rough notes

Sidenote: Adaptations, Dambusters, Peter Jackson

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1. The action or process of adapting, fitting, or suiting one thing to another.

1610 HEALEY St. Aug., City of God 743 They..made a very ingenious adaptation of the one to the other. 1646 SIR T. BROWNE Pseud. Ep. III. xi. 130 A commixtion of both in the whole rather than an adaptation or cement of the one unto the other. . . .

2. a. The process of modifying a thing so as to suit new conditions: as, the modification of a piece of music to suit a different instrument or different purpose; the alteration of a dramatic composition to suit a different audience; the alteration of form which a word of one language often undergoes to make it fit the etymological or phonetic system of another, as when the L. adaptationem is taken into Fr. and E. as adaptation.


1. a. The action of interpreting or explaining; explanation, exposition.

. . .

4. The action of translating; a translation or rendering of a book, word, etc. Obs.

1646 SIR T. BROWNE Pseud. Ep. VI. i. 279 Whatsoever Interpretations there have beene since, have been especially effected with reference unto..the Greeke and Hebrew text.



I have given quite a bit of thought over the past couple hours about the subtle nuances that differentiate an adaptation from an interpretation, especially after discovering that the OED cites Thomas Browne to support the definition of both words.

Our culture is more and more obsessed with the remake/cover/copy (dare I say parody or pastiche?) of former events and works. I especially enjoyed recently reading that Peter Jackson and Microsoft Corp had cancelled production of an adapterpretation of the wildly successful video game, Halo, moreso when the article finished by dicussing Jackson’s next project, an adapterpretation of The Dambusters Event, or the film Dam Busters, or both.

For your edification, here are links to an ongoing collective interpretation of events dealing with Operation Chastise, adapted for your viewing screen. Do see the film one day. It is antiquated, and difficult to sit through but a decent piece of narrative history nonetheless.

Written by mitchellirons

November 5, 2006 at 8:57 pm

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