Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Old Retold

It's about 9 million degrees in my classroom this afternoon, so forgive my lack of intelligence if it appears in this post. I'm sure that it will because normal, every day tasks are becoming quite difficult. But, I do have something on my mind that I'd like to think about and get some of your opinions on.

Do you like to read old stories that are retold in modern adaptations? If so, what do you like? If not, what don't you like?

I ask this because I am currently reading The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, which is a modern adaptation of Shakespeare's Hamlet. I'm having some mixed feelings about this story. I liked it at first, but now feel like I'm on a plot-finding mission where I'm just looking for connections to the original.

And then, I started to teach a fairy tales retold recovery unit to a student who needs to earn back his creative writing credit. His passion and interest in comparing the original Hans Christian Andersen "Thunbelina" tale to the short story "Tiny" by Francesca Lia Block has sparked a renewed interest in me.

So, what do you think? Recycle these old stories, or leave them alone?


  1. I love reading originals and remakes (both movies and books) paired up together. I realized this when I was in high school with Shakespeare. For example, as we were studying Romeo and Juliet, the Leonardo DiCaprio/Claire Danes movie version came out. When I was a senior and reading Taming of the Shrew, 10 Things I Hate About You came out. My freshman year of college I even chose to do an English paper on Shakespeare updates.

    Most recently I have enjoyed remakes such as Prada and Prejudice. Next I want to read Sense and Sensibility so that I can read Scones and Sensibility. I always love to see the liberties authors take - the decisions they decide on what to keep the same and what to change. The only remake that I can think of that I did not like that much was an adult book called The Honorable Mr. Darcy. I didn't like it because it did not seem to capture the spirit of Austen's story.

  2. Oops...I got the title wrong that I mentioned before. I should have double checked first. It was called: The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy. I posted more about my thoughts here: http://enbuscadeequilibrio.blogspot.com/2010/03/trials-of-honorable-f-darcy.html

  3. If I have read any, I can't recall at the moment. There is a certain intrigue in reading a retelling so I'm willing to read them and I may even have some on my TBR, but I also understand that many could turn out to be duds.

    And I am SO sorry you are stuck in your classroom in that heat! Are you teaching summer school, then?

  4. @ almYbNeNr: Yup, sweatiin' it out in summer school! It's fun though, and kids don't need too much help or direction, so there's not a ton to do. I love summer school!

    @ Mrs. V: Welcome back!! I agree that I love reading adaptations. This Edgar Sawtelle one has just thrown me through a bit of a loop, though. But, in general, I enjoy remakes immensely.



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