Introduction
Shakespeare meets genre film
in Cowboy Hamlets and zombie Romeos
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The chapter presents the book’s main thesis, arguing for a genre-based interpretation of film adaptations of literary works and pointing out the advantages of such a method over the traditional fidelity-based approach. It reflects briefly on the historical development of genre studies, and on the absence of genre as a central element from both mainstream and more recent adaptation criticism, particularly Shakespeare on screen studies. Since 2010, Shakespeare adaptation research has turned increasingly towards new media and the destabilisation of several fundamental concepts, including film, adaptation, even Shakespeare, or the changes associated with the digitally networked participation characterising contemporary cultural production and consumption. The concept of the rhizome and its use in rhizomatic adaptation criticism is also considered; the applicability of the concept for the genre-based research exemplified by the volume is pointed out. The chapter, however, confirms its belief in the broad applicability of generic categories and encourages the use of this method of adaptation analysis for screen products based on non-Shakespearean literary sources as well. The final section of the chapter describes the criteria of selecting the films included in the volume and offers a brief overview of the book’s structure.

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