Szwydky Publishes Co-Edited Book 'Adaptation Before Cinema'

Lissette Lopez Szwydky and Glenn Jellenik
University Relations/Photo Submitted

Lissette Lopez Szwydky and Glenn Jellenik

This spring, English professor Lissette Lopez Szwydky published Adaptation Before Cinema: Literary and Visual Convergence from Antiquity through the Nineteen Century, a collection of essays. Szwydky co-edited the volume with Glenn Jellenik, English professor at the University of Central Arkansas. Both scholars specialize in literature and popular culture of the 18th and 19th centuries through the present and publish regularly on topics related to transmedia adaptation, comparative media and cultural history.

Adaptation Before Cinema is part of the Palgrave Studies series focused on adaptation and visual culture and available through Springer International.

Szwydky and Jellenik's collection of essays traces adaptation practices applied from the Middle Ages through the 19th century that "continue to inform adaptation practices in the 21st century transmedia landscape." Until recently, most texts of adaptation studies have addressed an audience limited to film and media specialists. Adaptation Before Cinema seeks to engage literary and cultural scholars, as well, by focusing on "a range of pre-cinematic media forms, including theater, novelization, painting and illustration, transmedia art, children's media, and other literary and visual culture."

Bookcover of Adaptation Before CinemaSzwydky also wrote the concluding chapter: "Transmedia Cultural History, Convergence Culture, and the Future of Adaptation Studies." Likewise included is a chapter — "Alice, Animals, and Adaptation: John Tenniel's Influence on Wonderland and Its Early Adaptation History" — written by Kristen Figgins, a '21 Ph.D. alum and current lecturer in English and gender studies.

Additional chapters from scholars from the U.S., U.K. and Austria focus on pre-cinematic adaptation trends related to classical stories of human bondage, Medea, Shakespeare, the poetry of Henry More, the rise of the novel during the Romantic era, early theatrical adaptations of Frankenstein and The Vampyre, the art and poetry of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and antebellum children's illustrated books.

Along with being a faculty member in the Department of English, Szwydky is the associate director of the U of A Humanities Center. In addition, she co-directs with professor Sean Connors of the College of Education the NEH-funded Summer Institute for K-12 Educators, Remaking Monsters and Heroines: Adapting Classic Literature for Contemporary Audiences.

Also this spring, Szwydky published the essay "Penny Dreadful's Palimpsestuous Bride of Frankenstein" in the collection Penny Dreadful and Adaptation: Reanimating and Transforming the Monster, likewise published by Spring International and included in the Palgrave Studies series focused on adaptation and visual culture.


Leigh Sparks, assistant director of the graduate program in English
Department of English


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