English Theatre Culture 1660-1737

Adaptations, Appropriations and Afterlives on Restoration Stages

19 October 2020 (online)

seminar convenor: Dr Filip Krajník (Masaryk University, CZ)

keynote speaker: Assoc. Prof. Theresa Grant (University of Warwick, UK)

“In the realm of literature influence may be strong, and shaping inspiration powerful,

even when the work so inspired is completely alien to the inspiring force.”

(Allardyce Nicoll, A History of English drama, 1660–1900)

Declared adaptations and revivals of older plays comprised more than a half of all the productions of London playhouses between 1660 and 1700. Although they contributed in a decisive way to the overall image of the English Restoration theatre, any inquiry into Restoration adaptations poses a methodological challenge: while even nowadays theatre scholars maintain that “[a]daptation is a slippery term, and like dramaturgy, it eludes definition because it is so context specific” (Kara Reilly, Contemporary Approaches to Adaptation in Theatre), mapping the modern concept of adaptation onto early modern drama is potentially anachronistic. Moreover, the Restoration period was probably the first era that acknowledged a dramaturgy from within living memory – the plays of Shakespeare, Fletcher, Massinger, Dekker or Jonson – which its playwrights took as one of their key sources of inspiration. A special, and even more complex, chapter in researching Restoration adaptations is foreign sources and influences – predominantly French, Italian and Spanish, but also German and Dutch – and the creative milieu of transnational theatre of the early modern period.

The seminar invites papers on Restoration adaptations for the theatre, whose topics might include (but are not limited to) the following issues:

      • defining Restoration adaptation – possible methodological approaches;
      • Restoration playwrights’ treatment of domestic and foreign sources;
      • transnational dramaturgies of the Restoration;
      • revivals of pre-1660 plays: continuity and discontinuity between the Renaissance and Restoration theatre traditions;
      • adaptation across forms and genres;
      • plagiarism, theft and the early politics of possessive authorship in the Restoration period.

We welcome a variety of paper formats, from short interventions and notes, to full conference papers.

Please send your abstract (of no more than 250 words) to Filip Krajník (filip.krajnik@phil.muni.cz) by September 15, 2020.

We expect that accepted papers or paper theses should be pre-circulated to seminar participants in advance. The format of the seminar will be a moderated discussion based on the pre-circulated contributions and short (up to 10 minute) presentations of their main thesis on the day.

Registered, non-presenting auditors are welcome.

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