Blatant attempt to get some messages going

Rowland, Jennifer A B jennifer.rowland at ic.ac.uk
Tue Oct 30 07:34:23 EST 2001


I was reading one of the talks by Diana on www.dianawynnejones.com, the one
about how mediaeval writing influenced her, and it made me wonder a couple
of things- which authors had influenced the writers on the list, and also
which authors had influenced my *reading*- ie, I'm pretty sure that reading
dwj actually somehow changed the way I read fantasy- not just the Tough
Guide making me laugh at other books when you're not supposed to, but her
books are a sort of - not model, really- maybe "imprint" that other books
have to live up to in some way. Not that they have to be the same, but she
was the earliest author I read who showed what you can do with the
fantasy/YA format, you can have non-wooden writing *and* real characters
*and* good plots *and* resonances with all sorts of other stories. I think
influence can be separated from who I like best- many of my other favourites
have this kind of thing as well, but came later and more reinforced what I
look for than showed me that it was possible.
I'd say Dorothy L. Sayers had a similar effect on detective novels for me-
though I can read and enjoy fairly clunky crime stories, so perhaps Agatha
Christie was in there as well! 
Jane Austen is my obvious one for novels set in the "real world". Possibly
Dickens, too, in the opposite way- perhaps I read him too young, but I found
him so unreadable that anything that seems wordy puts me off. (Lord of the
Rings- uurgh. But then, epics bore me, too, I guess the Iliad negatively
influenced me as well.)
Poetry might well be John Donne- I think his lyrics being clever as well as
beautiful may have influenced the kind of bands I like, too.
Wodehouse- although my sense of humour has become darker and more surreal
(and I think TV comedians influenced it more than books did), I'm sure his
silliness has stayed with me.
So- who strikes the listmembers as seminal in their reading? Who has warped
our fragile little minds with perfect prose, intense imagery, multiple
meanings or annoying alliteration? 
Jennifer
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