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Should Anne Frank's life be novelised? With added steam?

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LoveHistory
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Postby LoveHistory » Tue July 20th, 2010, 5:06 pm

Off the top of my head, I'd say they could be worried about people Photoshopping.

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Susan
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Postby Susan » Tue July 20th, 2010, 8:08 pm

"Michy" wrote:Why were photos prohibited inside? Just curious, since there is usually a specific reason. I recently visited Mt. Vernon, and photos were not allowed inside the mansion because many of the items are on loan (copyright issues, I presume).


The photos are prohibited because of the small space. If visitors stopped to take photos there would be major congestion problems. Most of the rooms are small and have only one way in/out. The largest room was the one that served as kitchen and the Van Daans' bedroom. Anne's room is probably about 6 feet wide and 9 feet long. As I think I mentioned, there is no furniture in the rooms to facilitate the movements of visitors.

I just recalled that there is now a virtual tour online. When my students were reading the book the tour was not yet ready. Here's the link: http://www.annefrank.org/secretannex

Adding something...the rooms on the virtual tour are furnished, but as I said there is no furniture when visitors are there.
Last edited by Susan on Tue July 20th, 2010, 8:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Margaret
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Postby Margaret » Wed July 21st, 2010, 1:14 am

Why were photos prohibited inside?


Just a guess - I've never been there - but light can have a detrimental effect on some kinds of artifacts. Especially if the pictures Anne glued to the walls came out of magazines, they could degrade fairly quickly the more they are exposed to light, and flash cameras produce a lot of light.
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Margaret
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Review of Annexed

Postby Margaret » Fri October 8th, 2010, 7:13 am

I've just finished reading Annexed, and posted a review at HistoricalNovels.info. Having read the so-called "sex scene" now, I'm wondering if the people who have criticized it as "steamy" could ever have read it. It's a sweet, fairly short scene that doesn't involve the removal of any clothing and leaves ambiguous precisely what happened - but I simply can't read the scene as involving a sex act, unless one counts hugging and caressing as sex. Anne breaks off the encounter, and Peter doesn't take it any farther. As far as I'm concerned, the whole controversy is a tempest in a teapot.

For a writer to take her personal account and turn it into what amounts to entertaining reading cheapens it and, as someone else has said, is disrespectful to the memory of Anne and the others.


Actually, my main problem with Annexed is that it hammers so hard on the misery of the camps (Peter narrates, as if remembering what happened in the annex while he is lingering near death in the concentration camp at Mauthausen) and spends so much time with a depressed and dispirited Peter during the first months of their time in the annex that I found much of the novel repetitious and wearying to read. One of the reasons Anne's diary is so popular, I think, it because her determination to find some happiness amid their awful situation makes the diary interesting to read and not depressing (though it's certainly poignant). So having read Annexed, I would have to say that the novel does not cheapen the Anne Frank story by turning it into entertaining reading - I didn't find the novel particularly entertaining.

This brings up a question that has emerged for me with other novels, though. To what extent is it reprehensible to write entertaining fiction about bad behavior? And what do we mean by "entertaining"? Wars are classic settings for fiction - is it wrong to write entertaining novels about people at war? And if a novel were not entertaining, why would anyone read it? Or is there a difference between an entertaining novel and a novel which is compelling and absorbing to read because it satisfies our need to develop some sort of understanding about why and how people come to commit terrible things and/or how people manage to live in the shadow of such terrible things? Is the latter sort of novel not "entertaining," but something different?
Last edited by Margaret on Fri October 8th, 2010, 7:43 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Divia
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Postby Divia » Fri October 8th, 2010, 10:01 am

Interesting. Thanks for the review.
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Miss Moppet
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Postby Miss Moppet » Fri October 8th, 2010, 9:38 pm

Thanks for the review, Margaret. Sounds like the sex aspect has been totally mis-represented.

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LoveHistory
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Postby LoveHistory » Sat October 9th, 2010, 12:39 am

Another case of marketers gone wild.

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Divia
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Postby Divia » Sat October 9th, 2010, 6:34 pm

"LoveHistory" wrote:Another case of marketers gone wild.


Yeah, but maybe that was the intention. There was a lot of buzz aorund the book. Maybe the sex scandal made people buy the book just for that aspect. A sale is a sale. ;)
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Margaret
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Postby Margaret » Sat October 9th, 2010, 11:14 pm

Since I posted, I saw an article online that suggested Sharon Dogar may have trimmed the scene and toned it down from the first, unpublished version, which may indeed have been a sex scene (though from the section in the published version, I can't believe it would have been anything but tasteful). In any case, the published version is the one that counts.

I've just posted a guest article from Sharon Dogar on my website, titled Peter van Pels, in which she addresses the question of whether, and to what extent, a novelist has the right or should exercise it to create fiction around the life of a person who really existed. I found it quite interesting. She doesn't dismiss the concerns of people who think this should not be done, but of course, her own conclusion is that the benefits outweigh the concerns.

We wouldn't have very many historical novels, if it was forbidden to write fiction about people who really lived - of course, the sensitivity is bound to be greater around people who lived more recently, especially within living memory.
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Michy
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Postby Michy » Sun October 10th, 2010, 12:36 am

"Margaret" wrote:We wouldn't have very many historical novels, if it was forbidden to write fiction about people who really lived - of course, the sensitivity is bound to be greater around people who lived more recently, especially within living memory.


Of course real people are fair game for historical novelists; otherwise, as you say, we wouldn't have much historical fiction! However, not all lives are equal. In the case of Anne Frank, given the circumstances of her life and death, I think that novelizing her diary is in poor taste, no matter how much sensitivity the author may use. Part of that may be because it still seems too recent. I recall from earlier up in this thread that someone said a play had been written about her life (not recently). I've never seen it, but I wouldn't want to -- that, too, seems in poor taste.


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