People need to accept that not all “cliches” are bad. People still like stuff like forbidden love stories, underdogs winning, and the dog biting back. The term cliche is negative, produces an image of all that is trite and boring, but actual cliches can be very good. Storytelling is built on cliches after all.
It’s not the cliche but how it is utilized by the author.
I’m not disagreeing with this post, but the word you’re looking for is “archetypes.” A cliche is a specific example of something in a plot (i.e. the tall drink of water that walks into the detective office, the emotionally restricted father figure, damsels in distress, ect…). An Archetype is a much broader structure for a story that is capable of being filled with an idea. (i. e. Forbidden love, the heros quest, the riddle plot, ect…). Cliches have abad conotation because they’re lazy storytelling, stereotypes. They can be used if you do something interesting with them, but on their own they’re pretty dull. Using an archetype is like getting a blueprint for a house, but being able to customize it as you build it. Using a cliche is like copying your neighbor’s bedroom because it’s easier than designing your own.
Anyway. I’m all for using familiar stories, just make sure you know what it is you’re referencing when you do it.
how is it possible to love fictional characters this much and also have people always been this way?
like, did queen elizabeth lie in bed late sometimes thinking ‘VERILY I CANNOT EVEN FOR MERCUTIO HATH SLAIN ME WITH FEELS’
was caesar like ‘ET TU ODYSSEUS’
sometimes i wonder
oh my GOD
the answer is yes they did. there’s a lot of research about the highly emotional reactions to the first novels widely available in print.
here’s a thing; the printing press was invented in 1450 and whilst it was revolutionary it wasn’t very good. but then it got better over time and by the 16th century there were publications, novels, scientific journals, folios, pamphlets and newspapers all over Europe. at first most were educational or theological, or reprints of classical works.
however, novels gained in popularity, as basically what most people wanted was to read for pleasure. they became salacious, extremely dramatic, with tragic heroines and doomed love and flawed heroes (see classical literature, only more extreme.) books in the form of letters were common. sensationalism was par the course and apparently used to teach moral lessons. there was also a lot of erotica floating around.
but here’s the thing: due to the greater availability of literature and the rise of comfy furniture (i shit you not this is an actual historical fact, the 16th and 17th century was when beds and chairs got comfy) people started reading novels for pleasure, women especially. as these novels were highly emotional, they too became…highly emotional. there are loads of contemporary reports of young women especially fainting, having hysterics, or crying fits lasting for days due to the death of a character or their otp’s doomed love. they became insensible over books and characters, and were very vocal about it. men weren’t immune-there’s a long letter a middle-aged man wrote to the author of his favourite work basically saying that the novel is too sad, he can’t handle all his feels, if they don’t get together he won’t be able to go on, and his heart is already broken at the heroine’s tragic state (IIRC ehh).
conservatives at the time were seriously worried about the effects of literature on people’s mental health, and thought it damaging to both morals and society. so basically yes it is exactly like what happens on tumblr when we cry over attractive British men, only my historical theory (get me) is that their emotions were even more intense, as they hadn’t had a life of sensationalist media to numb the pain for them beforehand in the same way we do, nor did they have the giant group therapy session that is tumblr.
(don’t even get me started on the classical/early medieval dudes and their boners for the Iliad i will be here all week. suffice to say, the members of the Byzantine court used Homeric puns instead of talking normally to each other if someone who hand’t studied the classics was in the room. they had dickish fandom in-jokes. boom.)
I needed to know this.
See, we’re all just the current steps in a time-honored tradition! (And this post is good to read along with Affectingly’s post this week about old-school-fandom-and-history-and-stuff.
Ancient Iliad fandom is intense
Alexander the Great and and his boyfriend totally RPed Achilles and Patroclus. Alexander shipped that hard. (It’s possible that this story is apocryphal, but that would just mean that ancient historians were writing RPS about Alexander and Hephaestion RPing Iliad slash and honestly that’s just as good).
And then there’s this gem from Plato:
“Very different was the reward of the true love of Achilles towards his lover Patroclus - his lover and not his love (the notion that Patroclus was the beloved one is a foolish error into which Aeschylus has fallen, for Achilles was surely the fairer of the two, fairer also than all the other heroes; and, as Homer informs us, he was still beardless, and younger far)” - Symposium
That’s right: 4th Century BCE arguments about who topped. Nihil novi sub sole my friends.
Note that the printing press in China is invented much earlier and it has basically the same effect. Social conservatives in the censor bureau censored huge amounts of literature and poetry because of the devastating effect it had on the literati class (who formed most of the government bureaucracy, let’s not forget: So your state governor can’t work this week because he’s having Baoyu / Daiyu feels.) This did not stop it from leaking out anyway, in secret editions and hand-copied versions. And OMG the feels that these people have. There’s basically a constant struggle between the censors and this underground fandom, most novels are copied chapter-by-chapter, with people inserting fanfic chapters when they don’t have all the material (so if you have chapters 2, 3, 4, 10, 12 of your favorite book you might write your own 5-9 and circulate them) or just writing straight-up fanfic (famously in Water Margin and Red Chamber it _becomes canon_ after the author’s death.)
This post is the best thing, every part of it. Nothing to add except wow.
I’ve reblogged this before, but it had less information on it then. Shakespeare is almost entirely stuff we’d call fanfiction nowadays and his histories are RPF. We have evidence medieval nobility did things a lot like weekend-long LARP as entertainment, with paid performers as game organizers and NPCs. For centuries, there have been rumors that Queen Victoria knighted Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in order to pressure him into retconning Reichenbach and continuing to write Sherlock Holmes stories.
I was an enormous Tolkien geek in middle school, and went as far as reading a lot of his letters/a lot of Simarillion meta. The short version is, he deliberately left gaps in the Silmarillion because Tolkien, as a professor of language and mythology, believed that for nearly all of human history storytelling had been participatory and involved many tellers of the same tales. He thought early-to-mid 20th century pop-culture and mass media were destructive because people did far less telling of stories, claiming of stories, and reworking of stories. I am pretty sure that, despite being a stuffy old professorial Christian white dude who would probably not read any porny fic or watch shippy vids, Tolkien is beaming in his grave over such things’ existence - over participatory storytelling having finally made its glorious comeback, over the 20th century’s approach to narrative being firmly established as an abberant nightmare that is thankfully mostly over. Did we get mythos we all reference and participate in to come back in style? Oh, by Harry Potter’s scar and every Jedi’s lightsaber, have we ever pulled that one off.
I follow the smartest people.
No one before Bernini had managed to make marble so carnal. In his nimble hands it would flatter and stream, quiver and sweat. His figures weep and shout, their torses twist and run, and arch themselves in spasms of intense sensation. He could, like an alchemist, change one material into another - marble into trees, leaves, hair, and, of course, flesh.
- Simon Schama’s Power of Art. Bernini
entelecheia — in the philosophy of Aristotle, the condition of a thing whose essence is fully realized [x]
#OKAY BUT IF THIS IS AN ANGEL—IF THEIR HALOS ARE THE UNFLAWED AND FULLY REALIZED CIRCLE#THAT MEANS THAT IN FALLING—IN BECOMING DEMONIC#THE CIRCLE CRACKS#THE DEMON’S HORNS ARE THE VESTIGIAL HALO#A CONSTANT SYMBOL AND REMINDER OF THEIR FLAWED-NESS; THEIR INCOMPLETENESS#I’M!!!!! (notbecauseofvictories)
this is a really interesting take on how halos/horns would work.
I always like it when people interpret things like angels as neutral rather than pretty=good. Makes for a more interesting design.