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Jessica McCall


Beatrice hated Mr. Lear. In fact the only person she hated more than Mr. Lear was Benedict and that was only because she hated everything about Benedict—especially his face. Her current rage, however, was because Mr. Lear had turned their spring play—the jewel of the drama club—into two one acts. Mr. Lear insisted Romeo and Juliet was a play about the “titanic struggle of love and family” and Benedict had agreed with him like the snake-in-the-grass suck up he was. Beatrice had helpfully pointed out Romeo and Juliet were thirteen and choosing an outfit was a titanic struggle for thirteen year olds, but Mr. Lear had been less than amused and thus her chance to perform the leading role in a Shakespearean tragedy was ripped from her grasp. Everyone knew Mr. Lear punished you if you didn’t tell him how awesome he was.

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Exit, pursued by a fan

Shakespeare, Fandom, and the Lure of the Alternate Universe

Kavita Mudan Finn and Jessica McCall


Amongst fans and the academics who study them, it is generally accepted (perhaps even a truth universally acknowledged) that a good portion of what we consider canonical literature – including Shakespeare – also fits the broadest definition of fanfiction, in that it is clearly written in response to or adapting a specific source text. Transformative fiction (also known as fanfiction, fanfic, or, most commonly among those who write and read it, fic) offers an alternative form of both close-reading and contextual criticism when applied to premodern writers, just as it does for contemporary media properties, and in many ways allows for the inclusion of otherwise marginalised voices. This article, therefore, combines traditional criticism with two different pieces of Shakespeare-based fanfiction in order to illustrate the potential and versatility of this type of textual engagement.