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Did Shakespeare only write fan fiction?

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Offline Daphne Reading Wanted by Tim Arnot
30 Sep 2010, 12:40 PM | Post: #1

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Did Shakespeare only write fan fiction?

Alright, I'm being a bit provocative here, but I've just been arguing this one out with a friend. They suggested that no one could call themselves a writer if they "only" wrote fan fiction (defined as a story based on someone else's characters, storyline). I've not read any fan fiction myself, but some of my best friends love to read and write fan fiction (Harry Potter, LOTRs, Bleach etc.) Anyway, I pointed out that pretty much everything Shakespeare ever wrote was a re-write or version of an existing story (Romeo and Juliet based on an Italian tale, Hamlet on the legend Amleth and Othello on another Italian Story "A Moorish Captain" etc.). The genius of Shakespeare was not that he created original characters or stories, but how he enriched and interpreted the stories of others. Any opinions? (we concluded that fan fiction was as valid as any other form of writing).
NB. I've recently read Othello on Kindle and can recommend it both for content and formatting.
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Offline Trace Reading
29 Oct 2010, 08:54 AM | Post: #2

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RE: Did Shakespeare only write fan fiction?

I think the beauty of Shakespeare was not whether he wrote fan-fiction or even commissioned works but the beauty of his language. He's long been a favourite of mine and I'd hate to see him dismissed as just a 'fan-fic' writer

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