Pop-up Books: Spectacle and Story

  • Kate Newell
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Adaptation and Visual Culture book series (PSADVC)


This chapter focuses on movable books as a unique form of adaptation. Pop-up adaptations contribute to a given adaptation network by isolating scenes and moments and by reinforcing through repetition a synecdochic approach to reading literature. In the rendering of three-dimensionality with a two-dimensional medium, pop-up books draw attention to the role perception, expectation, and habit play in constructing boundaries between media. The chapter begins with a brief overview of the genre of movable books and pop-ups. I then address strategies used in movable books to heighten user engagement and to challenge expectations for print media. I focus next on two pop-up adaptations of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and explore the manner in which pop-up adaptations of classic works balance fidelity to a prose source against the pop-up’s promise of spectacle and surprise. Borrowing from film historian Tom Gunning’s definitions of “cinema of attractions” and “cinema of narrative integration,” I distinguish between spectacle-focused pop-up adaptations, which I call “literature of attractions,” and narrative-focused pop-up adaptations, which I call “pop-up of narrative integration.” I conclude the chapter with a discussion of book sculpture and the role of fan-produced work in adaptation networks.


Sound Effect Fairy Tale Adaptation Network Paper Engineering Paper Engineer 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kate Newell
    • 1
  1. 1.Savannah College of Art and DesignSavannahUSA

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