The Wire, the Victorian novel
March 26, 2011 § 3 Comments
In season 5 episode of The Wire – the season focusing on the Media and in particular on the Baltimore Sun – old-school senior editor Gus Haynes worries about the reporting work of junior writer Scott Templeton and its lack of journalistic evidence (in fact, we, the audience, are aware that his writings are pure fiction). He’s overruled though by the chief editor who, ironically, loves the “Dickensian aspect” of Templeton’s articles. This mock mention, The Wire creator David Simon has admitted, was used as a reply to all critics who compared his work to Dickens’ – a comparison he felt was flattering but falling badly on him.
In fact, The Wire was a serialized novel of Dickens’ contemporary Horatio Bucklesby Ogden and illustrated by Baxter “Bubz” Black. An overlooked Victorian masterpiece, The Wire failed to grasp the attention of the reading masses but was praised by literary scholars. In fact, Dickens’ later works, like Bleak House and A Tale of Two Cities, seem to have been influenced by The Wire.
Or so says a thoroughly enjoyable faux literary journal article for The Hooded Utilitarian by Sean Michael Robinson and Joy Delyria. An appropriate homage to the Wire, the article is written with impressive attention to detail, including the amazing illustrations above. It’s high point? The analysis of Omar Little as a gothic hero.
I loved it, and I was reminded of how much I loved The Wire, too.
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