Sequels and precedents

Lewis Jones argues that the literary sequel “has grown more literal than literary” in recent years:

…if one types “sequel” into the Amazon search engine, one is offered 365 books, most of them published over the past decade.

Top of the pops is Alexandra Ripley’s Scarlett: the Sequel to Margaret Mitchell’s -Gone with the Wind’ (1991); and such unwieldily respectful titles seem to be the form, as in Emma Tennant’s Elinor and Marianne: a Sequel to Jane Austen’s -Sense and Sensibility’ (1996). There are sequels to Treasure Island, Kim, The Turn of the Screw, The Time Machine and Lark Rise to Candleford. There is one to Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit (by Andrew Cutrofello, 1995), and a Homeric effort from Ted Hughes – The Iron Woman: a Sequel to the Iron Man (1994). But Jane Austen is the clear favourite, particularly Pride and Prejudice and Emma.

Sukhdev Sandhu makes the case that there is a lineage behind Zadie Smith and Monica Ali’s “celebrated novels of black and Asian London.” Black writing about London, he says, goes back at least as far as the 18th century, and “[o]ne of the very finest writers about London, regardless of colour, was Trinidad-born Samuel Selvon.”


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