The revenge of Gatsby, Mrs De Winter… the infinite love of the literary suites

When Robert Louis Stevenson finished his 1886 novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, he tied up the tale with an apparent purpose: the lawyer, Gabriel Utterson, was in his pocket the letters explaining that the two title characters (centenary of the plot-spoiler – they are the same person) are both dead, after the discovery of Hyde’s body.

Ingeniously, however, the Australian-born, Edinburgh-based novelist Anthony O’neill has managed to fashion a result of this apparent impasse: Dr Jekyll and Mr to Look for: The Strange Case Continues. In O’neill’s continuation, Utterson is surprised, seven years after the events described by Stevenson, by the appearance of a mysterious gentleman who claims to be Dr. Henry Jekyll – who, logically, cannot exist.

While the premise is clever – a story about split personality is now an appearance of identity theft, the negotiation of what seemed to be an insurmountable obstacle to the history of the proceedings suggests that the classic suite has become an unstoppable force. Another Stevenson banker, Treasure Island, has at least 10 assorted prequels and sequels by other authors, two of which are followed by the former poet Andrew Motion: the Money and The New World.

The popularity of the form may be mainly attributed to Hollywood, where the quality of a script is increasingly judged on the title could reappear, followed by a “two,” and, ideally, an increase of the succession of digits. Inspired by movie studios, writers, and publishers have begun to imagine a second go at the stories that seemed to be a compromise.

The modern market has started by Scarlett, Alexandra Ripley’s 1991 continuation of Margaret Mitchell’s gone with the Wind, which is authorized by the Mitchell estate. Then came Susan Hill’s Mrs De Winter (1993), the extension of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, and Geraldine Brooks March (2006), which has increased from Louisa may Alcott Little Women. But while Brooks won the Pulitzer prize for his own, and other supplements of fiction have been less warmly received. The heirs of Victor Hugo tried to prevent Cosette, François Ceresa in 2001 to the prolongation of “les Misérables”, while the lawyers of JD Salinger won restrictions against John David California’s 60 Years Later (2009), who picked up The Catcher in The Rye.

Legal letters, however, are not necessary to keep some great books in their original covers. There are three main reasons for the respect of the writer in the end: a sense that the work is too venerable or important to be prolonged by another hand; the sense that the narrative is completed; and an obstruction of the real estate, the foundation, or of the appreciation of the company.

F Scott Fitzgerald The great Gatsby meets all three criteria, although this has not prevented SF Covell Revenge of Gatsby being published online in 2013. A warning class the work as a “fan fiction”, a genre which means that each classic novel will probably be a sequel of some sort somewhere. I had guessed that Middlemarch George Eliot – who must have a case to be the most complete novel ever written – alley of the un-stretched, but the research has revealed The Ladislaw Case by the Swedish writer Imke Thormählen.

This book, which has happened, even if Eliot had taken the precaution to include its own epilogue, a kind of tablet on. Therefore, the best strategies for authors keen to avoid the possibility of their books focused on without is probably to write several suites you-same – as Anthony Trollope did in his Barsetshire and Palliser sequences – or, even if the Dr Jekyll and Mr intelligently finds a way through the narration brick wall which Stevenson seems to have built at the end of the original, to focus on the tragedies and significant of the final statement.

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Thomas Hardy, for example, does not leave a lot of a list actors for anyone who is considering to take on Tess of the D Urbervilles or Jude the Obscure. Muriel Spark also made sure that nobody could write to The Decline of Miss Jean Brodie, a retired teacher, unmarried, looking back from old age.

Even in stories where the main characters remain alive, and their creators have the option to leave a firm feeling that everything necessary has been said. It is quite easy to imagine Ralph and Jack, two of the wild schoolboys stranded on an island in Lord of the Flies, as a banker and a cabinet minister later in life, but it would also be useless. William Golding, the novel expects and encourages readers to question the men, the boys can become. A great novel will often contain such resonance, that its continuation is implicit and must not be written by someone else.