The Art of Adaptation in Literature, Games, and Film

co-taught with Dr. Matt Wranovix, History
(full syllabus here)

How is it that the same event can be narrated differently in four different newspapers? Why do interpretations of historical events and persons change across time? How do stories change when transposed from one medium to another, from poetry to prose or novel to film? In this course, students will be introduced to theories of narrative and adaptation while reading stories that have been adapted across time periods, locations, and modes of composition. Students will learn to interpret adaptations across a variety of media (Re-tellings of Little Red Riding Hood, dramatic adaptations of Frankenstein, and film adaptations of Shakespeare, to name a few). Students will then participate in an interactive Reacting to the Past role-playing game adapted from The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. For the final project, students will put these theories to work by first creating a digital edition of a chosen text that will highlight how the text has been adapted. Then students will adapt that story themselves into a [day-long] role-playing game to be played on campus in the following semester.

Final Projects Used for Honors Common Read

Fall 2019: An edition of Antigone, created by Gabby Goldman, was shared with students through Blackboard using Hypothesis LMS app.
Fall 2018: An edition of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid” was created by Jordan Greene (additional editorial work by Dr. Matt Wranovix)
Fall 2017: An edition of “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” was created by Evgenia Kvitko and Amanda Roche Arbolaez

Related Publications

  • Isbell, Mary. “Editing the Public Domain With Undergraduate Students: Studying Literature With Collaborative Annotation and Digital Publication.” Course-Based Undergraduate Research: Educational Equity and High-Impact Practice, edited by Nancy H. Hensel, Stylus Publishing, 2018.
  • Isbell, Mary and Matthew Wranovix. “The Digital Common Read: Creating a Space for Authentic Engagement with Social Annotation.” Honors Education in the Digital Age: Special issue of Journal of the European Honors Council. 4.1 (forthcoming, 2020).