This post is partly inspired by I Am Scrooge: A Zombie Story for Christmas, and partly inspired by my debilitating need to stop reading I Am Scrooge: A Zombie Story for Christmas, and do almost anything else.
This zombie story breathes life into Jacob Marley (or breathes in death-life... zombie biology is gravely unclear), who rips apart the people around him, and starts to make for Scrooge. The text immediately shows some wit, pointing out that Marley had been dead "for about three minutes,that is" (3). That's not dissimilar to how long his soul rests in Dickens' novel. It then becomes tiresome, unfunny, and graphically violent. So I'll readily admit to not finishing it, which is convenient since my title actually refers to the original text and not this bloody, "braaaaaaaaaaains"-less tripe.
My question is whether the classic novels like A Christmas Carol, the works that span decades through their spawn, are in a sense, dead. Does A Christmas Carol exist at all outside of its hideous/beautiful progenies? If the "culture-text," intriguingly introduced by Paul Davis, is the one that we "collectively remember," "the Carol as it has been intriguingly recreated in the last century and a half" (4), what space is there for the original text? Can it exist on its own shaky legs, or is this text only bolstered by its afterlife?
I don't believe that the classics that have permeated our culture are dead, I think they are uniquely newly alive in how they can be devoured in so many different forms by so many. But I do think that recognizing and appreciation this new life that adaptation has breathed into these works is a crucial step towards (finally) moving away from fidelity complaints, from purist wringing, and from snobby eye-rolling at a text that may forcefully engage with pop culture as much as it engages with Dickens.
Keeping all that in mind... I Am Scrooge: A Zombie Story for Christmas is still awful. Please don't read it. And greeting from Dickens Camp in Santa Cruz!
- Lingerr Senghor