Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Using other people's characters
Inspired by the fanfiction post, I thought it would be interesting to make a list of books (and a play) which use other people's characters.
Without permission, though that's partly because most of the works are in the public domain. But I'll keep the list handy because in a fanfic debate, someone's sure to suggest that using other people's characters shows a lack of originality, creative bankruptcy, laziness, etc. So here's the list:
Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Tom Stoppard
The Wind Done Gone, Alice Randall
March, Geraldine Brooks
Mrs de Winter, Susan Hill
Good Morning, Irene, Carole Nelson Douglas
MacB, Neil Arksey
Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife, Linda Berdoll
Bored of the Rings, by the Harvard Lampoon
Heathcliff: The Sequel to Wuthering Heights, Lin Haire-Sargeant
Return to Wuthering Heights, Anna L'Estrange
Desire and Duty : A Sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Ted Bader
In a couple of cases, the characters' names are changed slightly. For instance, MacB (based on Macbeth) has Banksie and Duncan King rather than Banquo and Duncan, the king of Scotland. But on the whole, it's interesting to see how many published works borrow other writers' characters. And this is just the tip of the iceberg - examples I found in ten minutes.
Special mention goes to Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley. Margaret Mitchell's estate may have authorized this sequel, but Mitchell herself felt the story stopped where it had to stop.