Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fan Fiction Update...and Bronte Connection!

NPR’s The Bryan Park Project has a story, “Fan Fiction Writers Face Nonfiction Legal Hurdles,” about the ORGANIZATION FOR TRANSFORMATIVE WORKS, which “is a nonprofit organization established by fans to serve the interests of fans by providing access to and preserving the history of fanworks and fan culture in its myriad forms.” Looks pretty interesting, especially considering the academics and lawyers that are part of the founding group.

I learned yesterday that George Norman Lippert is the author of a successful fanfic series based on Harry Potters’s oldest son, and J.K. Rowling approves! Lippert’s first novel in the series, James Potter and the Hall of Elders’ Crossing, “details the adventures of Harry’s firstborn son, James, as he begins his wizarding career in the shadow of his legendary father.” The upcoming sequel, James Potter and the Curse of the Gatekeeper, is due to be released on-line in September. According to the story I read, "Lippert’s story has even spawned its own genre of fan-fiction. 'People ask my permission if they can write their own stories based on my James Potter adventures. It feels extremely weird, but I always tell them to go for it and have fun. It’s all about the story.'” You can download the pdf here. I printed out the first 120 pages for my son last night--I'll let you know if he likes it!

“The rise of fan fiction and comic book culture: From book-burning and prohibition to Pulitzer Prizes and prestige,” by Michael Saler reviews two books, including Michael Chabon’s “Maps and Legends, Reading and writing along the Borderlands,” which is a collection of essays that essentially celebrate the legitimacy of mass culture (genre writing) and by extension, fan fiction. To quote Saler quoting Chabon: “All novels are sequels; influence is bliss,” and “All literature, highbrow or low, from the Aeneid onward, is fan fiction.” I'm on the wait list for Chabon's book at my library--I hope to be able to read/blog on it soon.


Now that I’m done with Gaskell’s Bronte bio, though I haven’t finished posting about it, I thought I would reread a little book of essays my brother Mark picked up for me when he visited Haworth last year. It’s called The Bronte Influence, edited by Charmian Knight and Patsy Stoneman. After just finishing Saler’s article I was a bit surprised to find myself once more reading about fanfic in the “Introduction” by Stoneman, although not overtly but she does end with the following paragraph:

This notion of the literary text as “inside a system in movement” allows us to move away from the Romantic idea of absolute originality as the mark of genius, and also from the idea that the only way to honour a “great” text is to leave it strictly alone. Accepting this idea of literature as inevitably intertextual, we open up the possibility of defining a “classic” text not as one that defies imitation but as one that invites it.

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