Conversations across the Arts: Adaptations in the Long Eighteenth Century

Ashley Bender's picture
Call for Papers
March 31, 2022 to April 2, 2022
Maryland, United States
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Fine Arts, Literature, Theatre & Performance History / Studies


When we talk about the eighteenth-century and adaptation, we frequently talk about adaptations of eighteenth-century literature and art, often into film. Yet adaptation was a common practice during the eighteenth century as well. From Nahum Tate’s 1681 adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear to William Hogarth’s 1731 representation of a scene from John Gay’s Beggar’s Opera (1728); from Henry Fuseli’s images inspired by, and William Blake’s illustrations for, Dante’s Divine Comedy to the numerous adaptations of Samuel Richardson’s Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (1740), eighteenth-century artists, writers, and composers regularly adapted works of their contemporaries and predecessors into new genres (e.g., novel to opera) and across media (e.g., novel to oil painting), creating what Giuseppe Mazzotta has called a “conversation among the arts.” Drawing on the distinctions Julie Sanders makes between adaptation and appropriation (Adaptation and Appropriation, 2006), we invite papers that explore these phenomenona across the long eighteenth century. We welcome papers on any kind of adaptation in the period, with a particular interest in adaptations across the arts. Please submit abstracts of approximately 300 words to Daniella Berman ( and Ashley Bender ( 

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Ashley Bender:

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