I’m all for convincing people to read the book, absolutely! I just think we have opposing strategies for how to go about it. I want to entice people with interesting material, not shame them into compliance. I have no idea how many times I’ve seen people indicate that they were driven away from the Brick because they heard the fandom’s reputation for hostile elitism, so thought the wasp’s nest wouldn’t welcome a new initiate. Maybe you’ve seen your tough love work, but can you count the number of people that kind of discourse has scared off? Given that unknown, I will always err on the side of charity over aggression. I’d rather have a small, welcoming novel fandom over a large, judgmental one any day.
Poking at your blog, you seem to have a particular interest in the social justice aspects of the novel. As such, does it really make sense to impose hierarchies - particularly intellectual hierarchies - upon the fandom itself?
((Re: the first parenthesis above - I asked grantaires if they would prefer me to make our correspondence public or private, and they indicated that I could but didn’t have to share it. Also, AUGH accidentally published this to the wrong blog on this POS platform, so here, have a photo reply.))
My experience with Les Mis nerdfandom has always been less on the side of “you must be familiar with THIS MUCH HISTORICAL CONTEXT to enter this ride, otherwise wtf sort of fan do you call yourself you uneducated plebe,” and waaaaay more on the side of “I FOUND A THING it is the most hilarious and/or beautiful thing LET ME ENTICE YOU WITH THING, IT EXPANDED MY HORIZONS AND I WANT SOMEONE ELSE TO COME HANG OUT WITH ME OVER IN THE VAST EXPANSES OF OBSCURE HISTORICAL CONTEXT.” And frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way—geeking out about history and context is the main way I do Les Mis fandom, but not everyone is obliged to do fandom the way I do it. I just would like to lure as many people over into this corner as I can so we’ll have more company. More company is always fun.