Friday, June 26, 2009

Stolen Characters

Did you know that Mr. Darcy was a vampire? Or that Sherlock Holmes tried but failed to solve the identity of Jack the Ripper?


Yeah, me too.

Maybe this shouldn't bother me so much, but something inside me recoils when I find a modern writer borrowing a dead author's character.

It just doesn't seem fair that someone, who wasn't even alive when the original novel released, can now add to Jane Eyre's story. Or that somebody besides Margret Mitchell can put Rhett and Scarlet back together? Can it even count?

For this week's poll, what are your thoughts about this


Debra E Marvin said...

I know that I was excited when the sequel to Gone with the Wind came out. Of course it was panned and I admit I was a bit disappointed. Who wouldn't be? The characters are the same but a writer can't successfully have the same voice and we saw that. But i did enjoy spending more time with Scarlett and Rhett. And now I see them walking along the waterfront in Charleston!

Nonetheless, when the character becomes an icon I think it's okay to give it a shot. I'd never try it myself.
Let's see if Sherlock Holmes can solve that old Jack the Ripper case.

Laura Davis said...

Mr. Darcy as a vampire? Heaven forbid!

Veronika said...

I voted yes, but there's a HUGE qualifier: You'd better make DARN sure that your "borrowing" is actually "borrowing," not rewriting a character, and that's where I have my biggest peeve.

Chestertonian Rambler said...

I vote yes entirely.

Partially that's because I grew up reading Lewis, whose Narnia chronicles are full of nothing but repurposed characters from Classical, Medieval and Renaissance literature.

Everyone inherits their love of literature from the past, and good authors change what they inherit in order to make it new and exciting. I don't see how there is any problem with the author who recognizes this fact.