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23916Re: RPG fiction

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  • davise@cs.nyu.edu
    Dec 19, 2012
      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "David Bratman" <dbratman@...> wrote:

      > "John Davis" <john@...> wrote:

      You are (understandably) confusing your Davises. These two were my posts (Ernie).

      > > If they're fans of the _work_ rather than fans of the _author_, then the
      > > author's preferences matter less.
      > Hairsplitting. Redefinitions to produce the desired result.

      I don't think so. The respect that needs to be paid to an author's preferences as opposed to the work of art, like the respect that needs to be paid to the intentions of the framers of Constitution as opposed to its text, is a significant question on which opinions differ.

      Bratman wrote
      > We properly use earlier templates to create our own art by using it > as a
      springboard for something original. Tolkien used Norse
      > mythology, medieval quest tales, Edwardian adventure fiction,
      > Catholic mythology, and other templates, stirred them together in
      > his famous Cauldron of Story, and ladled out something new and
      > original that's obviously inspired by, but different from, his
      > templates. Even the crudest of the Tolclones at least invented
      > new names for their xeroxed characters.

      Davis (Ernie) responded
      > > But a lot of great art is much more nearly a copy of a previous original
      > > than that e.g. much of Chaucer, almost all of Shakespeare.

      Bratman answered
      > Have you noticed that the literarily prestigious examples of this, at least
      > in English literature, all date from before the mid-17th century?

      I'm not sure how that affects the aesthetic question. In any case there are many many excellent modern movie/TV series/operas/plays that closely follow modern sources (too many and obvious to be worth giving examples). There are even cases where the source and the copy are within the same form: e.g. The Threepenny Opera follows the Beggars' Opera (admittedly not in English literature, but not sure why that distinction would matter.)

      There are several cases of modern novels and poems that follow older sources fairly closely e.g.
      The Once and Future King, T.H. White (follows Mallory quite closely in long sections)
      Joseph and his Brothers, by Thomas Mann (again not English)
      Sigurd and Gudrun, by J.R.R. Tolkien.

      There are quite a few cases of modern novels that use other modern novels as points of departure without following closely e.g. Sargasso Sea.

      I admit I cannot think of a case where a literary significant modern novel or poem closely follows source material by a different author more recent than Mallory. That is, I can't think of a modern case that is similar to Chaucer following the older contemporary Boccacio. But that seems like a rather thin point, and not particularly relevant to Jackson's treatment of Tolkien.

      So my point is: There is nothing inherently wrong with Jackson closely following LotR; on the contrary, he should have followed it more closely. The problem with Jackson is that he should have done a better job of it.
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