Adaptation implies the ability to evolve and change according to changing environments and demands. It is an ongoing process in all parts of the world and can be applied to many different fields. The term arises in regards to, for example, biological processes, technological advancements or reworkings in the arts (film or literature).

The Many Fields of Adaptation

Adaptation is most prominently discussed in reference to the natural sciences as in, for example, Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and Natural Selection whereby adapting physically or behaviourally to one’s environment is paramount for survival (Brandon, 2014).

Adaptation in the social context refers to individuals or whole communities who, naturally or through external influences, change their habits to persevere. This can include environmental, economic or social changes.

The most visible example of adaptation in this digital era is the technological modifications that are included in each new device that is developed or its software.

Literary Adaptation

Focusing on the literary field, adaptation implies reconstructing a text into a new work within the framework of a new literary genre, medium or focusing on a differing social situation whether this is, for instance, redirecting the narrative to a different time or place. With that in mind, adaptations can vary more or less from the original while ideally retaining the framework of the source text, and with that a certain level of intertextuality (Hutcheon, 2006).

Literary adaptation has commonly occurred when attempting to update or rewrite the respective storyline to remain current and up to date, whether that is, for example, rewriting racist remarks, heteronormative stereotypes or classist narratives (e.g. Haase, 2004; Sanders, 2015).

Literature has always been prone to adaptation whether that is into another text or, beyond that, multimedially: it is not uncommon to see literary inspiration turned into a stage production, movie or audiobook, all of which apply to, for example, The Harry Potter Series. However, due to technological advancements and specifically since the Covid-19 pandemic, literature has seen a vast amount of movie and television series adaptations (Shapiro, 2021).


Brandon, R. N. (2014). Adaptation and environment (Vol. 1040). Princeton University Press.

Haase, D. (Ed.). (2004). Fairy tales and feminism: New approaches. Wayne State University Press.

Hutcheon, L. (2006). A theory of adaptation. Routledge.

Sanders, J. (2015). Adaptation and appropriation. Routledge.

Shapiro, C. (2021). Book-To-Screen Adaptations Are a Pandemic Hit. The Brink - Editor’s Vision.