There’s a famous notion that mobile phones would circumvent the plot of most novels and films made before their invention: somebody lost in a city as part of the central story might simply whip open Google Maps; a character running late would send a text to let their counterpart know they’re running a little late and not to panic; young Macaulay Culkin would never have been left Home Alone.
But it got us thinking: what if some of those classic stories unfolded across the screen of a mobile phone, rather than in-person? If Madame Bovary could text u up?, and Crime and Punishment's Raskolnikov could text his buddy in real time? Below, we imagine that world.
(And, when you're done here – there are now More text conversations from classic novels.)
Jane Eyre (Part 1), by Charlotte Brontë
Madame Bovary (Part 1), by Gustave Flaubert
Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell
Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe
Collage at very top designed by Flynn Shore / Penguin
Text conversation designs: Vicky Ibbetson / Penguin
Images included: traveler1116 / DigitalVision Vectors via Getty Images | Issarawat Tattong / Moment via Getty Images | Yuko Yamada / Moment via Getty Images