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Re: [mythsoc] Re: Copyright Loremasters?

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  • dale nelson
    Paula, thanks! I think we can state that this is established: both classic ancient writers (e.g. Vergil taking up Homer) and important modern authors have
    Message 1 of 49 , May 6, 2011
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      Paula, thanks!

      I think we can state that this is established: both classic ancient writers (e.g. Vergil taking up Homer) and important modern authors have written work of real literary value as prequel/sequel/continuation of other authors' work.  Indeed, I suppose there has never been a time when this form of creativity was completely suspended.

      Dale


      From: Paula Bergstrom <paulabergstrom@...>
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Fri, May 6, 2011 12:57:53 PM
      Subject: RE: [mythsoc] Re: Copyright Loremasters?

       

      Can anyone name examples of fiction of this type that can make a higher claim than "provides harmless fun"? 


      Dale,

      I attended a seminar for aspiring writers given by Hugh Ferrer (Univ. of Iowa International Writing Program) whose view was that there is 'a great dialog' going on in literature/fiction - that authors often respond to other books/stories when they write, that authors can't help but borrow/stand on the shoulders of others if they'd done alot of reading, and that books 'talk' to each other.

      Some of the ways authors respond to other works (pastiche, homage, parody):

      Eugene O'Neill retells Greek tragedy
      'Netherland' retells 'Great Gatsby'
      'Things Fall Apart' responds (or talks back) to 'Heart of Darkness'
      'A Thousand Acres' responds (or talks back) to 'King Lear'
      Cervantes (Don Quixote) responds to (or corrects?)  chivalric romances

      Spin-offs (minor character of another work is made major): Wide Sargasso Sea (prequel to Jane Eyre), Ahab's Wife, etc.

      I've been working on a spin-off for a few years and what I've gained from the process is that writing a long story is ALOT of work, organization, craft, etc. (even with a borrowed character) and these days I am more open to the idea of fan fiction and tend to 'roll my eyes' more at certain academic questions/articles. {'They should try writing a long story' is my response to some academic authors 'before confidently asserting what Tolkien was doing.'}

      I also think that a fan fiction writer is often answering (or pursuing) a 'what if' question that has arisen as a response to a story, while academic types are responding to (and getting alot of satisfaction from attempting to answer) a different set of questions. Both questions have been triggered by the story/material, both types of writers are engaged with the material.

      Paula


      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      From: extollager2006@...
      Date: Fri, 6 May 2011 07:05:27 -0700
      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Re: Copyright Loremasters?

       

      I haven't read any of these: but didn't Philip Jose Farmer and some other authors write a whole series of books -- without permission of authors' heirs/publishers -- featuring popular characters such as Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan, Doc Savage, James Bond (?), and others?  I think in some cases the names were changed but who was meant was made clear to the reader by cover art and story details.  The idea of these "Wold Newton" books is that all of these characters were affected by rays emanating from a meteorite (or something like that), giving them their powers.

      Here the motive for writing seems to be tongue-in-cheek fun (and to make money).  I could see someone, though, to use my hypothetical Inklings example, wanting to attempt a novel in the Charles Williams vein, trying to write a thriller that had serious elements, as in Williams's middle novels.  Such a writer might decide that having Giles Tumulty in the story could be a way to signal his or her intention to do just that.

      Can anyone name examples of fiction of this type that can make a higher claim than "provides harmless fun"?  One commenter mentioned Verlyn Flieger's "Green Hill Country" (which I haven't read but expect to read soon) in such a way as to seem to me to suggest that it is something more than just a clever entertainment.  (I was intrigued by the title immediately, since that three-word name from LOTR has attracted me for many years.)

      Dale


      From: Westermeyer GS11 Paul W <paul.westermeyer@...>
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Fri, May 6, 2011 7:28:57 AM
      Subject: [mythsoc] Re: Copyright Loremasters?

       
      The Flashman novels by George MacDonald Fraser are based on a character from Thomas Hughes' 'Tom Brown's School Days' and Fraser's novels, IMO, far surpass the progenitor in literary quality. Most 'classic' literature is derivative work, if it was good enough for Homer it really should be good enough for us, IMO.

      Originality is laudable, but we should not demean the creative genius required to take someone else's character into new directions.




    • John Rateliff
      Yes, as David says, it s a great story. The closing sentence is particularly memorable -- but there s no way to share it with anyone without spoiling the
      Message 49 of 49 , May 10, 2011
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        Yes, as David says, it's a great story. The closing sentence is particularly memorable -- but there's no way to share it with anyone without spoiling the story. It's not that often I call something a masterpiece, but "The Ugly Chickens" is one.
           --John R.



        On May 9, 2011, at 8:23 AM, Mem Morman wrote:
        I found the Walpole story on the web and read it this morning.  It made my day.  You go read it too.
        mem



        -- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, David Bratman <dbratman@...> wrote:
        > His most ingenious story ever was called "The Ugly Chickens". It starts with an ornithologist idly leafing through a book of extinct birds while riding a bus, and the old lady sitting next to him stops him when he gets to the dodo and says, "I haven't seen any of those ugly chickens in a long time." But the dodo has been extinct for centuries; how could she possibly ever have seen any? Well, it turns out that the dodo hadn't gone extinct; it has a hidden history that he spends the story uncovering, and it turns out that ... oh, read it. Great story.


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