Monday, September 12, 2011

Prediction: we're in for more inheritance fiction.

I write wills and trusts in a law office half-time. Of course it gets me thinking about Bleak House, Middlemarch, "The Adventure of the Norwood Builder" and other old-timey English inheritance fiction.

Why were lost wills and ghastly probate proceedings so important to bygone imaginations? Well, lots of that stuff was written in a society with little social mobility. You basically couldn't move up on your own in that world. It would have been easy to understand a character for whom an inheritance offered the only chance at substantial citizenship.

So here's my prediction: now that the U.S. middle class is fading out -- or anyway maybe splitting between landlords and tenants -- we're going to start seeing more popular fiction about tricky codicils.

You heard it here first.

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