Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Quest of Charles

Blechta in the pilot's seat.

At last a quest! Checking below, you must read Benoit's most recent entry (I hesitate to use the word "last", because when a quest is involved, one never knows...). World traveller that he is, I should have expected this from the intrepid Charles. Don't forget to have your passport ready when returning to the U.S.!

(One thing Charles neglected to mention is that Charles Bulwer-Lytton's writing was very highly thought of during his lifetime.)

In response to Donis' response: fashion changes for everything all the time, music, clothes, speech and of course writing. We all write in an acceptable style for today's readers -- otherwise we wouldn't get published. I've often thought that it would be interesting to write a novel in the style of Dickens, Forrester, or Kipling. Problem is getting it published. CF (my newly-minted moniker) might be a little easier than "literary fiction" to pull something like this off since CF readers don't seem to mind retro as much, but I still think it would be a hard sell.

Several composers alive today could probably write a damn good Beethoven-esque symphony, but boy, would they get hoisted on their own petards by their peers and the critics! It's too bad, really, because there are a lot of people who don't enjoy what we call "contemporary" music. I like it a lot, but I have to admit there are times where I can't listen to it. Wouldn't it be interesting and nice to hear something new that's Beethoven revisited?

About the only way you can get away with this sort of thing is in movies. There it's cool to be retro -- especially in Europe. Everything is up for grabs there: music, photography, the screenplay. One of my favourite movies of relatively recent times is Twilight a Paul Newman movie from 1998. It also has Gene Hackman, Susan Sarandon and James Garner. It is a wonderful homage to Hammett et al. They've figured out what works in those old movies from the '50s and done the job with real style. Check it out.

I wonder why this is? Why can movies get away with it where the other arts can't? One other place you seem to be able to look back with impunity is fashion, but there I think it's more a matter of making money than anything else.

Vicki seems to have a good handle on Tolkien-esque writing. Maybe we should all do a few paragraphs of writing in someone else's style and see how well we do. Anyone reading Type M should also be welcome to try their hand, too.

What say you?

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