Skip to main content

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

Comment Preferences

  •  Some heroes are bigger than the books they're from (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, elsaf

    Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, Frankenstein are each so iconic that they step right out of the original pages, and leave their books behind.

    For each of these three, many authors (of books, movies and TV shows) have been so inspired by the originals that they wrote characters whose DNA is 50% derivative. But other authors have merely taken the icon and tweaked it to their ends. If their art is good enough, I forgive them.

    Boris Karloff's Frankenstein is the one we all know - he looms larger than Mary Shelley's in our minds. Branagh's Frankenstein looked back to Shelley.

    Daniel Craig's James Bond has an edge he may have learned from Jason Bourne. Skyfall returns to some of the leitmotifs of 60s Bond (e.g. his old car, and Moneypenny), but is also a very 21st century spy.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 02:25:02 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, yes (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jarbyus, Brecht

      And reinterpreting these characters and these books happens all the time.   Just look at the way Shakespeare, and grand opera, and even, for God's sake, comic books characters have been reimagined and reinterpreted over the years.  

      Example:  there was a highly acclaimed Bollywood-style production of Handel's Giulio Caesar in Egitto in England about ten years ago.  Caesar and his soldier were stand-ins for the British Raj, Tolomeo and his men were the Ottoman Empire, Cleopatra wore a glittery black cocktail dress, there were zeppelins and modern warships in the background during a battle scene, and the dances were about as far from Baroque as it's possible to get without having everyone break into the Watusi.  The actual music was historically accurate (having William Christie conduct will do that) but everything else was very modern.

      And guess what?  The production was so enjoyable, and so popular, that Glyndebourne had to revive it a few years later.  It's going to be staged at the Met next spring and simulcast across the country, and I've already blocked off that Saturday on my calendar so I can see it at my local HD theater.  Normally I like my Baroque opera authentic, but denying myself this particular production because Caesar wears an officer's greatcoat is ridiculous.

      What this all means is that times change, people change, and art changes.  Maybe individuals don't like certain of these changes, but it doesn't mean they're bad, or wrong.  It simply means that they're different.

      •  I pretty much agree with what you're saying, Ellid (0+ / 0-)

        and appreciate all the knowledge you're bringing in your comments.

        elsaf wrote "I'm a Sherlock Holmes fan from way back. I read the stories for the first time when I was in junior high school". I'm wary of overanalyzing, but in general we make strong emotional connections at that age, so elsaf may be a little in love with the man elsaf first met years ago, just the way he looked then.

        elsaf is welcome to contest or correct this guess of mine.

        Shakespeare's work is the most frequently bastardized, and that's very apt. Shakespeare bastardized all his sources freely, and broke every rule. I don't think anyone, before him, had written a play like Henry IV, part 1, with its radical blend of tragedy, comedy and history.

        So the directors who set his plays in British India, gangster Chicago, or Nazi Germany, are just doing the same things to Shakespeare that he did to his own sources.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 09:12:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site