Our goal in this seminar is to find new ways of teaching Dickens, the nineteenth-century novel, and fiction more generally via adaptation. We’ll talk about what adaptation is and is not, or rather, what it can be, what it can mean, and what it can do—for us as readers and as teachers—and for our students. I don’t cling to a restrictive definition of “adaptation,” but rather embrace it as a rather commodious term that can signify a wide range of intertextual connections as they inform interpretive acts of artistic production. We'll talk more terminology in our first few sessions.
In designing this seminar, I selected texts (novels and plays) and films that engage with their originary novels in interesting and provocative ways. I selected scholarship that would introduce participants to ideas that were engaging or fresh. As a participant in the seminar you won’t like everything we read or watch, but I hope that everything we read (or watch) and discuss will help you to read and think in some new ways. In the end, I hope that the seminar will affect in some way how and what you teach, as you find ways to bring the lessons of the seminar to your own classrooms. This will happen in lots of different ways, and I hope that you will all share with one another your evolving lesson plans as well as your successes and failures in teaching (with, through) adaptations and in getting your students to read (and think) adaptively.