Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Literary Mashups - Summer 2009

In the world of computer technology, mashups take one program’s functionality and combine it with another to create a new product that’s a combination of the two. Google maps has inspired a number of mashups that allow people to combine places with twitters, swine flu outbreaks, or even locating a book’s setting.

Writers have joined in the frenzy and are now creating mashups of books. In Woodsburner, John Pipkin takes the true story of how Henry David Thoreau started a wildfire and creates a novel of the life and philosophies that might have been inspired by that event.
In Vanessa and Virginia, Susan Sellers looks at the life of Virginia Woolf through her older sister’s eyes, inventing thoughts and ideas that may or may not have been true.

While these mashups are more the norm in historical fiction, with real lives being looked at through a fictional lens, other authors have taken the idea of combining two literary ideas a step further. In The Heroines, Eileen Favorite brings Madame Bovary, Scarlett O'Hara, and other literary heroines together to find strength and solace in each other so they can continue the lives destined for them by their original authors. Caroline Cooney's Enter Three Witches, mashes Shakespeare’s Macbeth with a novel about a young woman raised in the court of the times. In Saving Juliet, a young actress from New York is transported into the world of Romeo and Juliet in a way somewhat reminiscent of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.
Perhaps the most ambitious new mashup in our collection is Seth Grahame-Smith’s insertion of zombies into Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

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