It looks like the world of gaming is finally catching up with modern literature. I recently came across a charming article in Ars Technica about how people are hacking video games so will be more inclusive. For instance – this is my favorite one – a dad hex-edited all of the gendered pronouns in the narrative in Legend of Zelda to the feminine so that his daughter would feel more interested in the game. More recently there was a story of a hack to Super Mario Bros. in which the Princess escapes from Bowser on her own, no Toadstool required.
Even though I sometimes bemoan the fact that new movies are all sequels and remakes, I actually love when classic stories are modernized or told from a new perspective. Most of us are familiar with Clueless (Emma) and Bridget Jones’s Diary (Pride and Prejudice) but there are tons of other great novels that don’t involve Jane Austen novels (not that I have a problem with Austen of course). For instance, a colleague of mine recently recommended Tom Gauld’s graphic novel Goliath which is a fantastic example of this kind of story. In Goliath, the author re-imagines the biblical tale from the giant’s point of view. But rather than painting Goliath as a man-eating giant, he portrays him as a gentle, paper-pushing giant who wants nothing to do with the whole affair. It’s a really enjoyable story and, despite what my poor summary might imply, isn’t overly cutesy.
I also adore Miranda July’s modern day telling of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “Birthmark.” Side note: read some Hawthorne short stories when you have a chance. They are awesome. The two stories have much in common but both authors bring a different kind of thoughtfulness to the main characters. Also, they’re essentially both retellings of the Pygmalion myth in Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
We’ve put together a list of some other worthwhile retellings that you might enjoy. Since I recently finished Jane Eyre, I’m eager to pick up Wide Sargasso Sea which tells the story from the perspective of the madwoman in the attic! What other retellings or twisted classics have you enjoyed? Feel free to list them in the comments and I’ll add them to the list!