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Debbie

In the 20th century, dozens. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead springs to mind. The Wind Done Gone. I think there's a Datlow/Windling anthology entirely on this point. Before the 20th century, are there any?

Alan Bostick

George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman books are about the bully from Thomas Hughes' Tom Brown's School Days

Where would Lucifer of Milton's Paradise Lost fit into this schema?

badgerbag

Yeah, Paradise Lost was the only thing I could think of, offhand, that was earlier. but I'm sure there's more! Adina brought this up last night and was suggesting it's a particularly postcolonial thing to do with narrative.

Adina Levin

Milton's Satan is the emblematic proto-romantic, individualistic rebel antihero - the original sympathy for the devil. At least it's been read that way. Better and documented references for what Milton was trying to do in historical context would be cool.

There's some difference between the feminist/postcolonial flavors of the story and the Satan version. With the Grendel/Wide Sargasso Sea flavor, the anti-hero was marginal to the original story because of gender or species/tribe.

Satan was a fallen angel. He had a privileged position and walked away. There are plenty of earlier stories of heroes who walked away from one social order to start a new one, say Moses or Buddha. But Satan stays a rebel and anti-hero.

Jess

I wonder if the Aeneid could be characterized as a very early example of this, since Virgil essentially worked from the perspective of a minor Homeric character...

Jess

I wonder if the Aeneid could be characterized as a very early example of this, since Virgil essentially worked from the perspective of a minor Homeric character...

Abbey

Fielding's Joseph Andrews is sort of the same thing. Its a send up of Pamela's too good to be true heroine, but Joseph Andrews is a made up character, I think. More recently there is 'Jack Maggs' by Peter Carey which is David Copperfield from the point of view of the convict he saves at the begining (unless I have the wrong dicken's...)

skarat

Has anyone done the lord of the rings with sauron as protagonist?

Hell, even Sauraman as protagonist?

laura Q

See the FSFwiki - Reinterpretive works category and also the page Parodies and retellings for discussion, plus many with a gender angle.

For two more that are SF-specific but not gender-related: Mary Gentle's Grunts! re-did a genre more than a specific work. See also the anthology she edited, Villains!.

Also The Hours by Michael Cunningham and Mr. Dalloway by Robin Lippincott.

Really it's a major trend and way too many to list, as I realized when I started to list even the gender-related retellings in SF.

WhatLadder

Reading Satan as the hero of Paradise Lost is very much a late 20th century fashion. I was always under the impression that Milton would do an appalled "What can you possibly mean?" reaction to any suggestion that Satan was sympathetic, let alone a hero. This reading really kind of hinges on whether you think Milton would have meant that denial.

'Jane Fairfax' by Joan Aiken is a very cool book in this genre - not that Jane is really a villain in 'Emma', but Aiken does a really good job of poking Emma the character in her version.

Lynn Kendall

J. M. Coetzee's Foe retells Robinson Crusoe.

Someone wrote Vision and Revision (I think), a retelling of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park from the POV of a maid. The 20th-century Jane is able to be considerably more explicit about what happens when Maria Bertram and Henry Crawford slip through the locked fence together.

There are dozens of Austen retellings.

Valerie Martin rewrote Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde from the POV of the maid, Mary Reilly.

As for novel retellings . . . well, in the centuries up to the 20th, there weren't that many novels to turn inside out. It's a new form, really. But you could count the dozens of versions of the Matter of Britain, or the stories told by both Chaucer and Boccaccio, or a good many of Shakespeare's dramas.

If you're looking for nineteenth-century inversions of established literary works, try Lewis Carroll. He turned a preachy little poem by one of the preachiest Regency poets into a brilliant parody. Few people care about Southey any more, but Lewis Carroll is doing quite well, thank you.

bookbk

There are lots and lots, as everyone’s said, but I can’t let this thread go without a reference to John Scieszka’s The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, in which the wolf sets the record straight.

laura Q

There's a fairy tale reinterpretations thread at LibraryThing.

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