To Be Continued: Four Stories and their Survival

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

byPeter Conrad

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Books end, but the stories they tell continue. Stories exist to be retold, and those which are retold often enough acquire the status of myth. To Be Continued considers four such continuations of English literature, extending between the fourteenth and twentieth centuries, and surveyingEurope, America, Africa, and Japan. It first asks what happened to Chaucer's pilgrims after the poet deserted them halfway through their pilgrimage: could they ever have arrived at Canterbury? T S Eliot has one answer, William Burroughs another; films by Michael Powell and Pasolini contribute other guesses, and a song by ElvisPresley makes its own enigmatic contribution. Next, two Shakespearean plays undergo universalization: Romeo and Juliet is translated into music by a succession of Romantic composers, and King Lear is reinterpreted by a series of nineteenth century novelists and modern dramatists. Finally, thestory of Prometheus is traced from Aeschylus to the monster movies of the 1930s, by way of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. These post-dated meanings enrich and complicate their sources, keeping them alive: a myth, as Levi-Strauss pointed out, is the sum total of all its possible variants and versions. Accessible and entertaining, To Be Continued shows how, by retelling its stories, our culture recreates and reckonswith its past.

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From Our Editors

Books end, but the stories they tell continue. Stories exist to be retold, and acquire the status of myth. To Be Continued considers four such continuations of English literature, extending between the fourteenth and twentieth centuries, and surveying Europe, America, Africa, and Japan. To Be Continued shows how, by retelling its stori...

From the Publisher

Books end, but the stories they tell continue. Stories exist to be retold, and those which are retold often enough acquire the status of myth. To Be Continued considers four such continuations of English literature, extending between the fourteenth and twentieth centuries, and surveyingEurope, America, Africa, and Japan. It first as...

Peter Conrad is Tutor in English at Christ Church College, Oxford. Among Conrad's publications for OUP are: The Art of the City (1984), and Imagining America (1980). Amongst his other numerous publications are: Underworld (Chatto, 1992) Where I Fell to Earth (Chatto, 1990), A Song of Love and Death: The Meaning of Opera (Chatto, 1987)...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:214 pages, 8.5 × 5.51 × 0.71 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198182910

ISBN - 13:9780198182917

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From Our Editors

Books end, but the stories they tell continue. Stories exist to be retold, and acquire the status of myth. To Be Continued considers four such continuations of English literature, extending between the fourteenth and twentieth centuries, and surveying Europe, America, Africa, and Japan. To Be Continued shows how, by retelling its stories, our culture recreates and reckons with its past.

Editorial Reviews

`Peter Conrad's literary critical study ... had moments of such disarming cleverness that I had to admire it'Lucasta Miller, The Independent