Wednesday, 2 March 2011
Principles of a Sequel
According to his daughter May, William Morris used to remark that ‘When you are using an old story, read it through, then shut the book and write it in your own way’ (Collected Works, III, xxi-xxii). Could we, I wonder, apply this Morrisian maxim to his own News from Nowhere? One hundred and twenty years after its first publication it certainly now counts as an ‘old story’, so what might it mean to read it through, shut the book and write it in our own way in 2011 or beyond? How might we elaborate the principles that ought to guide such a retelling or rewriting?