Baba Brinkman. Brinkman performs remixes of The Canterbury Tales and other classic titles. The Pardoners Tale and the General Prologue can be downloaded. His Beowulf remix is also available online (free to listen online - or download for "name your own price!"). Here is a selection from the latter. I have chosen the final lines because I like his ending - it will resonate with literature purists, like myself, but also with students.
If you want to know her actual facial features
Just go ask your twelfth-grade teachers,
Or your college professors – they’re like the last gate-keepers
On tradition – or read Seamus Heaney’s version
His verse is amazing!
But any pop-culture interpretation
Is subject to virtually unlimited changes
‘Cause if you try to please the Tourists
Well, the Purists get Tourette’s and curse you
But then if you try to do the reverse
Well, the Tourists are known for their lack of endurance
So who do I try to please first?
Myself, and it usually works!
So instead of judging like jurists
Just sit back and enjoy the experience
And I’ll go back to the story... actually
You know what? Forget it – I’d rather just leave it
If you really wanna know how it ends
Well then I guess you’d better just read it!
Go read it
Get the dual language edition
Read the introduction too
C’mon ladies and gentleman
You can’t listen to rap music to get an education
This is entertainment only
You have to go read!
Go read! Go read!
(Beowulf remix from Canterbury Tales Remixed)
Another great text is Brinkman's Gilgamesh remix, which ends:
If immortality exists, ladies and gentlemen
Well then I guess, you’re listening to it
(Baba Brinkman's The Canterbury Tales Remixed )
Here are three more text-based subsets of the literary mashup genre:
1. Literately remixed fairy tales exist in many forms, from opera to picture book to Broadway to adult novel. The best resource remains SurLaLune. If you have not already done so, give one of these YA titles a look:
- Datlow's story collection A Wolf at the Door (an Amazon bargain at $.01)
- Yolen's Briar Rose
- Napoli's The Magic Circle
- Gidwitz's A Tale Dark and Grimm
- The Odyssey
- Fahrenheit 451 (also Bradbury short stories)
- Alice in Wonderland
- The Call of the Wild
- Romeo and Juliette
- Great Expectations
- Jane Eyre
- Sherlock Holmes (multiple titles)
Students have been challenged to create mashups for years as summative assignments. I have never been overly pleased with the results, based as they often are on shallow readings. This is no replacement for an essay or iEssay. On the other hand, remixing Shakespeare into contemporary language, even into text or chat conversations, can be a valuable assessment of student understanding (or at least translation) of character, motive, meaning, and plotline. What is often lost is the literary-ness - richness of language in particular. If richness of language is not to be part of the mashup, another richness (visual, nuanced, symbolic, humorous, ironic) must take its place. See Shaking Up Shakespeare for one teacher's response to this challenge.