Date of Award

8-7-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Dr. Matthew Roudané

Second Advisor

Dr. Gina Caison

Third Advisor

Dr. Renée Schatteman

Abstract

In this study, I will examine how the theory of adaptation can be applied to selected plays of Paula Vogel. Most of Vogel’s plays are inspired by other works. She responds to canonical texts and adapts them to create new texts with new perceptions. Vogel is influenced by American and European writers. She adapts many writers such as William Shakespeare, David Mamet, Edward Albee, Sam Shepard, and Vladimir Nabokov. She even adapts Bertolt Brecht’s contemporary writer Ödön Von Hovárth. She mediates what she adapts in order to question historical and cultural myths. This study will focus on the European influences on Vogel, and her attempt to adapt their literary works. The study will highlight the fidelity-infidelity relationship between the adapted works (the originals) and Vogel’s plays (the adaptations). Vogel’s adaptations include a process of re-telling that keeps something from the original and changes something else. One of the issues that this study will address is that adaptation is not something inferior. Adapters are not unsuccessful or uncreative writers. They do not get fame through adapting famous, canonical works. Adaptation does not aim to eliminate the adapted work. Hence, the argument here shows that the process of adaptation is not harmful to the adaptation or the original. The adaptation is not a model of plagiarism, and the origin is not a forgotten text, or a text that has been exploited. Adaptation is a form of art. In my study, I will analyze Vogel’s selected plays under the umbrella of the theory of adaptation. I will study both the adaptation and the origin, mapping out the fidelity and infidelity aspects in the adaptation in comparison to the original work and the insight of Vogel behind these aspects of similarities and differences. This comparison of the two texts will be in terms of time, place, culture, and communicative situation. I will reflect on the evaluation and the reception of the readers and critics of the adaptation and the origin as a way to understand Vogel’s point in her rewriting.

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