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View Diary: Character names by Arthur Conan Doyle (65 comments)

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  •  Reinterpretation (6+ / 0-)

    These works aren't "bastardizations", they are reinterpretations. "Man of La Mancha" is quite different than "Don Quixote", it reflects a more romantic interpretation. It's not an implausible interpretation to interpret Holmes and Watson as gay - at the time, there were gay people who kept up the appearance of "just being friends". That doesn't mean that Doyle would have interpreted it this way, of course.

    Some reinterpretations are better than others. A couple years ago, the SciFi channel put out a Flash Gordon mini-series. But an understated Ming the Merciless? Doesn't work. Ming has to steal the show.

    Humans have been reinterpreting stories for untold ages. If someone makes a reinterpretation of Sherlock Holmes, Holmes isn't harmed by it, it's still there.

    The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

    by A Citizen on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 10:47:23 AM PST

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    •  Man of La Mancha (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheFatLadySings, Brecht, Aunt Pat

      I would take Man of La Mancha less as a reinterpretation than as an adaptation making a classic novel more accessible to the modern audience.

      I read (an English translation) of Don Quixote as a teenager. It was a hard slog -- the language being rather dense for an American teenager accustomed to reading contemporary fiction. But I loved the story.

      The musical frames Cervantes story with a little bit of Cervantes personal story (imprisonment).

      I agree that the original work was more of a burlesque than a romance, but I don't think the writers of the musical significantly changed who Don Quixote is. He's a man who sees nobility where everyone else sees vulgarity. Cervantes played it for laughs. The musical plays it for pathos.

      Wealth doesn't trickle down -- it rises up.

      by elsaf on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 10:57:56 AM PST

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      •  I read Cervantes as a teenager and could (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elsaf, Jane Lew, Aunt Pat

        barely remain in my chair. I was laughing so hard it hurt. I still have that translation, which had footnotes explaining puns that never made it into English.

        It may be the translation rather than the text that was inaccessible.

        And even though it all went wrong I'll stand before the Lord of Song with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah! -Leonard Cohen .................@laurenreichelt

        by TheFatLadySings on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 11:14:15 AM PST

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      •  Man of La Mancha (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elsaf, Aunt Pat, Nailbanger

        In Man of La Mancha, the fictional version of Cervantes talks about preferring to see the world as it should be, rather than seeing the world as it is. But that's the world-view the real Cervantes was satirizing.

        Cervantes didn't admire Don Quixote's "impossible dream" as the the writer of the musical, he uses Don Quixote to expose the ludicrous nature of the romances of the day.

        Those romances that Cervantes satirized are long gone. Today, we look at Don Quixote as someone to be admired for his ideals, but that wasn't what Cervantes was going for. But each generation reinterprets and repurposes the stories it inherits.

        I've read and loved both, but they are really different takes.

        The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

        by A Citizen on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 12:16:32 PM PST

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        •  I have to admit... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Aunt Pat

          I read the original novel without context. I didn't know what Cervantes was satirizing.

          But, I think the character hasn't actually been changed, simply the perspective that we view him from.

          Cervantes wrote him as a clown. The modern audience, seeing from its own prejudices, sees the clown as noble.

          The character who has been re-imagined is Cervantes.

          Wealth doesn't trickle down -- it rises up.

          by elsaf on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 12:30:40 PM PST

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          •  Reimagine one, you reimagine the other. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Aunt Pat, elsaf

            When you reimagine Cervantes, you change his interpretation of his own work, and in doing so, you change the interpretation of the character.

            In the book, he makes a firm renunciation of his dreams of knight-errantry, while in Man of La Mancha, he renounces it temporaraily, only for his last act to be to recant his renunciation, and re-embrace his dreams of knight-errantry.

            In Don Quixote, his friends try to help him back to sanity for his own good, while in Man of La Mancha, it is strongly implied that his friends are being selfish, for example, the song "I'm only thinking of him".

            The wolfpack eats venison. The lone wolf eats mice.

            by A Citizen on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 12:50:56 PM PST

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    •  Thank you (0+ / 0-)

      I couldn't agree with you more - especially since the "Holmes and Watson are lovers" idea first surfaced in the late 1960s, and the "Holmes and Irene Adler are lovers" idea surfaced in the 1930s.  These are not new ideas by any means.

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