What's Wrong With Paying Homage To A Literary Classic By Writing A Sequel?
from the trying-to-figure-it-out dept
Against Monopoly points us to a NY Times article that discusses some of the recent "controversies" over unauthorized sequels/prequels/re-imaginings of certain classic books, including the ban on an unauthorized "sequel" to Catcher in the Rye -- as well as the awesome addition of zombies to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, now known as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. But the key point is made towards the end:
Yet the urge to write sequels and prequels is almost always an homage of sorts. We don't want more of books we hate. The books that get re-written and re-imagined are beloved. We don't want them ever to be over. We pay them the great compliment of imagining that they're almost real: that there must be more to the story, and that characters we know so well -- Elizabeth Bennet, for one, or Sherlock Holmes, who has probably inspired more sequels than any other fictional being -- must have more to their lives. In a couple of quite good sequels recently -- "A Slight Trick of the Mind," by Mitch Cullin, and "Final Solution: A Story of Detection," by Michael Chabon -- we even get to watch Holmes grow old and discover love of a sort.And, then when you think about it, if copyright is designed to encourage more creativity, wouldn't these sorts of re-imaginings of already existing fictional worlds fit that criteria exactly?
Certain books are more than mere texts -- words on a page or, these days, an electronic reading device. They're part of our mental furniture. And yet it's their familiarity, their well-wornness, that makes them such tempting targets. If zombies were to turn up, for example, in Mrs. Gaskell's "Cranford," it wouldn't be nearly so funny.