Herman Melville’s pompous dictum, “It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation,” notwithstanding, I love retellings of great stories. From Marion Zimmer Bradley’s wonderful The Mists of Avalon to Michael Cunningham’s The Hours to Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (some of my favorites) it’s hard for me not to see the possibilities for retelling in a book or play or television series or film that I especially enjoyed. Of course, the closer a work is to classic status, the easier it is to imagine a modern spin—in part because the author is probably long dead and unable to complain that zombies and werewolves have been inserted into their 19th century storyline.
This Flavorwire post got me thinking about what books would benefit from a new retelling. Madame Bovary as a Real Housewife of New Jersey, anyone? Moby Dick with spaceships and a lot less talk about whale fat rendering? A Tale of Two Cities set in the present-day Middle East?
What are your favorite retellings and which stories would you like to see retold?