A major chunk of the novel The Club Dumas didn't make it into the still excellent film The Ninth Gate with Johnny Depp.
It deals with a group of obsessed fans of The Three Musketeers and its sequels, a strange, European literary underground of readers driven to celebrate the characters and intrigues of the classic Dumas works.
I thought of that enthusiasm for a classic when Stewart mentioned the culling of great works from library shelves in the interest of titles with higher circulation. It's a bookseller's approach with an effect not unlike the fire in the library at Alexandria.
Since I used to be a librarian of sorts, I was dismayed by that report. I always had the sense we were preserving knowledge in our battles against mold, dust and non-returns.
I've been re-reading Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes this week, perhaps one of the tales pulled from some shelves. Portions of it are set in a library, I suppose because Bradbury haunted libraries in his younger days, enjoying the titles A to Z.
Knowledge preserved proves beneficial in the fight against Mr. Dark and his evil carnival.
More and more, with everything from the culling of classics to the fragmentation of television and movie audiences, we are not sharing the same dreams en masse like the Dumas fans. We are not experiencing as much serendipitously as a culture any more if it's not Paris Hilton mania.
I don't know that I'm exactly alarmed by that, but I mull it over from time to time.
What will be the cost of that? The loss of the campfire and the shared myth? The collective dream.
What will come of us if we lose the richer language of shared metaphors? If we don't get the references to the dash of D'artagnan when it's referenced or the treachery of Milady de Winter?
What language will we speak then?