Princeton University course teaches Furry Fanfic – professor talks to us.
by Patch O'Furr
Fanfiction: Transformative Works from Shakespeare to Sherlock assigns homework to read a story replacing characters with animals. (See March 4 in the link.) I emailed the professor for comment to furries. She has an interesting background and is author of “Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World”. (Her previous course focused on Twilight – the movie just came out, so I’m guessing that’s why she had many journalist encounters.)
Professor Anne Jamison writes:
I am sorry for the delay in getting back to you. For some reason, I had many journalist requests this week!
I should clarify—the assignment was to *read* such work, not to write it.
I know that not all fanfiction involving characters transformed into animals is created by furries, and that some of the authors don’t even know of the subculture. I also know, however, that some such authors do have that background, and that furries often enjoy the stories. I don’t ask—I figure if people wanted to share that information with their readers, they would.
Some of these stories—whatever the enthusiasms of the authors—are extremely creative and very insightful about the character traits they portray using animals. As I said in my class, portraying human characteristics with anthropomorphized animals is a tradition that goes back as far as literature does! And probably longer.
My question for a furry website would be, have you ever heard of any “furry” interest in Kafka’s animal stories? The famous beetle in his “Metamorphosis” isn’t furry, but he also has stories about mice, apes, dogs, and an unspecified burrowing creature. I think they aren’t “cute,” and so aren’t the kind of thing that I understand to be of most interest–but I don’t have an extensive knowledge of the subculture. If there are furries interested in Kafka’s stories, I’d love to know about it! (I write on Kafka, too)
Thank you for your interest, and again, I apologize for the delay.
Visiting Associate Professor
I asked to share, and answered:
I love Kafka… I’m not deeply read on him, but very familiar. Metamorphosis is one of the best pieces of avante garde literature I could name.
Semi related: I’ve just been sharing about this book “Freak’s Amour”. I wish it could draw better traffic and be shared more than it has been, because I (and the few who know it) feel it would make an amazing movie.
The book was planned for a movie that fell through. It did become a 1990’s comic. It’s interesting that the comic makers, who championed the project themselves (it was artist driven), had pitched an adaptation of Kafka’s Metamorphosis directly before it. Freak’s Amour is quoted to be about “body dysmorphia” so both stories share subtext. Steve Bissette, one of the main promoters of the comic, became famous for his work on Swamp Thing. The Dark City movie made instead has been called a sci-fi Kafka story.