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I've been on a bit of a Jane Austen kick lately. It all started when one of my Facebook friends posted that she was watching Pride and Prejudice with her daughter - the one staring Keira Knightley. It is a movie that had been on my list for some time, so I decided to watch it and read the book as well.

Being the type of person who likes to thoroughly exhaust a genre or author before moving on, I decided not to stop at just one cinematic interpretation of the novel, but four. Bride and Prejudice is the Bollywood version staring, among others, Lost's Naveen Andrews (who knew he could dance?). It was a fun movie. Then Bridget Jones's Diary which borrows a plotline from Pride and Prejudice. I thought it was just ok; my husband didn't like it at all. Bridget Jones stars Colin Firth, who also played Mr. Darcy in the workmanlike 1996 BBC production of Austen's classic, which I watched as well.

I also started reading Seth Grahame-Smith's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. When I picked up the book at the library, I was not at all surprised to learn that it was published by Quirk Classics, a division of Quirk Books. Quirk Classics is specializing in the literary mash-up, which aims to "enhance classic novels with pop culture phenomena." The tongue-in-cheek Reader's Discussion Guide at the end of the book explains:
10. Some scholars believe that the zombies were a last-minute addition to the novel, requested by the publisher in a shameless attempt to boost sales....Can you imagine what this novel might be like without the violent zombie mayhem?
Grahame-Smith has edited Austen's novel with a light hand, removing some extraneous detail and dialogue, and changing a word here or there to make the language more understandable to modern readers, but without essentially altering Austin's prose (except, of course, as needed for the addition of the zombie action). For instance, at the beginning of Chapter 37, I noted that Mr. Collins makes a "parting bow" rather than an "obeisance". Other changes may delight even die-hard Austen fans, such as the death of the obnoxious Mr. Collins; or the confrontation between Elizabeth and Lady Catherine de Bourgh, which becomes a battle not only of words, but one involving swords and ninjas. In places, it's what Austen might have wanted to have written.

What to read next? There are so many options. I could read (or in some cases, re-read) the rest of Austen's novels - I've already finished Persuasion and started in on Emma. I could read one of the many Pride and Prejudice sequels and prequels on the market, but I'm still recovering from the disappointing Scarlett, the sequel to Gone With the Wind. Or I could wait for Dawn of the Dreadfuls, the prequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, being released later this month. Perhaps Mansfield Park and Mummies? or Emma and the Werewolves? So many books, so little time...

ETA: Quirk Classics is giving away 50 Dawn of the Dreadfuls prize packs here.

4 comments:

Do try Mansfield Park and Mummies. Its a light, humorous take on the monster genre, with much of the humor coming from the tension of an undead gentleman having to resolve the conflict between a gentleman's obligations to his host and the needs of the undead. And he is capable of love, even self-sacrificing love, from which comes the delightful ending which suggests hope for him to find happiness in the afterlife, rather than just the destruction that's the usual fate of monsters in horror stories.

5:21 PM  

Thank you!

9:43 PM  

Dude. How did it escape me that you have FOUR blogs?? Well, here I am, finally! :)

I've seen the "Zombies" book in the bookstore before and been curious. You've inspired me to check it out!

5:19 AM  

Yes, but the fourth one doesn't count because I haven't written anything yet. But I did link to you :)

6:38 PM  

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