Jan. 29th, 2014

helloladies: Picture of T-Rex from Dinosaur Comics reading You'll thank me when you share my politics! (you'll thank me later)
[personal profile] helloladies
Put on your shades and grab the keys to the DeLorean, friends, because today we've got special guest Clare from The Literary Omnivore with us to take us on a trip through fandom history with a quick overview from our complicated past to our gloriously rich and unsurprisingly splintered present. Clare is one of our favorite fannish historians and pop culture critics, and we're super excited to feature her here. :D


Introduction


Fans have always been fans. Virgil’s Aeneid is literally epic fanfiction of The Iliad. Before Beatlemania and Whedonites, there were Lisztomaniacs. And the first documented ship war was over Jo and Laurie in Little Women, with Jo/Laurie shippers on one side and Louisa May Alcott on the other. The fannish impulse—that special blend of love, critique, and, occasionally, correction—has been expressed time and time again throughout human history.

But fandomthe organization of fans into a specific community—is a phenomenon of the twentieth century, especially the Western media fandom that characterizes fandom to many people both in and outside fandom. In fact, Ronald A. Knox’s 1911 essay “Studies in the Literature of Sherlock Holmes” gives fandom the practice of referring to their texts as "canon". The satirical essay is meant to mock the German New Criticism (a certain take on historical criticism of a text) of the Bible by applying the same method to the Sherlock Holmes stories. The comparison of the Biblical canon to Doyle’s canon caught on, which is to say that the fannish usage of “canon” is over a century old.

But fandom does not start there. Read more... )

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