Adaptation and Recycling in Convergent Cultural Polysystems: A Case Study



This paper aims at presenting and discussing the fndings of a research project that employs Polysystem Theory (Even-Zohar 1978; 2010) in mapping some of the contributions flm industry has brought to the Brazilian literary and cultural systems. The focus of the project is on the editorial boom and recycling of J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy The Lord of the Rings brought about by Peter Jackson’s homonymous flm versions and the several texts and cultural products synergically launched in the same period and afterwards. The research demonstrates that flm adaptations of literary works in a convergent context (Jenkins 2006) may renew and enrich the original text, as well as rearrange its role and position within both source and target literary systems by introducing it to new audiences. By adapting the literary work into new texts and to new readers, this recycling process performs what Walter Benjamin conceived as translation’s major role: to grant the original text “afterlife”.

Keywords: literary polysystems, adaptation, cinema, recycling, J.R.R. Tolkien