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May 23, 2002

Literary Diggers
Posted by Teresa at 06:10 AM *

Vox populi, vox dei would be a good motto for fanfiction.net: all categories descriptive, and no holds barred. This is a snapshot of their section for stories based on books, in order of popularity. I can’t claim to understand what the difference is between Harry Potter fan fiction and Harry Potter author fics, but with those numbers it hardly matters.

Start with the real heavy hitters:

Harry Potter, 35520
Lord of the Rings, 7416
Animorphs, 2818
Tamora Pierce, 1853
Harry Potter Author Fics, 1253
Redwall, 532
L. J. Smith, 435
The Bible, 419
The Phantom of the Opera, 343
Vampire Hunter, 333
Fairy Tales (trad.), 284
Dragonlance, 207
Les Miserables, 188
Mercedes Lackey, 188
The Wheel of Time (Robert Jordan), 183
His Dark Materials, 182
Shakespeare, 170
Forgotten Realms, 146
In The Forests of the Night, 116
Sherlock Holmes, 109
Discworld (Terry Pratchett), 107
The Outsiders (S. E. Hinton), 97
The Babysitters Club, 92
Everworld, 88
Peter Pan, 83
Lord of the Flies (William Golding), 75
Ella Enchanted, 70
The Princess Diaries, 70
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, 68
Good Omens, 67
Stephen King, 57
Young Jedi Knights, 57
The Giver, 53
Homer, 53
Enchanted Forest, 51
Is that eclectic, or what? Note that Homer, Shakespeare, the Bible, and traditional fairy tales are still hanging in there, which should surprise no one. And neener-neener, mainstream.

On now to the comfortable midlist, solid commercial fiction plus a few exceptions:

V. C. Andrews, 47
L. M. Montgomery, 45
To Kill a Mockingbird, 44
The Dark is Rising Sequence, 43
Greek Mythology, 43
Orson Scott Card, 43
Fearless, 42
Jedi Apprentice, 42
Broken Sky, 39
David Eddings, 39
Young Wizards, 37
Sweet Valley High/Twins, 34
Artemis Fowl, 29
Sweep, 29
Sword of Truth (Terry Goodkind) 29
Daughters of the Moon, 28
Romance of the Three Kingdoms, 26
Xanth (Piers Anthony), 26
Dinotopia, 25
Nineteen Eighty-Four (Orwell), 25
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, 24
Watership Down, 24
The Dark Jewels Trilogy, 21
Michael Crichton, 20
Remnants, 20
C. S. Lewis, 19
Dune, 19
The Black Stallion, 18
Mediator, 18
Starshield, 18
Jane Austen, 17
Poppy Z. Brite, 17
H. G. Wells, 15
Goosebumps, 14
Replica, 14
Terry Brooks, 14
Alexandre Dumas, 13
Marion Zimmer Bradley, 13
Tom Clancy, 13
The Diary of Anne Frank, 12
Robin McKinley, 12
The Vampire Chronicles, 12
William Gibson, 12
Diadem, 11
Dalemark Quartet, 10
Firebringer Trilogy, 10
Neverwhere, 10
The Series Of Unfortunate Events, 10
And finish, at the alluvial plain of single-digit numbers, with works that compelled no one’s participation, but nevertheless took someone’s fancy:
K-PAX, 9
Robin Hood (trad.), 9
The Clan of the Cave Bear, 8
Amber series (Roger Zelazny), 7
Charles Dickens, 7
Hardy Boys, 7
Star Trek: New Frontier, 7
Earth’s Children, 6
Melanie Rawn, 6
The Nightmare Room, 6
Tuck Everlasting, 6
The Unicorn Chronicles, 6
Ann Rinaldi, 5
Dragaera novels (Steven Brust), 5
Foundation (Isaac Asimov), 5
Unicorns of Balinor, 5
Ravenloft, 4
Robert Asprin, 4
Diana Gabaldon, 3
Good Night Mr Tom, 3
The Hidden World, 3
The Incarnations of Immortality, 3
Johnny Tremain, 3
Little House on the Prairie, 3
Louis Lamour, 3
Miles Vorkosigan (Lois Bujold), 3
Sherwood Smith, 3
Spooksville, 3
Westmark, 3
Breaking Rank, 2
The Crystal Cave (Mary Stewart), 2
Deltora Quest, 2
Earthsea Trilogy (Le Guin), 2
Friday (Robert A. Heinlein), 2
The Witch of Blackbird Pond, 2
The Books of the Kingdoms, 1
The Crucible (Arthur Miller), 1
Dandelion Wine (Ray Bradbury, 1
The English Patient, 1
Gormenghast, 1
King Arthur (in rhyming couplets), 1
Midnight’s Children (Salman Rushdie), 1
Montana, 1948, 1
Obernewtyn (Isobelle Carmody), 1
The Pigman (Paul Zindel), 1
Regeneration, 1
Summer of the Monkeys, 1
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, 1
Conclusions? Draw your own. I can’t muster the effrontery to lay interpretation upon this antheap of literary populism.

Canonicity is only a notion. Most of the confusion on this point can be traced to the literary convention that decrees that reference books, primary- and secondary-school textbooks, and discussions of the canon shall be made to sound like the word from Mount Olympus, if not Mount Sinai. But they are all mutable; and in academia the literary canon is less a list carved in stone than a trampled battlefield where a perpetual bunfight rages.

Works and authors continue to be read because we interact with them, make use of them, learn about the world from them, and remember them at moments of need. The Cader Books compilation of Bestseller Lists, 1900-1995, is humbling reading for an editor: so many briefly eminent books, so few still read or remembered. But if you go through and note the titles that do still get read, just about all of them would make good starting points for fan fiction.

Comments on Literary Diggers:
#1 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2002, 10:35 AM:

My conclusion?

Most of the fanfic folks are either children
or think like children.

#2 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2002, 11:50 AM:

Surely "reads and likes books that happen to be shelved in the Young Adult section" is not the same as "thinks like a child"?

#3 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2002, 02:19 PM:

I was referring to the "Literary Diggers" column,
where most of the top 10 examples of fan fiction
are probably from children (Harry Potter, Lord of
the RIngs, Tamora Pierce, Redwall).

Granted, I know of adults who write LOTR fanfic, but...

Also, nothing is leaping out as slash, which tends to be written more by adults.

My daughter hangs out (or hung out) with people
online who write Final Fantasy Seven slash
fiction.

#4 ::: Vijay Bowen ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2002, 03:27 PM:

I am morbidly fascinated by RPS (real person slash), and the fact that there is U2 death-slash fiction, written by more than one person, usually falling into the rape/murder/suicide plot pattern. (At least there used to be two or three writers of it, the last time I looked.)

Yes, I know, maybe you didn't need to know that. But I think it's somehow out there on the edge of . . . something.

#5 ::: Janet Lafler ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2002, 04:21 PM:

One thing that strikes me is that this type of clearinghouse site is not going to draw as many posts about topics/authors where there's already an established fan community.

I mean, why read or post Jane Austen fanfic on this site when you could go to the Republic of Pemberley?

#6 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2002, 06:31 PM:

I'm sure a lot of them are in their tens and teens. Kids wrestle with fiction. They worry about it and take it to heart, and want it to come out different when it has an unhappy ending. Writing stories into and out of other stories is one of their ways of thinking about them.

I'm equally sure that some of those fanfic writers are older. It's the Internet. No one can tell how old a dog you are.

A more inscrutable point: It's seemed to me, when I've read through the Cader Books bestseller list, that of the early-20th-century books that are still read, a disproportionate number are books for kids, or have since their publication been categorized as such. I've been mulling that over ever since I noticed it.

Still no conclusions. But I do know that if you want to be a good writer, cultivating fourteen-year-old beta readers is not a bad idea.

#7 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2002, 07:04 PM:

Re: beta readers: Indeed--I believe I've heard several writers say that readers that age & younger *really* *care* about the details. (Of course, judging from reviews of Tamora Pierce's books on Amazon, they also have stronger tendencies towards romantic cliches than older readers. Hey, I *like* Cleon...)

As far as kids' books still being read--one explanation that comes to mind its the generational hand-me-down effect, perhaps?

#8 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2002, 11:58 PM:

And, too, fewer pre- to early-teens are being told to do something -useful- rather than writing stories (and don't have the full distraction-set of sex drugs and rock 'n' roll). There's still a major bulge in the market for role-playing games from junior high to high school. I mean, I really don't think many adults are writing "Animorphs."

Unless, that is, it's as porn. A great number of street-level porn films (as distinguished from that which has airs of being "erotica") are versions of successful mainstram films -- or at least, recognizable genre works -- in which the characters have sex on camera. Sometimes this is satirical, but more often it's just "Hey, what if Luke and Leia, you know?" And suddenly we're in the Slash Continuum.

#9 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2002, 12:01 AM:

Sorry, posted a bit early --

"stronger tendencies toward romantic cliches than older readers"? That was irony, right? Or have you not met Jack Ryan's wife?

#10 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2002, 01:01 AM:

Wasn't meant as irony, though it's been so long since I read any Clancy I really can't comment on Jack Ryan's wife.

More information that anyone probably wanted on the Tamora Pierce example--

Background: in one of her current four-book series, Keladry is the first girl in living memory to publicly go through training to become a knight. In the second book, she has a very early-adolescent crush on Neal, a wiseass who has been her friend since day one. In the third, _Squire_, she grows out of that and discovers that a much less flashy friend of hers, Cleon, is interested in her; they develop what I think is a rather nice, realistic, relationship. In an earlier series, Alanna (who goes through knight training disguised as a boy) refused to marry either the prince or the warrior, and goes with a humorous ex-thief with a sweet smile.

Judging from the reviews on Amazon, comments on a web forum, and Pierce's web page, a lot of people--who seem to be fairly young, judging from the form and content of their remarks--were rooting *really* hard for the "traditional" romantic ending for Kel and Alanna. In particular, poor Cleon seems to be almost absurdly unpopular: he's not the crush she had from day one, why is Kel so fickle, she and Neal were obviously meant to be together, etc. And I think Pierce must have had to explain "Why didn't Alanna marry the prince" quite a few times, judging from its appearance among the FAQs on her web page. Whereas to me, they both make perfect sense. (I should say that Kel's story has one more book to go, though I'm dead sure she won't end up with Neal after all.)

I attribute this to the ubiquity of romantic cliches and the lack of personal experience among pre-teens and teens to show that the cliches are only one side of the story.

Does that make more sense?

#11 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2002, 08:26 AM:

If you tell kids that one character is in love with another, they'll accept it as part of what they are, like their eye color, rather than something that they do: basalt columns are igneous, Arizona is the forty-eighth state in the Union, and Ferdy is in love with Lulu. They haven't been through the experience of finding love impermanent.

I lie, a little. Some kids understand the mutability of it, and you get readers of all ages who don't. In comics, it's almost impossible to pry two characters apart who've been presented as being in love; and even if you make a thorough job of it, there'll be fans who find the changed state unsettling.

Mike, I have a full-page ad clipped from a naughty video magazine (a friend of mine somehow got on their catalogue mailing lists) that shows a scantily dressed yeoman sitting in the lap of the guy in the captain's chair. He's leering. She's cheerful. There are suggestions in the ad that the other characters get a workout too. It's mainstream porn.

#12 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2002, 09:09 AM:

"It's head, Jim."

Uh, where were we?

#13 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2002, 07:15 PM:

"It's head, Jim, but not as we know it..."

I think that Harry Potter Author Fics could easily be stories in which the Author turns out to be telling the Secret Truth of the World and have magic powers herself.

#14 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: May 28, 2002, 11:07 AM:

The laws are in place, the place where the diggers are standing up for glory is well known: where are the hired men and troopers to wipe out the diggers' claim?

As I remarked once to Beth Friedman on Usenet w.r.t. slash fiction, these works make me think of Pirandello's observation, in "Six Characters in Search of an Author," that strong characters must have a life outside the confines of the playwright's script. Fan fiction is what happens when those characters exercise their prerogatives within reach of readers' imaginations.

#15 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2002, 07:12 AM:

Bob, "Diggers" was a nod in the direction of the Diggers' original program of going and farming agricultural land which legally belonged to other owners, but which was (as they saw it) wantonly being let stand idle.

#16 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2002, 10:26 PM:

Ah, thanks. I'll note the need for further exploration of the Diggers' rational beyond what falls gently from the folk process. From your note, I'd guess that they've done quite well by that process, changing from thieving idlers ganging up to steal the value out of fallow land into heroes of the Revolution.

I think that if the characters and settings are what are being farmed, Pirandello and I would agree that they're glad for the work.

#17 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 29, 2002, 11:37 PM:

No, not that either. Taken together with the Ranters and Levellers, they were much weirder and more interesting than you yet imagine. Many of them had participated in or at least supported the English Civil War in the expectation of a new world coming in the morning. Reshuffling high-level offices and some bits of property, but leaving the rest of the power-and-money social structures in place as before, was not what they'd had in mind.

They had reason to be concerned. Note the recurrent word they spell "inclosure". The worst of the enclosures were a long way in the future, but the process had begun, and these guys were feeling the pinch.

Another factor at work here is the coincidence of relatively cheap printing, spreading literacy, increasing ownership of Bibles by individuals, and a breakdown in the old system of top-down scrutiny of all material to be printed. During this period there was a terrific efflorescence of weird writing, a match for anything ever run off on a mimeo or posted to the nets. (For extra credit, identify the source of the original manna-script. It's not =The Enchanted Duplicator.=)

I'm going to quote here from Gerrard Winstanley's =The True Levellers Standard Advanced: Or, The State of Community Opened, and Presented to the Sons of Men=, subtitled =A Declaration to the Powers of England, and to all the Powers of the World, shewing the Cause why the Common People of England have begun, and gives Consent to Digge up, Manure, and Sow Corn upon George-Hill in Surrey; by those that have Subscribed, and thousands more that gives Consent=. (1649).

Some of the ideas in it may seem hopelessly optimistic, but bear in mind that they were brand new.You can find it complete at http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/en/winstanley.htm.

====================================

In the beginning of Time, the great Creator Reason, made the Earth to be a Common Treasury, to preserve Beasts, Birds, Fishes, and Man, the lord that was to govern this Creation; for Man had Domination given to him, over the Beasts, Birds, and Fishes; but not one word was spoken in the beginning, That one branch of mankind should rule over another.

And the Reason is this, Every single man, Male and Female, is a perfect Creature of himself; and the same Spirit that made the Globe, dwels in man to govern the Globe; so that the flesh of man being subject to Reason, his Maker, hath him to be his Teacher and Ruler within himself, therefore needs not run abroad after any Teacher and Ruler without him, for he needs not that any man should teach him, for the same Anoynting that ruled in the Son of man, teacheth him all things.

But since humane flesh (that king of Beasts) began to delight himself in the objects of the Creation, more then in the Spirit Reason and Righteosness, who manifests himself to be the indweller in the Five Sences, of Hearing, Seeing, Tasting, Smelling, Feeling; then he fell into blindness of mind and weakness of heart, and runs abroad for a Teacher and Ruler: And so selfish imaginations taking possession of the Five Sences, and ruling as King in the room of Reason therein, and working with Covetousnesse, did set up one man to teach and rule over another; and thereby the Spirit was killed, and man was brought into bondage, and became a greater Slave to such of his own kind, then the Beasts of the field were to him.

And hereupon, The Earth (which was made to be a Common Treasury of relief for all, both Beasts and Men) was hedged in to In-closures by the teachers and rulers, and the others were made Servants and Slaves: And that Earth that is within this Creation made a Common Store-house for all, is bought and sold, and kept in the hands of a few, whereby the great Creator is mightily dishonoured, as if he were a respector of persons, delighting int he comfortable Livelihoods of some, and rejoycing in the miserable povertie and straits of others. From the beginning it was not so. ...

But for the present state of the old World that is running up like parchment in the fire, and wearing away, we see proud Imaginary flesh, which is the wise Serpent, rises up in flesh and gets dominion in some to rule over others, and so forces one part of the Creation man, to be a slave to another; and thereby the Spirit is killed in both. The one looks upon himself as a teacher and ruler, and so is lifted up in pride over his fellow Creature: The other looks upon himself as imperfect, and so is dejected in his spirit, and looks upon his fellow Creature of his own Image, as a Lord above him. ...

Thou teaching and ruling power of flesh, thou hast had three periods of time, to vaunt thy self over thy Brother; the first was from the time of thy coming in, called A-dam, or a stoppage, till Moses came; and there thou that wast a self-lover in Cain, killed thy brother Abel, a plain-hearted man that loved righteousnesse: And thou by thy wisdom and beastly government, made the whole Earth to stinck, till Noah came, which was a time of the world, like the coming in of the watery Seed into the womb, towards the bringing forth of the man child.

And from Noah till Moses came, thou still hast ruled in vaunting, pride, and cruel oppression; Ishmael against Isaac, Esau against Jacob; for thou hast still been the man of flesh that hath ever persecuted the man of righteousnesse, the Spirit Reason.

And Secondly, from Moses till the Son of Man came, which was time of the world, that the man child could not speak like a man, but lisping, making signs to shew his meaning; as we see many Creatures that cannot speak do. For Moses Law was a Language lapped up in Types, Sacrifices, Forms, and Customs, which was weak time. And in this time likewise, O thou teaching and ruling power, thou wast an oppressor; for look into Scriptures and see if Aaron and the Priests were not the first that deceived the people; and the Rulers, as Kings and Governors, were continually the Ocean-head, out of whose power, Burdens, Oppressions, and Poverty did flow out upon the Earth: and these two Powers still hath been the Curse, that hath led the Earth, mankind, into confusion and death by their imaginary and selvish teaching and ruling, and it could be no otherwise; for while man looks upon himself, as an imperfect Creation, and seeks and runs abroad for a teacher and a rule, he is all this time a stranger to the Spirit that is within himself.

But though the Earth hath been generally thus in darknesse, since the A-dam rise up, and hath owned a Light, and a Law without them to walk by, yet some have been found as watchmen, in this night time of the world, that have been taught by the Spirit within them, and not by any flesh without them, as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the Prophets: And these, and such as these, have still been the Butt, at whom, the powers of the Earth in all ages of the world, by their selvish Laws, have shot their fury.

And then Thirdly, from the time of the Son of man, which was time that the man-child began to speak like a child growing upward to manhood, till now, that the Spirit is rising up in strength. O thou teaching and ruling power of the earthly man, thou has been an oppressor, by imprisonment, impoverishing, and martyrdom; and all thy power and wit, hathbeen to make Laws, and execute thm against such as stand for universal Liberty, which is the rising up of Jacob: as by those ancient enslaving Laws not yet blotted out, but held up as weapons against the man-child.

O thou Powers of England, though thou hast promised to make this People a Free People, yet thou hast so handled the matter, through thy self-seeking humour, That thou has wrapped us up more in bondage, and oppression lies heavier upon us; not only bringing thy fellow Creatures, the Commoners, to a morsel of Bread, but by confounding all sorts of people by thy Government, of doing and undoing.

First, Thou hast made the people to take a Covenant and Oaths to endeavour a Reformation, and to bring in Liberty every man in his place; and yet while a man is in pursuing of that Covenant, he is imprisoned and oppressed by thy Officers, Courts, and Justices, so called.

Thou hast made Ordinances to cast down Oppressing, Popish, Episcopal, Self-willed and Prerogative Laws; yet we see, That Self-wil and Prerogative power, is the great standing Law, that rules all in action, and others in words.

Thou hast made many promises and protestations to make the Land a Free Nation: And yet at this very day, the same people, to whom thou hast made such Protestatins of Liberty, are oppressed by thy Courts, Sizes, Sessions, by thy Justices and Clarks of the Peace, so called, Bayliffs, Committees, are imprisoned, and forced to spend that bread, that should save their lives from Famine.

And all this, Because they stand to maintain an universal Liberty and Freedom, which not only is our Birthright, which our Maker gave us, but which thou hast promised to restore unto us, from under the former oppressing Powers that are gone before, and which likewise we have bought with our Money, in Taxes, Free-quarter, and Bloud-shed; all which Sums thou hast received at our hands, and yet thou hast not given us our bargain. ...

We are made to hold forth this Declaration to you that are the Great Councel, and to you the Great Army of the Land of England, that you may know what we would have, and what you are bound to give us by your Covenants and Promises; and that you may joyn with us in this Work, and so find Peace. Or else, if you do oppose us, we have peace in our Work, and in declaring this Report: And you shall be left without excuse.

The Work we are going about is this, To dig up Georges-Hill and the waste Ground thereabouts, and to Sow Corn, and to eat our bread together by the sweat of our brows.

And the First Reason is this, That we may work in righteousness, and lay the Foundation of making the Earth a Common Treasury for All, both Rich and Poor, That every one that is born in the land, may be fed by the Earth his Mother that brought him forth, according to the Reason that rules in the Creation. Not Inclosing any part into any particular hand, but all as one man, working together, and feeding together as Sons of one Father, members of one Family; not one Lording over another, but all looking upon each other, as equals in the Creation; so that our Maker may be glorified in the work of his own hands, and that every one may see, he is no respecter of Persons, but equally loves his whole Creation, and hates nothing but the Serpent, which is Covetousness, branching forth into selvish Imagination, Pride, Envie, Hypocrisie, Uncleanness; all seeking the ease and honor of flesh, and fighting against the Spirit Reason that made the Creation; for that is the Corruption, the Curse, the Devil, the Father of Lies; Death and Bondage that Serpent and Dragon that the Creation is to be delivered from.

And we have moved hereunto for that Reason, and other which hath been shewed us, both by Vision, Voyce, and Revelation.

For it is shewed us, That so long as we, That so long as we, or any other, doth own the Earth to be the peculier Interest of Lords and Landlords, and not common to others as well as them, we own the Curse, and holds the Creation under bondage; and so long as we or any other doth own Landlords and Tennants, for one to call the Land his, or another to hire it of him, or for one to give hire, and for another to work for hire; this is to dishonour the work of Creation; as if the righteous Creator should have respect to persons, and therefore made the Earth for some, and not for all: And so long as we, or any other maintain this Civil Propriety, we consent still to hold the Creation down under that bondage it groans under, and so we should hinder the work of Restoration, and sin against Light that is given into us, and so through fear of the flesh man, lose our peace.

And that this Civil Propriety is the Curse, is manifest thus, Those that Buy and Sell Land, and are landlords, have got it either by Oppression, or Murther, or Theft; and all landlords lives in the breach of the Seventh and Eighth Commandements, Thous shalt not steal, nor kill.

First by their Oppression. They have by their subtle imaginary and covetous wit, got the plain-hearted poor, or yonger Brethren to work for them, for small wages, and by their work have got a great increase; for the poor by their labour lifts up Tyrants to rule over them; or else by their covetous wit, they have out-reached the plain-hearted in Buying and Selling, and thereby inriched themselves, but impoverished others: or else by their subtile wit, having been a lifter up into places of Trust, have inforced people to pay Money for a Publick use, but have divided much of it into their private purses; and so have got it by Oppression.

Then Secondly for Murther; They have by subtile wit and power, pretended to preserve a people in safety by the power of the Sword; and what by large Pay, much Free-quarter, and other Booties, which they call their own, they get much Monies, and with this they buy Land, and become landlords; and if once Landlords, then they rise to be Justices, Rulers, and State Governours, as experience shewes: But all this is but a bloudy and subtile Theevery, countenanced by a Law that Covetousness made; and is a breach of the Seventh Commandement, Thou shalt not kill.

And likewise Thirdly a breach of the Eighth Commandement, Thou shalt not steal; but these landlords have thus stoln the Earth from their fellow Creatures, that have an equal share with them, by the Law of Reason and Creation, as well as they.

And such as these rise up to be rich in the objects of the Earth; then by their plausible words of flattery to the plain-hearted people, whom they deceive, and that lies under confusion and blindness: They are lifted up to be Teachers, Rulers, and Law makers over them that lifted them up; as if the Earth were made peculiarly for them, and not for other weal: If you cast your eye a little backward, you shall see, That this outward Teaching and Ruling power, is the Babylonish yoke laid upon Israel of old, under Nebuchadnezzar; and so Successively from that time, the Conquering Enemy, have still laid these yokes upon Israel to keep Jacob down: And the last enslaving Conquest which the Enemy got over Israel, was the Norman over England; and from that time, Kings, Lords, Judges, Justices, Bayliffs, and the violent bitter people that are Free-holders, are and have been Successively. The Norman Bastard William himself, his Colonels, Captains, inferiour Officers, and Common souldiers, who still are from that time to this day in pursuite of that victory, Imprisoning, Robbing, and killing the poor enslaved English Israelites.

And this appears cleer, For when any Trustee or State Officer is to be Chosen, The Free-holders or Landlords must be the Chusers, who are the Norman Common Souldiers, spread abroad in the Land; And who must be Chosen: but some very rich man, who is the Successor of the Norman Colonels or high Officers. And to what end have they been thus Chosen? but to Establish that Norman power the more forcibly over the enslaved English, and to beat them down again, when as they gather heart to seek for Liberty.

For what are all those Binding and Restraining Laws that have been made from one Age to another since that Conquest, and are still upheld by Furie over the People? I say, What are they? but the Cords, Bands, Manacles, and Yokes that the enslaved English, like Newgate Prisoners, wears upn their hands and legs as they walk the streets; by which those Norman Oppressors, and these their Successors from Age to Age have enslaved the poor People by, killed their younger Brother, and would not suffer Jacob to arise.

O what mighty Delusion, do you, who are the powers of England live in! That while you pretend to throw down that Norman yoke, and Babylonish power, and have promised to make the groaning people of England a Free People; yet you still lift up that Norman yoke, and slavish Tyranny, and holds the People as much in bondage, as the Bastard Conquerour himself, and his Councel of War.

Take notice, That England is not a Free People, till the Poor that have no Land, have a free allowance to dig and labour the Commons, and so live as Comfortably as the Landlords that live in their Inclosures. For the People have not laid out their Monies, and shed their Bloud, that their Landlords, the Norman power, should still have its liberty and freedom to rule in Tyranny in his Lords, landlords, Judges, Justices, Bayliffs, and State Servants; but that the Oppressed might be set Free, Prison doors opened, and the Poor peoples hearts comforted by an universal Consent of making the Earth a Common Treasury, that they may live together as one House of Israel, united in brotherly love into one Spirit; and having a comfortable livelihood in the Community of one Earth their Mother. ...

The common People are filled with good words from Pulpits and Councel Tables, but no good Deeds; For they wait and wait for good, and for deliverances, but none comes; While they wait for liberty, behold greater bondage comes insteed of it, and burdens, oppressions, taskmasters, from Sessions, Lawyers, Bayliffs of Hundreds, Committees, Impropriators, Clerks of Peace, and Courts of Justice, so called, does whip the People by old Popish weather-beaten Laws, that were excommunicate long age by Covenants, Oaths, and Ordinances; but as yet are not cast out, but rather taken in again, to be standing pricks in our eys, and thorns in our side; Beside Free-quartering, Plundering by some rude Souldiers, and the abounding of Taxes; which if they were equally divided among the Souldiery, and not too much bagd up in the hands of particulars Officers and Trustees, there would be less complaining: Besides the horrible cheating that is in Buying and Selling, and the cruel Oppression of Landlords, and Lords of Mannours, and quarter Sessions; Many that have bin good Souldiers, and so to fight to uphold the Curse, or else live in great straits and beggery: O you A-dams of the Earth, you have right Clothing, full Bellies, have your Honors and Ease, and you puffe at this; But know thous stout-hearted Pharoah, that the day of Judgement is begun, and it will reach to thee ere long; Jacob hath bin very low, but he is rising, and will rise, do the worst thou canst; and the poor people whom thou oppresses, shall be the Saviours of the land; For the blessing is rising up in them, and thou shalt be ashamed.

And thus, you Powers of England, and of the whole World, we have declared our Reasons, why we have begun to dug upon George hill in Surrey.

====================================

End of excerpt.

Will you ever hear "Babylon is Fallen" the same way again?


#18 ::: Mary Kay Kare ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2002, 01:00 AM:

Rats. I was fascinated to think someone had written fanfic on The Crucible, but as yet, have been unable to locate same. (I was permanently scarred by the experience of teaching The Crucible as a student teacher.)

MKK

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