursday’s keynote address, “American Cinema versus American Literature.” Leitch has published extensively on narrative theory, genre theory and popular culture. In addition to two books on Alfred Hitchcock and one on “Perry Mason,” he has written “Crime Films,” which was nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe Award in 2003.

His most recent books are “A Companion to Alfred Hitchcock,” coedited with Leland Poague, and the forthcoming “Wikipedia U: Paradoxes of Authority in Liberal Education and Online Research.” For the past ten years, most of his work—especially “Film Adaptation and Its Discontents: From Gone with the Wind to The Passion of the Christ”—has focused on the process of textual adaptation and its broader implications for the teaching of English.

Friday’s keynote address, “Sins of Omission: Paradise Lost and Hollywood Cinema” will be presented by Eric Brown, UMF professor of English. Brown is the author of “Milton on Film.” He has been a visiting professor at Harvard University, where he was also a postdoctoral fellow in Renaissance studies, and at the Université du Maine in Le Mans, France. He spent a year as a Fulbright scholar at the University of Bergen, Norway, and has published extensively on such figures as Shakespeare, Milton, Spenser, Sidney, Donne and Marlowe. He is editor of “Insect Poetics,” an interdisciplinary collection that theorizes insects in a variety of texts and contexts and coeditor of “Shakespeare in Performance.”

The conference is the fifth in a series of scholarly meetings co-sponsored by UMF and its partners at the Université du Maine. These meetings take place in an atmosphere of scholarly cooperation between our two institutions, including faculty residencies and exchanges, student exchanges and collaborative editing of scholarly volumes.

The organizers are grateful for support from the Maine Humanities Council, the UMF Provost’s Office and the UMF Division of Humanities.

FMI: [email protected], 207-778-7422.


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