Friday, August 07, 2015
The Big Literary Flap This Summer
is of course the paternity and worth of Harper Lee's "Go Set a Watchman" the alleged sequel to "To Kill a Mockingbird". I'll skip over all the handwringing over the Fate and Characterization of "Atticus Finch" in favor of the simple observation that sometimes the mark of a Global Literary Classic is a Truly Dubious Sequel. And I can say that as someone who has read 's nominal sequel to "Inherit the Wind" "The Gang's All Here", which is otherwise a play that delves deep into the dramatic possibilities of the Harding Administration. Ever heard of "The Land of Mist"? Conan Doyle's sequel to "The Lost World"? His bumptious Professor Challenger goes from dinosaur hunting to mewing over the revealed truth of spiritualism. The biggest literary damp squib of 1926 and very much the "Go Set a Watchman" of it's time. And this is to say nothing of "Let Em' Eat Cake" a direct musical sequel to "Of Thee I Sing". Said follow up apparently features among other things singing & dancing fascists years before "The Producers". I haven't see "Let Em' Eat Cake" (not for lack of trying) or "Bring Back Birdie" (sigh...YES a sequel to "By By Birdie") but they both spring from a strange cataract where creativity and perhaps the lure of sure money glitter gush and intermingle. "The Land of Mist" I think I can pass over there are limits even to my advocacy for the underdog misbegotten sequel. So in a way be glad, the outrage attending on "Go Set a Watchman" only redoubles the worth of the original. And if that doesn't work I invite everyone give some reconsideration to "Shock Treatment" the infamous 1981 sequel to the "Rocky Horror Picture Show".