As much as I liked War and Peace, I probably got more out of The Wire. And why should that be surprising? More human effort can be put into a television series than a novel and more time is spent consuming it. If both are executed to their highest standards, with equal care, skill and insight, we might well expect less from the book.
If we can mention The Wire in the same breath as Tolstoy, then why not another giant of nineteenth century literature, Charles Dickens? Yes, The Wire has been called “Dickensian” too, and this week the Hooded Utilitarian has re-imagined The Wire as a serialized Victorian novel. The premise? Imagine The Wire written in 60 installments over the course of six years, starting in 1846, by Horatio Bucklesby Ogden, a Dickens contemporary who wrote with a “nuance and attention to detail that Dickens never achieved.” Each installment ran 30 pages and sold for one shilling apiece.
The Hooded Utilitarian hasn’t actually printed these 60 installments (because they don’t actually exist). But they have produced a few wonderful mock pages, and written a faux piece of literary criticism to accompany them. A great job by Joy Delyria and Sean Michael Robinson.