Revisionist Creativity

I love revisionist texts – you know, the kind of text where the current artist reworks something from an original, often well-known or beloved text and produces something entirely new.

As a teacher, I often work with my students through texts that are revisions of earlier, “original” works; among them: Jane Smiley’s Pulitzer Prize winning A Thousand Acres, which is a revisionist text for Shakespeare’s King Lear, Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea, which is a prequel and revisionist text to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, and John Gardner’s Grendel, which is a prequel and revisionist text of the original Anglo Saxon epic Beowulf.

Of course there are revisionist film texts galore – re-workings of  (sometimes beloved) original screen or other stories. Some have a very light and “fun” vibe – like all of the Shrek movies, which are compilations of original fairytales with satirical elements applied (I teach a unit on that too) 🙂

There are also some for the stage: Wicked, the revisionist text for the Wicked Witch aspect of the original Wizard of Oz film and book springs to mind.

Not as often, I hear/see revisionist musical texts – though usually it’s an “updating” of an old classic, such as “Unforgettable” with Natalie Cole, singing along with her father’s original version of the song.

But here is an example of a song that’s been revised backward…to an older style that was undoubtedly its long-lost relative anyway. It’s a cover of “All About That Bass”, done by Kate Davis; I love it, maybe even better than the original text by Meghan Trainor (of course my predilection for 1940’s music may have something to do with that too, LOL). Some of you may have seen it already, since it made its way around Facebook and other social networking sites, but I’m sharing it here, since I think it’s worth the listen, either way.

Anyone have any revisionist texts – written, film, musical, or otherwise that they enjoy? Please share in the comments, if you’re so inclined. 🙂

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