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The Canon Rewritten - "Jack Maggs" as a rewrite of "Great Expectations"

Literature from Down Under

Vanessa Schmidt

on 8 July 2016

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Transcript of The Canon Rewritten - "Jack Maggs" as a rewrite of "Great Expectations"

The Canon Rewritten
Jack Maggs
as a rewrite of
Great Expectations

Characteristics & concerns of post-colonial literature I
Similarities between
Jack Maggs
Great Expectations
- Plot
Father-son relationship Magwitch/Pip and Maggs/Phipps
Magwitch & Maggs both make a fortune in Australia
Pip's/Phipp's inheritance as a result of Magwitch's/Magg's benevolence
Magwitch & Maggs both want to return to Great Britain for good
Similarities between
Jack Maggs
Great Expectations
- Characters
Dickens's Abel Magwitch "rewritten" as Carey's Jack Maggs
Dickens's Pip "rewritten" as Carey's Henry Phipps
Habit of creating eccentric & odd characters like Miss Havisham (GE) or Mercy (JM)
Characteristics & concerns of post-colonial literature II
Giving a voice to the "marginalized" & the "oppressed"
Writing from the perspective of the "marginalized"
Rectifying inaccuracies colonizers spread (regarding historical events, culture, places, practices etc.)
Restoring status of indigenous culture
Displaying development & change of English (adoption & alteration of colonizers' language)

(cf. Ashcroft et al. 2012)
Rewriting fiction?
Your turn
1. What advantages or disadvantages do you see in rewriting fiction?

2. Are there any works of literature (classical or contemporary) that you would like to rewrite? Why?
"One simple answer is that [post-colonial writing] has arisen out of experiences
which result from contact with the British empire. In this sense, post-colonial
literature is writing which reflects, in a great variety of ways, the effects of
colonialism" (O'Reilly 2001: 6).
Tobias Oates based on Charles Dickens
Meta level
Dickens, original author/inventor, incorporated as a character in the rewriting of his own novel
Like a story about the creation of
Great Expectations
Similar biography
"From rags to riches"
Career as journalist
Other than that...
Great Expectations
Told from Pip's perspective
Focuses on Pip's life story
Jack Maggs
Told from Magg's perspective
Begins with the return of the convict
Seminar: Literature from Down Under
Speaker: Vanessa Schmidt
WS 2014/15

Concerns & characteristics of post-colonial literature
JM & GE compared - Characters
JM & GE compared - Plot
Advantages & disadvantages of rewriting fiction
Ashcroft, Bill et al.
The Empire Writes Back.
New York: Routledge, 1989.
O'Reilly, Christopher.
Post-colonial Literature.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.
Dickens' biography, found under http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/dickens_charles.shtml [Date of access: 11.01.2015]
Full transcript