kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
I made a couple long comments elsewhere and I should archive them somewhere less ephemeral, for reference.

On defining fanfic:
I think there have been _transformative works_ since the beginning of storytelling; and _fanfic_ is a thing that exists in a specific community with specific expectations and tropes. By which ~~I~~ mean . . . people writing transformative works in a mass-media environment, who do not hold out those works as having the same status as canon / expect those works to be treated the same as canon by those outside the community, most typically in a wider fan-based community, for consumption by other fans, as part of a broader kind of engagement with the canon.

So I think it's useful to think of Dante and _The Aeneid_ and alla that as showing that the impulse behind fanfic is a human universal, but I also think it is often not useful to say that it's all the same thing, because there are specific characteristics of the stuff we are usually talking about when discussing "fanfic", including that it occupies a legal grey area (though watching _that_ move has been fascinating over the last decade and a half), that it's in dialogue with other works in the genre -- the genre being fanfic -- and that it's a female-dominated space.


I was then linked to Towards a Definition of “Fanfiction”, and this particularly struck me from it: "once it became important to have new ideas, and possible to claim them as one’s property, then transformative narratives became a marked category in a way they hadn’t been before."

On deciding whether to become a parent:
I think ideally one would be aware of the very wide range of outcomes and be ready to face them, in terms of the amount of care kids need (by which I mean anything from medical to whether they are high-touch) and therefore the amount of time, energy, money, and other resources one needs to supply. Also in terms of the different interactions that different personalities need -- which also change over time! But someone with a very set idea about what being a parent of a baby is like may have a rough time if their baby doesn't share that set idea.

Other examples: a person whose health is seriously imperiled by sleep deprivation needs a plan to deal with that, in terms of a partner or suchlike: because maybe their baby would be an awesome sleeper or maybe their baby would be the sleeper from a punitive netherworld -- no way to know, so better be ready. Or a person who struggles with patience, or a person in a very precarious financial situation, or or or.

So self-knowledge is really important and a general familiarity of the range of possibilities is also important.

The other important thing is that, if you're starting as the parent of a newborn, you're teaching each other to be parent and child as you go? I was never very comfortable with other people's babies, especially, but with SteelyKid, I was the person who spent the most time with her as an infant, so I _knew_ her in a way that I didn't know other people's kids. And parenting a newborn is hard, but for me was also easing into it, because their needs are pretty limited and therefore the scope for messing up is smaller (though still exists, obviously!). So you have time to get comfortable with your own strengths and weaknesses and address them, before you have to do things like explain the circumstances under which physical violence should be avoided or what death means.

Date: Monday, July 17th, 2017 03:25 am (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
So I think it's useful to think of Dante and _The Aeneid_ and alla that as showing that the impulse behind fanfic is a human universal, but I also think it is often not useful to say that it's all the same thing, because there are specific characteristics of the stuff we are usually talking about when discussing "fanfic", including that it occupies a legal grey area (though watching _that_ move has been fascinating over the last decade and a half), that it's in dialogue with other works in the genre -- the genre being fanfic -- and that it's a female-dominated space.

Yeah, THIS, thank you. Nothing pisses me off more than "The Odyssey/Aeneid is fanfic of the Iliad!"

Date: Monday, July 17th, 2017 03:23 pm (UTC)
kjn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kjn
This. If fanfic is defined that way, then you end up including most mythology and non-trivial parts of all historical literature ever written within fanfic.

(That's also half of why I don't like the use of "filk" to describe parody songs: you not only miss out lots of filk songs, but also drags in non-trivial amount of songs written throughout time.)

Date: Monday, July 17th, 2017 04:36 am (UTC)
thistleingrey: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thistleingrey
I find the "possible to claim" idea important but still insufficiently nuanced: there were ...sort of literary attribution skirmishes in texts in England in the twelfth century. I don't think that fanfic as we currently consider it has reflexes in English before the Stationers' Register, i.e. basically sixteenth-century notion of copyright. One could argue that modern copyright doesn't take shape in English until a bunch of actions in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including Mark Twain's frustrations over having his books pirated, which led him to put out Huck Finn in England (to cover Canada/commonweath) shortly before its US release, 1884/1885, so that scholars of American lit are continually tangled up in dates. :P (And that door doesn't really close till mid-C20, with Tolkien's similar issue as a genre-convenient waymarker.) I guess it's partly a question of which versions of "legal grey area" make sense in which contexts.

(I'm not a media studies scholar and can't pretend to be; my perspective is from book history and modes of textual transmission over time.)

Date: Monday, July 17th, 2017 05:27 pm (UTC)
thistleingrey: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thistleingrey
Yes, I think so--for me "fanfic" requires some sense of community. Bigger isn't better, but it enables looping influences in ways that coterie textual production (2-3 f2f friends, or let's say under a dozen friends) does not.

To play devil's advocate on myself, maybe the Romantics' salons are a pre-mass media iteration, though? And once we hit "coterie," there's this in C16 England, Chaucer and Gower writing variants of the same stories late C14, etc. I guess a counterremark for that would be social class--fanfic is hardly free of issues of privilege, but C20/21 mass media's reach makes a wider angle of access possible for both production and consumption.

Thanks for posting those comments--good for thinky thoughts. :)

Date: Monday, July 17th, 2017 05:29 am (UTC)
sovay: (I Claudius)
From: [personal profile] sovay
So I think it's useful to think of Dante and _The Aeneid_ and alla that as showing that the impulse behind fanfic is a human universal, but I also think it is often not useful to say that it's all the same thing, because there are specific characteristics of the stuff we are usually talking about when discussing "fanfic"

Agreed. I find it more useful to talk about variants and retellings in those cases.

Date: Monday, July 17th, 2017 09:27 pm (UTC)
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (Default)
From: [personal profile] larryhammer
Everything you said about becoming a parent (with the caveat that I didn't start with a newborn and can't speak to that).

Date: Tuesday, July 18th, 2017 04:15 am (UTC)
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (Default)
From: [personal profile] larryhammer

In retrospect, the part we had the least handle on was the effects of chronic sleep deprivation on us as older parents. If we had become parents, say, ten years earlier, we could have handled that better.

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