I will reblog this until you’re all sick of me
I will never grow sick of this
A True Thing.
So which is considered the oldest fandom? ( By what is considered a fandom by today’s standards) Sherlock or Star Trek?
Star Trek fandom basically created the idea of fan fiction, but Sherlock fandom nagged the writer to bring Sherlock back from the dead so the series didn’t end.
Sherlock or Star Trek???
*dusts off lectern*
Star Trek is generally considered the first western tv/film fandom. (The Man from UNCLE had a fandom slightly before then, but it didn’t persist or make a huge splash like Star Trek did).
Sherlock Holmes is generally considered the first western modern fandom in the sense that it’s the first piece of media to have a fandom amidst modern ideas of copyright. (There are other fandoms that came a bit earlier, especially with the serialized publication of novels, but, again, they didn’t persist or make a huge splash like Sherlock Holmes did.)
As many other people have pointed out in response to this post, fandom (aka participatory culture) has been a thing basically forever, both in terms of writing fanfiction (though it wasn’t called that) and in terms of having Feels and Opinions about stories and sharing them with the creators.
Modern notions of fandom are generally characterized by our concept of intellectual property ownership and the methods of media distribution, both of which create a divide between producers and fans that makes each identity more discrete.
(Sorry for being a bad academic and not citing anything here, but I’m on mobile and don’t feel like sourcing it all.)
(Waves) I’m a graduate student studying Classical Japanese literature, and last year a colleague of mine did her MA thesis on 山路の露 (“Yamaji no tsuyu,” “Dew on the Mountain Road”) which is an honest-to-god fix-it fic of The Tale of Genji (aka the world’s first novel) that the 13th-century author wrote so her otp could get together.
A great many Knights of the Round Table were OCs added in to the narrative by local storytellers who wanted a knight from their area of England. Some of them have absolutely fucking crazy powersets, and a non-zero amount of them have same-sex romances. Lancelot himself, one of the most famous knights, is Chrétien de Troyes’ super cool good at everything totally hawt Gary Stu from the 12th century.
The fic writers for BBC’s Merlin are arguably the truest inheritors of English-language fanfiction, especially the ones that make knight OCs and slash them.
In addition to the lovely and true examples listed above, fairy tales and most folklore and ancient semi-historical epics fall under this umbrella as well. Retellings and revisions and translations and artistic renderings and ballads and poems and plays and alternate universes where these stories are transplanted to new settings and… It’s all there.
There is no first fandom on record because “fandom” is just a modern name for a universal human impulse that dates back to long before the written word. While we may mark milestones in fannish development in different cultures, mostly driven by new technology and social structures and access, we cannot – nor should we try to – define the world’s “first fandom”. We cannot possibly know the first story any human ever told another, and that other then retold. We cannot know the first painting that a human was inspired to imitate or translate into song. That is lost to pre-history.
The Epic of Gilgamesh is basically somebody looking at the existing canon of episodic Gilgamesh stories and going “you know what, this needs a coherent character arc.”
“…..and let’s make it a lot more gay.”
omg I need to have this shit on my blog for reasons
Tale as old as time….