In the process of preparing for my Survey of Literature I course in the fall, I have been looking for adaptations of the major texts we will be studying, especially contemporary examples that would serve as points of comparison for my students. Both Beowulf and William Shakespeare’s King Lear have a wealth of adaptations both old and new. Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and John Milton’s Paradise Lost have many fewer adaptations, but enough to serve my purpose. Edmund Spencer’s The Faerie Queene, however, has been almost entirely ignored by adaptors, at least as far as I can tell. The title shows up in various places, like Henry Purcell’s semi-opera, but not often attached to adaptations of Spencer’s text. The narrative of St. George and the dragon has been retold in different ways, but this is only a very small part of the work.
I am at a loss, so consider this a general call to adapt The Faerie Queene. An opera would be lovely, something really heroic in the style of the German romantics. I would also like a theatrical version in an impressionist mode, a little abstract, a little surreal. A film would even be acceptable, so long as it avoided casting anyone remotely recognizable as a Hollywood star. I also want a graphic novel, but with full page illustrations, not the comic style boxes, something vaguely artistic. In place of this I would also take a cycle of illustrations, preferably by someone interesting, like Dave McKean or Yoshitaka Amano.
So there it is. Go do it. You have until September.