I may have first thought of the literature of the past as a kind of science fiction when I saw the The No-Fear Scarlet Letter, with the original and an "easy-to-understand translation" on facing pages (and it is of course half again as old as it was when I read it). Jane Austen’s books read like tales of an alien culture that needs explanation, and of course Jo Walton found the customs detailed in Anthony Trollope’s mimetic works so strange that she ascribed them to cannibal dragons, in Tooth and Claw. Even Henry James is old enough by now to be fantastic: Daisy Miller must die because she spoke to an Italian outdoors after dark. WTF?
This post was inspired by mrissa’s excellent discussion of Too Like the Lightning and nellorat meeting the challenges of making A Room with a View intelligible to her students.