Victorian penny press plagiarisms as transmedia storytelling
Keywords:Book history, Fan fiction, Fandom, History of reading, Periodical studies, Theatre, Transfictionality
The Victorian period saw the proliferation of penny press plagiarisms—that is, transformations of middle-class narratives, typically for a lower-class audience. Authors of these often anonymous transformations performed labor by expanding existing narratives in ways that resonate with today's understanding of fan fiction and transmedia storyworlds. Penny press plagiarisms illustrate the methodological challenges of studying the historical reception of literary and popular culture events that might be characterized as fannish, as the constitutive elements that describe a fan must be traced backward in the absence of living communities and with ephemeral evidence of engagement with popular culture texts. Application of insights from media and periodical studies shows that the penny press contributes to the long history of fandom. The Victorian period's literary markets, social class politics, and copyright paradigms defamiliarize these concepts in the field of studies of fans and fandoms, revealing how a history of Victorian fandom is also a history of for-profit transmedia storytelling.
Copyright (c) 2021 Erica Haugtvedt
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