Literary mash ups

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I have just finished reading Warm Bodies (very enjoyable read – 4 stars), which takes Romeo and Juliet as inspiration, but tells the story from the point of view of a zombie. The term literary mash up has been coined to describe such novels – merging together totally different genres to create something new and different. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, by Seth Grahame-Smith, is a recent example, and possibly the first to warrant the phrase. Most rely on fictional texts as inspiration, though some take historical events as a basis – see another one of Grahame-Smith’s novels, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

There seems to be two schools of thought on this type of writing – one, that it is a refreshing change, rejuvenating and celebrating novels by changing them into something completely different; something that people would never expect. But there are others that see it is vandalism – messing with things that shouldn’t be changed.

Musical mash ups are nothing new – mix classical with hip hop and you tend to come out with something either loved by fans of both genres, or, quite simply, hated. It seems that literary mash ups can envoke similarly contrasting feelings. What do you think?

 

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