–– after 700 years,
a deeper, darker Hell
a world-famous literary sequel, with a commercial twist from today
I’ve been doing some late night communing with Dante Alighieri to see if I could interest him in a new literary project.
His curiosity is piqued, though he’s struggling with the concepts. Turns out celebrity and influence were different in the 14th century. Back in 1300 those were things that came naturally to people who were well-connected and powerful, not the other way round.
Our discussions laboured over the role and function of a celebrity influencer and foundered completely on the concept of a video vlogger. I shall try that one again once I am clearer in my own mind about it. I don’t think there is any point in trying to introduce the Maestro to the literary achievements of Mrs Hinch, though I believe he shares her interest in colouring-in now he has time on his hands.
Alighieri welcomes the notion of a literary agent. He thinks if he had had one his ‘remuneration might have been much greater’. I pointed out that if he had an agent, he might also have been expected to complete ‘The Divine Comedy’ in less than 12 years – and he’d probably have been nagged for a mid-market sequel, where Dante and Beatrice go off together in search of the New World.
He’s acid about publishers: he went off on a long diatribe in dialect of which I caught only ‘thieves’, ‘bonfire’, ‘vanities’ and ‘****ing good idea’. I can’t say if he was talking about burning, presumably unworthy, books – or the publishers themselves.
So far we have reached agreement on a sequel centred on the creation of an eighth circle of Hell, to be deeper and darker than ever.
The new categories of sinners to be included are, so far:
– literary agents who repeatedly proclaim to conferences that they (plural, not gender-indicative) ‘get back to people’ within X time. [The time period is not the issue.] What they actually mean is ‘I get back to those people to whom I might actually offer rep, within X time... The others? Who cares about them?’
– the literary agent responsible for the creation of the unforgettable response: “I liked it, but I didn’t like it enough”.
– celebrities of any sort, including government ministers, who ‘write’ ‘books’.
– publishers who publish celebrity ‘books’. You know who you are.
Work goes on. Further nominations welcome.