Trends We Hope To See Gone

June 25th, 2004 · No Comments
by Booksquare

Don’t get us wrong — we channel coversations with our literary heroes all the time. But that’s as far as we take it. We don’t presume to know what, oh, Edith Wharton was thinking and feeling. And we suspect anything we conjured would pale in comparison to reality (either that or end up too fantastic to be believed). So we find the trend of putting words into the mouths of dead authors to be a bit disturbing. Especially the part where actual quotes from the author’s work frames their actions. If we have the sequencing right, that’s a bit like a real person creating a fictional (based on a historical) character who uses the words of a fictional character created by the real historical person behind Character 1 to limn Real Person 2. We probably missed a step, but you get the idea.

Disturbed as we are by the concept, we are still able to see the beauty in a brilliant idea. Something tells us an eager beaver second assistant to someone will be pitching this to Hollywood types first thing this morning.

In 1876, the year “Deadwood” takes place, Henry James moved to London. What if he had headed west instead? I like to imagine Henry wandering through Deadwood, stepping into the Gem saloon where he would be offered whiskey and women in the most colorful language he has yet to hear. He would decline, of course, in sentences of infinite length and eloquence. He would be waiting for William. And maybe Frank and Jesse. “The James Boys in Deadwood” could be the ultimate cannibal fantasy.

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