Virgil was a Homer Fanboy: History of Fanfiction Part 1 – Sursum Ursa

In the first part of our series on the history of fanfiction, we discuss derivative works, Ancient Greek poetry, Arthurian legend and how Virgil was a Homer fanboy not just before it was cool, but before it was even dorky. (PS: Thanks, Asta.)

About Sursum Ursa

Ursa presents Stuff You Like, where fangirls + analysis + awesome examples of media = good times for all.


  1. I just wanted to say that I really appreciate the improved production quality, and as always, the subject matter is insightful. Thanks, Jill!

  2. Have you ever talked about Storygami before? this is literally the first video I’ve seen with it. I wonder why use it instead of YouTube’s own cards and brand icons.

  3. I was about to say that copyright was important. It’s only considered fanfic nowadays if it’s working with something under copyright. Stories that are no longer under copyright legally belong to everyone, and so it doesn’t count.

  4. Enjoyable video as always – the fact there is not one true version of the Legend of King Arthur is precisely why that fictional universe irks me so much. I love derivative fiction but I like to know what it derives from XD.

  5. The first time I was exposed to fanfic was in middle school. I then made Twilight fanfic. Now I know that I should have turned it into a publishing company. ;D Anyways, I love history so I really enjoyed this video.

  6. Huh. I always like your videos in general and this looks to be an actually calm, measured, _intelligent_ look at a subject that has always oddly fascinated me. I am so looking forward to part 2. 🙂

    As a side-note…I wish I could remember the name of it, but I’ve seen something else that would fall into this category…I have this book of Fairy Tales from Around the World, and there’s this one that, I SWEAR, is _exactly_ the plot of one of the really famous ones, like Jack the Giant Killer or somesuch (it wasn’t that but it was similar)…but with a girl as the main character. Not so much Rule 63 as “Ha ha, girls can have adventures too!”

    It’s maddening that they don’t have really precise dates and whatnot in the credits of this book, ‘cos I am DYING to know whether this was written closer to the time…or much, much more modernly under more modern sensibilities. Was it written at all, or told out loud? Was it meant seriously or as a comedy (the text itself stays totally serious the whole time, but I think it was translated from another language.) Where did this COME from?

    Anyway–definitely a case of folk-tale fanfic, I would say! I wish I could remember more details.

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