Thoughts on Gatsby: A definition of the word “adaptation”

8 May

According to the OED (that bastion of all things English language) an adaptation (n) is “the application of something to a particular end or purpose; the action of applying one thing to another or of bringing two things together so as to effect a change in the nature of the objects”.

Let’s get that one more time, shall we?

“The application of something to a particular end or purpose; the action of applying one thing to another or of bringing two things together so as to effect a change in the nature of the objects.”

Now for your Wednesday morning philosophical coffee break: if an adaptation is supposed to effect change in the nature of the objects, can there be such a thing as a faithful adaptation? And if there cannot, logically, be a faithful adaptation because then no change to either object would be effected, is it not reasonable to conclude that book-to-film adaptations are by their very definition precluded from being “faithful”, consequently leaving the disaffected English majors currently spewing their Baz Luhrmann-fueled vitriol all over the Interwebs floundering in bottomless pits of their own meaningless literary criticism? (As a former English person, myself, I say this with the greatest possible affection.)

Hate Gatsby. Love Gatsby. But do it as a film critic, not a literary critic. Because guess what? Gatsby isn’t a book! It’s a movie! With a pretty rockin’ and inventive soundtrack, flashy costumes and interesting cinematography.

I have tickets to see Gatsby at 7 pm on Friday evening, and I cannot wait. In the meantime I am avoiding all reviews and leave you with this observation: if you didn’t like Romeo + Juliet, you should probably go see Iron Man 5000 instead.

Cheers, to that.

Warner Bros. / YouTube Screen Capture

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One Response to “Thoughts on Gatsby: A definition of the word “adaptation””

  1. farahcolette May 8, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    HEAR HEAR. (Also, I saw Iron Man 5000. It is tiresome.)

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