The Game is Afoot! Visiting Bauman Rare Books Part 2 of 5

Hi! Welcome to Staxpeditions on tour. Our
crew from Iowa is here in Las Vegas for the American Library Association conference, so
we stopped by Bauman Rare Books to say hello to Rebecca Romeny. Hello! Here we go. One
of the reasons why Alice has had legs is that it’s in public domain. I don’t know if you’ve
heard about the Doyle Estate, Conan Doyle estate, concerning Sherlock, they recently
sort of lost that, I think they’re going to appeal. But that was one of the main arguments
was that there were a lot of people who were wanting to write pastiches
and be a part of that and that would actually be good for the literary estate if they allowed
for more access, that means it’s going to make anything Holmes just spread further and
further and get more people involved, and isn’t that a good thing all around? Yeah,
at the University of Iowa we were working with an organization called The Organization
for Transformative Works, preserving fan history and fan culture. The announcement came to
me first from them, they are very very excited for all the future fan interpretations of
Holmes that might be able to more fully flourish. And Holmes is actually a great example too
because Holmes sees these huge spikes in interest based on really popular adaptations. These
days you have BBC Sherlock, which has just been rabidly popular. But there were similar
versions earlier like Basil Rathbone, for example. Jeremey Brett. Exactly! Jeremey Brett.
So you have these people that have different generations that say “Oh, would Sherlock did
you discover first? Yeah! That’s MY Holmes. Yeah, exactly! And these are things that create
this dialog between different types of media that allow not only for new interpretations
as you put them into a new format, but also to allow for people to discover, to create
bridges where they didn’t really realise there was something else to go to. And definitely
the case with Pride and Prejudice, I think of the BBC movies and miniseries and I mean,
how many adaptations of Pride and Prejudice are there? There are so many! Mini series,
movies, fanfiction, YouTube series, just again and again and again. Well, The Lizzie Bennet
Diaries is a good example of that because, I thought it was pretty innovative in trying
that as a format. This new format of the vlog, and using it as an online diary. And on the
one hand just changing Pride and Prejudice into almost an epistolary or a journal form,
that’s one interpretation, but then to do it in video format, you’re adding all sorts
of complexities there, and so you have to adapt. So for example, they sort of conflated
some of the sisters and things. These are poetic license, but they’re there for a reason
because you’re now in a new format and you want to emphasize certain things and de-emphasize
others. And it’s a wink back to even when you decide to for complexity to eliminate
some of the sisters, she’s still there as a cat, so that’s a nod back to the people
who know. That’s how you see the two interpretations working together, simultaneously. Now I have
to say, being the nerd that I am, you know I just love that kind of thing. Sherlock actually
does that too, where he’s looking for cigarettes and he grabs one of his slippers and he looks
in one of those and he moves on and most people are like “Alright, that was weird”, but in
the actual stories, that was where he keeps his snuff, in one of his slippers. There are
little winks all throughout and it’s something, too, I think it enhances the enjoyment of
that interpretation because it makes you kind of feel like it’s an inside joke. You’re in
on it, and you feel part of it and it’s like, these are my people. Well and that’s what
makes a community around a text, which is a really different thing, and which one can
do when a text is in the public domain like that. When it survives over time and continually
has a way to be reinterpreted and connect with a new community in that way. And that’s
what can keep these texts relevant, as well, I mean there are some books that a hundred
years ago everyone read, and no one knows today. I think two of the most popular books
around 1899, you have Dracula which everyone knows today, I mean you think about how many
interpretations of that there have been in the past century, but the other one is Trilby,
no one reads Trilby anymore, if you know of Trilby it’s because of the Trilby hat, really,
and that actually did come from the book. But other than that, the average public won’t
know anything about it, and it’s interesting to see which ones get legs and particularly
for new interpretations, and which ones kind of languish. That is a reflection not only
of the culture it was produced from, but a reflection on the culture now, what we value
and what we find interesting or in taste. Yeah, and an interesting conflict there, you’ve
got these two titles that are the most popular where there are a lot of copies out there
that people could own today, one that everyone is fighting over because it’s been continually
reinterpreted and still really relevant and valued today. And the other that anyone could
get a copy but people aren’t fighting for it them.

8 Replies to “The Game is Afoot! Visiting Bauman Rare Books Part 2 of 5”

  1. Video #2  from my five video series visiting Rebecca Romney (from Pawn Stars) at Bauman Rare Books in Las Vegas, and chatting about life, the Universe and everything. (In this case Sherlock Holmes, Lizzie Bennet, fandom, Sherlock, and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries). And it just so happens there is a first edition Pride and Prejudice on the table.

  2. Interesting comparison of the two books.  I have a dozen editions of the novel, and hundreds of adaptations to comic, and I've seen dozens of film and TV versions of DRACULA, and even played The Count on stage in two different plays. I think I have seen one version of Trilby, the 1931 SVENGALI with John Barrymore.

  3. I would take Rebecca's point about the "winks" in BBC's Sherlock one step further and say that those nods to the original stories are wonderful lures to those viewers that haven't read them. It is so crucial that great literature, like the Conan Doyle Holmes canon, survive the ages, and scintillating (wink) series like Sherlock ensure that.

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