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In the wake of fandom madness over Harry Potter, I bring you an abbreviated list of insane fandom before the internet. Actually it's just two examples, but they involve classic fiction so it should count as more, surely?

1. After Arthur Conan Doyle killed Holmes off in The Final Problem, angry letters poured in - one of which started 'you brute!.' He was also hit by the handbag of one irate reader.

2. Samuel Richardson also received angry and despairing mail about his mid 18th century novel, Clarissa. One woman accused him of stealing her life story, others said they were too traumatised to finish, and still others begged him to pair Clarissa off with her rapist Lovelace. (Yay! for early shippers wars.)

Sadly, fan craziness is not new. But it does gather and spread faster than before. And I bet they didn't have icons in Ye Olde Englande.

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lesbiassparrow

August 2011

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