Graduation Year

Spring 2012

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Media Studies

Second Department


Reader 1

John Peavoy

Reader 2

James Morrison

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Rights Information

© 2012 Jane F. Eberts


When the topic of ‘adaptation’ is brought up, more often than not the coupling of a novel and its most recent Hollywood hit come to mind. Although it may not be at the forefront of the general population’s mind, adaptation is something that we encounter often, and consciously or not, we all have our own theory on the subject. While it may seem that the evolution of book series, to film adaptation, to booming franchise may be recently trending with the acceleration of blockbusters such as Harry Potter, adaptation has been a fundamental part of the advancement of media. This paper looks at film and television adaptations founded outside of the literary canon, exploring the discourse of what constitutes high or mass culture and how the medium of the adaptation fits or breaks the conventions that “classic” film adaptation has established. In addition, the medium-specific differences between film and television will be examined for how they limit or enhance a literary adaptation, whether it is a single novel or a series. What happens to the critique of an adaptation when it extends past the narrative created in the source text, opposed to the adaptation that begins and ends with the source narrative? In addition, adaptations will be looked at through a contextual and historical lens, rather than a moralistic or hierarchical lens, producing a criticism that incorporates the differences among the media involved in adaptations.