Posts Tagged ‘rewriting novels’

I’m totally against rewriting books because the modern eye might find something offensive. A book is a cultural artefact and it takes up elements of the writer’s life unwittingly and altering that distorts the cultural artefact, destroys it.

I like reading older books that need footnotes or endnotes to provide a modern contexts for a mention or an expression of something. As a reader I’m interested because it reminds me how things have changed and are changing all the time.

A major thrust of my thesis is how romance novels, the oft scorned Mills & Boon from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, contain elements of feminism because that it was one of the huge cultural changes of the time. Discussions about women working, women as mothers with careers, child care, domestic violence, rape, equal rights, equal pay…or even just the fight of a woman to be respected for what she could do and not what she looked like.

I think we need to look back at literature (I include genre here) to get a glimpse of the fears, the culture, the life (fictional and otherwise) that existed then.

Where would we be without Austen and the middle class obsession with getting a husband and society’s constraints? Or Dickens, whose work does contain anti semitism in depictions of characters. To erase that, erases the evidence that society was anti semitic.

Literature can chart how society changes because it inherently captures elements of the author’s habitus, their hopes, fears, experiences intermingled with their fiction.

I’m rather fond of a footnote.

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