I was told before I started work that the specifics of the topic would change a thousand times, so I’m going to assume that I have approximately 999 shifts in topic left to go!
After realizing that what I wanted to do had pretty much been done by Dobson, Worthen, and others, I decided for a pretty substantial change. The topic now includes the plays of Marlowe and Middleton and will likely focus on editing and editions of the texts and how those relate to adaptation.
As I’ve learned (and probably should have expected), it’s much easier to find stuff written about Shakespeare and adaptation than it is to find stuff written about either Marlowe or Middleton and adaptation. The Exeter library provided several copies of their more famous plays (I’ve never seen so much Doctor Faustus in one place before!) but not much criticism or commentary. A search of online journals and bibliographies has been slightly more helpful, but it remains my experience that there is an overwhelming avalanche of writing on Shakespeare and adaptation and a much smaller mole-hill of writing on his contemporaries and adaptation. This is both concerning and comforting: concerning because it gives me less to work with and raises a very real danger of skewing the dissertation in favour of Shakespeare, comforting because it means that at least I’m proposing something that hasn’t been done to death.
Some key questions have come up as I’ve begun to research this new topic, and I’d love to hear thoughts on any of them:
*Does a Folio/quarto/’original’ text lend itself to a certain kind of adaptation?
*Similarly, does working from a particular modern edition of a text affect the way(s) in which a text is adapted?
*To what extent is choosing which text to work from an adaptive act in and of itself?
Additionally, if anyone out there has some suggestions for Marlowe and Middleton-related sources, I’d be much obliged!