On cataloguing books

Jon Noble jon_p_noble at yahoo.com
Fri Feb 21 22:31:17 EST 2003

--- Melissa Proffitt <Melissa at Proffitt.com> wrote:

> >Referential - Fantasy stories that are all about
> other
> >fantasy stories. Ryman's "was" and Maguire's
> "Wicked"
> >both refer back to the Wizxard of Oz
> I would have thought of Maguire as being more of a
> retelling, since it
> covers the same ground as _The Wizard of Oz_ but in
> a different voice and
> with a different basis for the story.  Similar to
> _Jenna Starborn_, only,
> well, better.  :)  I actually didn't care for
> _Wicked_ very much for some of
> the same reasons I don't usually like Jonathan
> Carroll, but I loved the
> reinterpretation of the Wicked Witch of the West. 
> There is that one
> book...great, now I can't remember the title...it
> has some guy from our
> world who meets practically every character from
> classic literature that was
> ever written.  The conceit is fantasy, but the
> essence of the story is
> referential.

I think that the "referential" category is potentailly
useful, although even a large collection may only have
a couple of examples. I think The Encyclopedia of
Fantasy uses the term "recursive" for this (at the
moment I'm too lazy to go downsatirs to look up my
copy), and it has a number of applications, retellings
of stories from other viewpoints or in other settings,
stories that are in someway about other stories (like
"Was"), or stories that involve characters from other
stories in new settings. Your example with the
forgotten title would qualify as the book is fantasy
even though the references are to non-fantasy. "The
Eyre affair" and "Lost in a good book" are the same
(although LiaGB features the Cheshire Cat as a
character - although due to boundary changes he is now
the Unitary Authority of Warrington Cat). However
Fraser's Flashman books are referential but definitely
not fantasy as neither the stories nor the character
refered to are fantasy.


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