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If those who had died in "their time" had lived longer (if Oscar Wilde had seen WWI and other ideas)

SenatorChickpea

The Most Kiwi Aussie of them all
Patreon supporter
#21
One counter-example is H.G. Wells, which most people associate with the Edwardian Age, but who in fact lived long enough to see the aftermath of WW2, and in the grand scheme of things it didn't seem to have made a noticeable difference.
And in fact, his reputation would almost certainly have improved without his weaker post-war writings and his role as a Soviet apologist.
 

Jared

fatal softener
Published by SLP
Location
Over the rainbow
#22
If Terry Pratchett was still alive would he have become a mainstay of the new atheist community? It's one of those things that could have been really bad
Sir Pterry was around for long enough after the new atheist community formed without any indication that he wanted to join them. The vibe I always got from his work was more of the "hates God for not existing" type of atheist, not the new atheists.
 

Sideways

assigned sideways at birth
Published by SLP
Location
Teignmouth, Devon
Pronouns
She/Her
#24
she would be very uncomfortable with the idea of being some sort of trailblazer/figurehead/role model for women
I'm sorry, I didn't mean that in any kind of patronising way - like that was her added value. I guess I look at out community now - which is male dominated with trans women making up most of the female contingent, and I think back to AH.com's awkward teenage years (and hell, their awkward teenage now - they still have a photos of gorgeous women thread) and, well, I think a lot of damage was done. And it can be quite hard to view any community where almost every established member is one thing and be an other thing and think "yeah, I fit in here". I think that's rather why such a high proportion of the women here are trans, they didn't feel othered by the awkward community of the 00s and early 10s when they were building a stake in it.

He was an atheist and I think he knew Dawkins (I might be misremembering the joke of Reverend Dawkins in Darwin's Watch), but did say in 2008: "I have never disliked religion. I think it has some purpose in our evolution. I don't have much truck with the ' religion is the cause of most of our wars' school of thought because that is manifestly done by mad, manipulative and power-hungry men who cloak their ambition in God."

So it's possible if he'd escaped alzheimers, he'd have drifted into that sort of atheist circles, not liked them after a while, and there'd be a big atheist civil war on the internet over Is Pratchett Good Or Does He Suck
Mm. I think there's multiple signs in how he might fit into the New Atheism - the Dwarfs were getting awfully Evil Muslim towards the end - but he seemed to respect the idea that there could be a liberal Dwarfness. His takes on Nobby in a dress were gross, but his takes on female Dwarfs and queer coding them was very much not. idk. Maybe the question would be how fans reacted to him.
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
#25
Maybe the question would be how fans reacted to him.
That is a very good question. I can see a surge in the mid-10s of "he used to be good but now he's all SJW beta-marxist" even though the books & grounding ethics would be exactly the same and all he'd be doing is, as you say, not doing things like Nobby in a dress and doing more queer-coding (and likely not coding after a while).
 

David Flin

A home of love and laughter.
#26
I'm sorry, I didn't mean that in any kind of patronising way - like that was her added value. I guess I look at out community now - which is male dominated with trans women making up most of the female contingent, and I think back to AH.com's awkward teenage years (and hell, their awkward teenage now - they still have a photos of gorgeous women thread) and, well, I think a lot of damage was done. And it can be quite hard to view any community where almost every established member is one thing and be an other thing and think "yeah, I fit in here". I think that's rather why such a high proportion of the women here are trans, they didn't feel othered by the awkward community of the 00s and early 10s when they were building a stake in it.
No worries. No patronising assumed.

Whether it helps with your point, hinders it, or is tangential to it, I don't know, but she wasn't unfamiliar with the situation of being one of very few females surrounded by males, but everyone had a job to do, and the important bit was getting the job done, and not worrying about which precise chromosones one had.

I'll certainly agree that it can be difficult to gain actual acceptance into a community when that community is very heavily one thing, and one is not that thing. It requires a fair amount of determination to be accepted on one's own terms, but that's a digression.

"How can you have a conversation with a bunch of pixels of a picture of someone you're never going to meet?"
 
#27
As William Shakespeare died aged 52 in April 1616 and his father lived to his late 60s and mother to around 70, the family were relatively long-lived for the time and once he was living back in Stratford away from the London epidemics it would arguably be healthier. So what if he continues to write plays for the London theatre into the politically turbulent 1620s while living the life of a respectable semi-retired gentleman at his large new house, New Place in Stratford - would he have been tempted to do an undercover commentary on the current crises and corruptions of the Jacobean court? Or even enter into the controversy of Charles I shutting down Parliament and arresting opposition MP leader without trial if he was still alive in 1629?

The contemporary scandals at James Vi and I's lax and feud-prone court were certainly serious and politically debilitating; in 1615-16 the apparently bisexual as well as extravagant and indulgent King's 'favourite' and reputed boyfriend, the unpopular and greedy young Scots courtier Robert Carr/ Kerr , who he made earl of Rochester and a top minister, and his English aristocratic wife Frances Howard (daughter of the earl of Suffolk, the treasurer) were put on trial and convicted for the recent poisoning in the Tower of a loose-tongued former friend, Sir Thomas Overbury, who had been party to and threatened to reveal the legally dodgy divorce which Frances had secured from her previous husband, the earl of Essex. The King had pressurised the judges to grant the divorce though the evidence that Essex could not consumate the marriage was dubious, and had then agreed to throw Overbury in the Tower to shut him up after he seemed likely to spill the beans in a feud with Frances. F then was supposed to have hired a notorious female poisoner to send O some poisoned tarts and get rid of him - and the King did his best to prevent the accusation coming to trial and when the Carrs were convicted gave them lenient sentences. This and other contemporary scandals at the extravagant court were a far cry from the days of parsimonious and careful Queen Elizabeth - and the humiliated Essex went on to end up as commander of the Parliamentary army fighting Charles I so arguably alienating him cost the Stuart dynasty dearly.

Would a surviving Shakespeare have made something of this in more hard-hitting political plays about corrupt and vicious courts, albeit carefully disguised as being about equally vicious Ancient World subjects to avoid them being banned? And these would duly end up on our modern theatrical canon? I see a few plays coming out on vicious Republican Rome crises, eg a 'Gracchus' or 'Marius' (ie on populism), 'Sulla' (ie on tyranny), or 'Cicero' (with the principled hero killed off by the brutal Triumvirs). Or some plays about past English noble factions feuding ('John of Gaunt' about the sons of Edward III and their nephew Richard II) or on Parliament vs the King, 'Simon de Montfort'? This could then be used as disguised criticism of the Stuarts and their corrupt court, and be revived to stir up anti-Charles I feeling by the more non-Puritan critics of Charles I at the time of the political showdown in 1641-2. A political usefulness of theatre would argue against the moralist Puritan arguments by William Prynne and others that all theatre was 'ungodly sin' promoting vice and Catholicism and that the theatre scene should be shut down. The political play sof WS had been used by the anti-royal 'opposition' in the 1590s - 'Richard II'.
 
#28
As William Shakespeare died aged 52 in April 1616 and his father lived to his late 60s and mother to around 70, the family were relatively long-lived for the time and once he was living back in Stratford away from the London epidemics it would arguably be healthier. So what if he continues to write plays for the London theatre into the politically turbulent 1620s while living the life of a respectable semi-retired gentleman at his large new house, New Place in Stratford - would he have been tempted to do an undercover commentary on the current crises and corruptions of the Jacobean court? Or even enter into the controversy of Charles I shutting down Parliament and arresting opposition MP leader without trial if he was still alive in 1629?

The contemporary scandals at James Vi and I's lax and feud-prone court were certainly serious and politically debilitating; in 1615-16 the apparently bisexual as well as extravagant and indulgent King's 'favourite' and reputed boyfriend, the unpopular and greedy young Scots courtier Robert Carr/ Kerr , who he made earl of Rochester and a top minister, and his English aristocratic wife Frances Howard (daughter of the earl of Suffolk, the treasurer) were put on trial and convicted for the recent poisoning in the Tower of a loose-tongued former friend, Sir Thomas Overbury, who had been party to and threatened to reveal the legally dodgy divorce which Frances had secured from her previous husband, the earl of Essex. The King had pressurised the judges to grant the divorce though the evidence that Essex could not consumate the marriage was dubious, and had then agreed to throw Overbury in the Tower to shut him up after he seemed likely to spill the beans in a feud with Frances. F then was supposed to have hired a notorious female poisoner to send O some poisoned tarts and get rid of him - and the King did his best to prevent the accusation coming to trial and when the Carrs were convicted gave them lenient sentences. This and other contemporary scandals at the extravagant court were a far cry from the days of parsimonious and careful Queen Elizabeth - and the humiliated Essex went on to end up as commander of the Parliamentary army fighting Charles I so arguably alienating him cost the Stuart dynasty dearly.

Would a surviving Shakespeare have made something of this in more hard-hitting political plays about corrupt and vicious courts, albeit carefully disguised as being about equally vicious Ancient World subjects to avoid them being banned? And these would duly end up on our modern theatrical canon? I see a few plays coming out on vicious Republican Rome crises, eg a 'Gracchus' or 'Marius' (ie on populism), 'Sulla' (ie on tyranny), or 'Cicero' (with the principled hero killed off by the brutal Triumvirs). Or some plays about past English noble factions feuding ('John of Gaunt' about the sons of Edward III and their nephew Richard II) or on Parliament vs the King, 'Simon de Montfort'? This could then be used as disguised criticism of the Stuarts and their corrupt court, and be revived to stir up anti-Charles I feeling by the more non-Puritan critics of Charles I at the time of the political showdown in 1641-2. A political usefulness of theatre would argue against the moralist Puritan arguments by William Prynne and others that all theatre was 'ungodly sin' promoting vice and Catholicism and that the theatre scene should be shut down. The political play sof WS had been used by the anti-royal 'opposition' in the 1590s - 'Richard II'.
This is fun to think about, but would have been dangerous for him to push too far. He got into a lot of trouble for the performance of Richard II he and his players did in 1601 for the then Earl of Essex just before his rebellion. Elizabeth I herself was very aware of the subtext (“I am Richard II”) and made the Lord Chamberlain’s Men all perform the same play in front of her afterwards, which must have been terrifying.

It’s a fine line- at what point would the political subtext be noticed by the Lord Chamberlain and lose its plausible deniability? That, of course, makes the prospect all the more interesting.
 

Beata Beatrix

Democratic Bokononists of America
#30
Well, I mean, by 1616 Shakespeare had pretty clearly veered away from tragedy and history (the genres suggested as avenues for criticism of court and for political discussion) to writing tragicomedies (Winter’s Tale, Cymbeline) or masques with plays (Henry VIII, or Tempest of course) so I kind of rather doubt if he’d have ever gotten into the political game with any of the zest or chutzpah of a Middleton or a Jonson.

A longer-lived Shakespeare means more things like, I don’t know, Cardenio or - sad and beautiful depictions of ambiguous stories that have weird endings - like A King and No King, not bad, just... weird. So, basically, I don't think that he'd have gotten political. I'd also add that histories were almost laughably out of fashion by the 1610s – hence John Ford's Prologue to Perkin Warbeck, where he has to defensively tell everyone that histories are worthwhile, I promise, and that people can still write them.

Besides, Shakespeare was also not very political, I think - certainly not as much so as someone like Massinger in The Roman Actor or Middleton in A Game at Chess, both of which are plays that kind of play into the anti-court political tensions described here.

So, um, not to be a killjoy, but, as fun as this idea is, I kinda think its premise is just a bit flawed?
 
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Time Enough

The real Parasite was Capitalism
Pronouns
He/Him
#31
Albert Camus is an interesting one, his reaction to the turbulence of the 60s and the decolonisation of Algeria could be quite interesting especially if he were to take part in the May 68 riots in some capacity.

River Phoenix is another, I could quite easily see him becoming an consistent and well loved actor who steadily becomes more famous in the 10s as he most likely gets involved even more involved in political activism particularly as the Trump years start.
 

napoleon IV

No, no, no. This is beautiful. This is art.
Pronouns
he/him
#32
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, the "father of anarchism", died in 1865, 6 years before the Paris Commune would try to implement parts of his program before being crushed by the French government. Proudhon was only 56 when he died, so he could have easily lived for a decade or two after the Commune's fall. It would be interesting to see how he reacts to the Commune, the emergence of Mikhail Bakunin, and the International Workingmen's Association split between Marxist and Anarchists.
 
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zaffre

when I said "no deal" what I meant was "no, deal"
Location
Massachusetts
#33
Late-career Shakespeare is simply not in the headspace to be writing gritty political commentary, even if King James’ court were for some reason fine with it.

Personally, I think a rather off-kilter one that would have incalculably large effects for the world of political theory would be Fanon not getting leukemia and writing for another, what, thirty years at least - at most he could literally be on Twitter now.
 
#34
My idea for an imaginary 'continuation Shakespeare' canon was not so much for him 'doing political' explicitly, but continuing his - rather bleak - psychological exploration of the mentality of power-holders and political/ personal disillusion in later plays like 'King Lear' , eg in the corruption of power-seeking with good intentions into corner-cutting ruthlessness and bloodlust in Marius or cold-blooded 'ends justify the means' in Sulla. Or the isolation of the 'good man with high standards who has no supportive faction' in Cicero. I agree that these plays might not actually get performed in the febrile atmosphere and govt suspiciousness of the 1620s - but they would be around in manuscript to be revived later. This could then be used by others for political motives - I was thinking of 'opposition' peers like Warwick and the less religious, more open-minded Bedford - once censorship lapsed in 1641 to attack Charles I. If WS was producing commercial works for performance in the London theatre, this would probably be pastoral/ masque-style works given the 1620s court fashions - more in the style of 'The Tempest'?

Other ideas - what if Byron had not died in 1824 in Greece but still been around, albeit shunned as a debauchee by prudish Victorian high society and forced to live abroad , as a poetic inspiration and organiser for the 1848 revolutions? Or Shelley?
 

SenatorChickpea

The Most Kiwi Aussie of them all
Patreon supporter
#35
Actually, with Shakespeare one interesting idea might be to explore the rumored crypto-Catholicism. The reign of Charles I might give him confidence in certain dramatic choices he'd never contemplate otherwise.

Basically, yes, I'm picturing Shakespeare's version of A Man for All Seasons. Or something about Wolseley.
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
#36
Buddy Holly, Ritchie Vallens, and the Big Bopper not dying in a plane crash would have a big impact on rock and roll, and also mean they're still around to be older men when the British Invasion, Altamont, prog rock, disco, punk, and rap are all happening. What are they going to think of that? Would they adapt with the times or become dated old men, grousing about those horrible Stones people and their sick lyrics?
 

David Flin

A home of love and laughter.
#37
What are they going to think of that? Would they adapt with the times or become dated old men, grousing about those horrible Stones people and their sick lyrics?
Well, it could be worth looking at those who did survive and are still performing. Most of them adapted relatively easily.

You've also got the Brit invasion people, some of whom are also still performing, having adapted to suit.

Those who didn't adapt, and only had one way of performing, they faded into obscurity.
 

Time Enough

The real Parasite was Capitalism
Pronouns
He/Him
#38
I know this rather odd reviving this but I recently read about Dave Carter who was a folk singer and created the beautiful song about Death called When I Go.

She was also Trans, coming to terms with it just before her death at 49, with her musical partner Tracey Grammer revealing that they had a plan to release one more "Cowboy Dave" album, Tracey would start a solo career whilst Carter transitioned and then they would form a all girl group called Butterfly Conservatory.

I do think having someone like Carter around would be interesting, particularly since she was getting quite large on the folk scene and the effect having a openly Trans artist on that scene could be interesting.
 

Sulemain

Stray Bullets Raining On Down
Location
Coventry
#39
Strangely, this is one I know a bit more about than most people here, I suspect.

I can tell you for now that she would be very uncomfortable with the idea of being some sort of trailblazer/figurehead/role model for women. She'd want her arguments and her works to be judged on their merits, and not with any consideration given to the nature of the person who wrote them. It was a point that came up on shwi many, many years ago; the gist was that it was irrelevant who wrote something. If it's crap, it's crap. If it's good, it's good. Reputation, previous record, status of the writer, irrelevant.

Politically, she'd not fit in here. For one thing, she'd been a nurse working in some difficult situations. The tendency that some here have of getting close to glorifying civil unrest and violence, yeah. She cleaned up after that sort of thing. She had little time for theorising, especially when that led to pragmatism being overlooked. Politics existed to improve the lot of people, not as an end in itself.

She also had a dislike of posturing. "Playing up to my brand" would have met with short-shrift. I can hear her now: "If playing up to your brand means acting like a little shit, then your brand is something that you ought to get rid of." Rudeness was rudeness, and it didn't matter if it was "real" rudeness or "play-acting" rudeness. It was just rudeness.

She was no shrinking violet. If she thought something was wrong, she'd say so. If the other person could defend the stance, then fine. She may change her mind, or agree that there was a difference of opinion with validity on both sides. If the other person couldn't defend the stance, then no amount of special pleading would persuade her otherwise. She also didn't really care what someone's reputation was. She got into rows with very well known authors (Steve Stirling springs to mind), and wouldn't back down because of their supposed status.

She was also constantly courteous. Even when tearing someone's argument to shreds, and citing chapter on verse on why it was boneheaded stupidity, it would be done with courtesy. Her explanation was that descending into rudeness or insults detracts from the debate, and allows them to wriggle off the hook.

And endlessly mischievous. Her Lord of the Rings as written by other authors (and written on a flight back from the open prison in SE Asia called Singapore) remains a lot of fun.
Seems like you knew her really well :) .
 

Magniac

Heh, 4 or so blocks north, that's interesting
#40
I've heard people say that George Orwell was moving rightwards near the end of his life, but that may have just been a reaction to discovering his part in giving names to MI5 and his general anti-Soviet attitudes. Another thirty years and he may have gone right-wing, but maybe he would have ironically become a tankie for Mao's China, or stayed the same and be vindicated by 1956.
The idea that he might have gone down the path of Woodrow Wyatt or Paul Johnson, of becoming a mix of neoconservative and Thatcherite, is I think a popular one.

But what if he simply becomes another JB Priestley or Graham Greene, that is, simply unfashionable for non-provocative reasons?

(His friend Anthony Powell lived until the end of the century, and was basically in that category Hendryk mentions RE figures who lived long enough to become anachronisms.)

He also wanted to make another book about colonial Burma I think.
This something. He was so unusually attuned to this, he was still out ahead of real anti-colonialism when he died IMO.
Albert Camus is an interesting one, his reaction to the turbulence of the 60s and the decolonisation of Algeria could be quite interesting especially if he were to take part in the May 68 riots in some capacity.
I feel he could have faced the same threat of irrelevancy that I mention RE Orwell; an occupational danger for writers who are pretty free of hubris.

C. Wright Mills should have been the intellectual backbone of the American Left engaging with the Great Society and after, for all the difficulty of Vietnam; instead we got civil rights activists, pacifists, novelists and the two failed McSenators as the mature cadre of the New Politics. Mills was a labour historian as well as a sociologist, and more interested in the early youth movement than Galbraith ever was in the later one. I think he was a great loss to the outsiders coming to understand power structures in that era.