The Worst Thing to Happen to Stories

I don’t normally listen to Radio 4, but I caught an interesting feature that made me sit up and listen. I don’t know what it was called or who the speaker was but he said this;

‘The worst thing to happen to stories was the written word.’

I’ll explain. He said that someone tells a story, verbally, then the next person who tells it will adapt the story; cut down the boring bits, make the good bits more exiting etc and each person who tells the story alters it like that and the story gets better and better. With writing a story it stays on the page, static and unchanging.

Perhaps this is a reason why re-telling a story is popular, whether it’s a fairy-tale remake or an old film made new. Because someone thought they could make it better.

Do you have a favourite re-telling or re-make? Why is it better than the original?

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