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Adaptation as Education: A Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District

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Changing perceptions is a learning process. When Shakespeare's play text Macbeth was appropriated by Nikolai Leskov in his novella A Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District (1865), which was adapted by Dmitri Shostakovich and remediated into the opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (1934), which was adapted again and remediated into an opera film by Shapiro as Katerina Ismailova in 1967, each new remediation carried the politics of theatrical performance inherent in Shakespeare's play, and thus the education of those who read or participated in the performance of each manifestation of the adaptation. Through discussion of the changes that take place as Shakespeare's Macbeth is remediated to A Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk in Russian literature, and Soviet opera and opera on film, I argue that each historically situated remediation presented a coded criticism of the way in which the authorities ruled and educated the Russian nation: adaptation as education.
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Keywords: adaptation; appropriation; education; learning process; remediation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Sheffield.

Publication date: 07 November 2007

More about this publication?
  • Adaptation, or the conversion of oral, historical or fictional narratives into stage drama has been common practice for centuries. In our own time the processes of cross-generic transformation continue to be extremely important in theatre as well as in the film and other media industries. Adaptation and the related areas of translation and intertextuality continue to have a central place in our culture with a profound resonance across our civilisation.
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