Sequels and Plagiarisms and Scoff
It`s not just poor translators that taunt over bestsellers and classics. There`s more. Well-known writers cannot do anything about plagiarism or “sequels” or adaptations. Even those still alive seem powerless, let alone those already dead. Books read and loved do attract all kinds of leeches and graphomaniacs.
Authors still alive (well, their agencies, or publishers, or whatever) can try and fight plagiarists. To no avail, mostly. I doubt J. K. Rowling could ever do anything about the Russian Таня Гроттер series by Д. Емец; and this is not the worst that could be bungled by a plagiarist! Well, that`s up to authors, after all…
Writers already dead cannot defend either themselves or their books. If the books written by them prove really popular, nothing doing: there just will be “sequels” and “adaptations” and whatever not. There are lots of Winnie-the-Pooh sequels A. A. Milne has nothing to do with; there seem to be Mumintroll sequels done certainly not by T. Jansson, and lots of other such, too. No objection to that, from the point of view of a reader, but for one thing: the “sequels” are considerably poorer than the “paragons”. They should be better or as good as, at the very least! Nothing of the kind, alas. Oh well anyone can “borrow” or steal a brilliant idea, yet the one should be up to it…
And now! The Pride! Worse than any Plagi or Sequy… Scoff and derision and mockery, and no term I know is fit to describe that properly. Adaptations! Please note I do not try to expatiate on movie adaptations. What I mean is books. Classics re-told. Bare plot, no style, no soul. Illustrated, as often as not; illustrated poorly, more often than not. Which follows, BTW: why should one lay oneself out to decently illustrate a book mocked by “adaptors”? I`m afraid it`s America that should be blamed for this plague. Education presupposes knowledge of classics; to really know, you have to have read at least some of the works of a classic. But to pass an exam, you just need to be acquainted with the plot in question… Never mind the plot is not the essence: you have passed, OK, you can move on! Thence the decuman wave of adaptations, and translations of adaptations, I suspect. Only that has nothing to do with reading. Or education, for that matter.
The Soul of a book is much more than the plot.
Worst of all, “adaptations” and masterpieces re-told make people quit reading. As simple as that.