The Recycling of Jane

1valchloesmall Anne here, pondering the notion of writing spin-offs of established works of literature — prequels, sequels, fan-fic and parodies.

    My first experience of it was years ago, when I first read Jean Rhys's novel, The Wide Sargasso Sea. In it she told the story of Mrs. Rochester from Jane Eyre — from Mrs. Rochester's point of view. In this story, Mr. Rochester was the villain. It was a fascinating read, and I really enjoyed exploring a well-known and loved story from a totally different point of view. WideSargassoSea_vintage_figure_landscape

    These days the taking of a long established, beloved work of fiction and rewriting it from a different point of view, in some other style, or with new elements added to the mix has almost become a genre in its own right. It's a very post-modern phenomenon.

    Of course it's always a famous novel that's being parodied, recycled or rewritten from a different angle. Part of the appeal is the audience's familiarity with the original work of art. There's not much point in parodying a work that few people have read. 

    Dead authors or those who have no living heirs or estate trustees are the most vulnerable, as they have no protection. It's doubtful whether living novelists would allow their works to be used for this purpose. 

     A Swedish author whose book was promoted as a "sequel" to Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, was blocked from having a US release "because it too closely mirrors Salinger's classic without adequate parody or critique, a judge ruled."  The book showed the Holden Caulfield character 60 years on from the original story, breaking out of a retirement home instead of a prep school. (source)

    A spin-off of Nabokov's famous novel LOLITA is introduced on amazon.com thus: "After much legal wrangling with Nabokov's estate, Pia Pera's Lo's Diary has found its way to America." The Italian author, who was forced to split the English royalties with Nabokov's heirs, rewrote the novel from the point of view of the young girl character in the original Lolita.  Emily White said "This is clearly Pera's mission–to vandalize the literary institution that is Lolita, and in this she has succeeded. Her novel is like cultural graffiti that won't wash off the walls for a while, for at least a month or two." (source)

    Under English (and I think American) law, copyright protects the words and form in which ideas are expressed, not the ideas, or characters and not even necessarily the plot. So you can pretty much take someone's story, setting and characters and rewrite it and it's not regarded as plagiarism, but if you copy a handful of sentences from someone's novel or non-fiction book, it is. I've always thought that strange. I suppose it boils down to what's "provable" and copied sentences are.

 Match_mary_bennet2009w    It's different if you're dead. Books like The Secret Adventures of Charlotte Bronte, The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte, The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, all cash in on the fame of long-dead authors. 

    Jane Austen's handful of novels have, in particular, achieved an unprecedented popularity and have sparked a truly amazing number of spin-offs. Her books, life and writings have become the raw material for an entire new industry.

    It's not only her characters and settings and plots that have been recycled. In many cases it's her words. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, described as " by Austen, Jane (author) and Seth Grahame-Smith (author)" is described as an “expanded edition” of Pride and Prejudice in which 85 percent of the original text has been preserved but fused with “ultraviolent zombie mayhem.”  For more than 50 years, we learn, England has been overrun by zombies, prompting people like the Bennets to send their daughters away to China for training in the art of deadly combat, and prompting others, like Lady Catherine de Bourgh, to employ armies of  ninjas." (source)Pride-prejudice-zombies_l

    I must admit I haven't dived into the Jane Austen spin-offs. I've seen some of the movies, such as Lost In Austen, which left me luke warm, I admit. But there seems to be no end to the possibilities — Jane and zombies, Jane as a regency-era Miss Marple, even "lost sex scenes" from Jane Austen.

According to Elsa Solender, past president of the Jane Austen Society of Australia, Pride and Promiscuity: The Lost Sex Scenes of Jane Austen, by Arielle Eckstut & Dennis Ashton spoofs Jane Austen’s fiction by adding explicit, New Age sexuality to the ‘mix’ of issues she presented. At the same time, it pays implicit homage to its source by echoing her incomparable style with astonishing fidelity. In addition, the authors managed to retain the consistency of the Austen characters as they explor
ed their erotic potential. While nothing is predictable, everything is supportable. Thus, we have some clues as to how Charlotte Lucas survived sex with Mr. Collins. 

Admittedly that last is intriguing. But what next?  

I have a "top ten" list of Austen spin-offs here from Sarah Sibley.

1. Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman, by Pamela Aidan, a trilogy of novels based on Mr. Darcy’s perspective of the events that conspired during Pride and Prejudice, namely his relationship with Elizabeth Bennett.

2. The Diary of Henry Fitzwilliam Darcy, by Marjorie Fasman 
This is very much a prequel to Pride and Prejudice, an exploration into Darcy’s character that may give the reader some perspective on exactly what made Mr. Darcy tick.

3. Mr. Darcy’s Daughters, by Elizabeth Aston 
This is a sequel to Pride and Prejudice, focusing on the married life of Darcy and Elizabeth. Darcy has been sent on a diplomatic mission to Constantinople, leaving Elizabeth with their five daughters in London.

4. Darcy & Elizabeth: Nights and Days at Pemberley, by Linda Berdoll
True to form, Elizabeth’s marriage to Mr. Darcy is just as she had hoped—full of passion.

5. Darcy’s Passions, by Regina Jeffers

6. Suspense and Sensibility or, First Impressions Revisited: A Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mystery, by Carrie Bebris

7. Jane Austen in Boca: A Novel, by Paula Marantz Cohen
If Austen’s Jewish fans are feeling left out, then this one is for them.

8. Pride and Promiscuity: The Lost Sex Scenes of Jane Austen, by Arielle Eckstut, Dennis Ashton 

9. Lions and Liquorice, by Kate Fenton
In this modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, the roles are reversed.

10. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith
“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

Eckstut I really don't know what to think about this phenomenon. In some ways I hate that people — some of them very mediocre writers — are riding Jane Austen's coat-tails to fame and fortune, mining and re-mining her books, life and letters and twisting them to their own purpose in the quest for new stories — and sales. I'm pretty sure I'd hate it if someone started writing sequels and prequels of my books, using my characters and the world I'd created.  Yet I also think people are entitled to celebrate something they enjoy, adding fun elements and playing "what if." So I'm ambivalent.  I'm not sure I understand the appeal, but would be very happy to be enlightened.

I haven't read any of the above list. Have you? What do you think about the endless revisiting of Austen? Had enough? Enjoying it? Want more? What's your favorite? 

120 thoughts on “The Recycling of Jane”

  1. Good morning, Anne! Lovely post. I wish I understood the phenomenon of readers wanting more of the same, only different, but it’s beyond my comprehension. So far, the only thing good I’ve found about our fixation with Austen is that the internet is utterly inundated with quite brilliant research material on the Regency era. I don’t even have to reach for my library any longer! It’s such an amazing change from the old days when I had to interlibrary loan books and hope they had the info on underwear that I needed. “G”

    Reply
  2. Good morning, Anne! Lovely post. I wish I understood the phenomenon of readers wanting more of the same, only different, but it’s beyond my comprehension. So far, the only thing good I’ve found about our fixation with Austen is that the internet is utterly inundated with quite brilliant research material on the Regency era. I don’t even have to reach for my library any longer! It’s such an amazing change from the old days when I had to interlibrary loan books and hope they had the info on underwear that I needed. “G”

    Reply
  3. Good morning, Anne! Lovely post. I wish I understood the phenomenon of readers wanting more of the same, only different, but it’s beyond my comprehension. So far, the only thing good I’ve found about our fixation with Austen is that the internet is utterly inundated with quite brilliant research material on the Regency era. I don’t even have to reach for my library any longer! It’s such an amazing change from the old days when I had to interlibrary loan books and hope they had the info on underwear that I needed. “G”

    Reply
  4. Good morning, Anne! Lovely post. I wish I understood the phenomenon of readers wanting more of the same, only different, but it’s beyond my comprehension. So far, the only thing good I’ve found about our fixation with Austen is that the internet is utterly inundated with quite brilliant research material on the Regency era. I don’t even have to reach for my library any longer! It’s such an amazing change from the old days when I had to interlibrary loan books and hope they had the info on underwear that I needed. “G”

    Reply
  5. Good morning, Anne! Lovely post. I wish I understood the phenomenon of readers wanting more of the same, only different, but it’s beyond my comprehension. So far, the only thing good I’ve found about our fixation with Austen is that the internet is utterly inundated with quite brilliant research material on the Regency era. I don’t even have to reach for my library any longer! It’s such an amazing change from the old days when I had to interlibrary loan books and hope they had the info on underwear that I needed. “G”

    Reply
  6. You’re right Pat, I hadn’t thought of that benefit to the spin-off. I used to get almost all my research materials through inter-library loan with the aid of the wonderful research librarian at my local library. They did have The History of Underclothes on the shelves, though
    Alas, there is no such position any more, and most of the research books have been sold off by my library.
    So the proliferation of good internet sources is a boon.

    Reply
  7. You’re right Pat, I hadn’t thought of that benefit to the spin-off. I used to get almost all my research materials through inter-library loan with the aid of the wonderful research librarian at my local library. They did have The History of Underclothes on the shelves, though
    Alas, there is no such position any more, and most of the research books have been sold off by my library.
    So the proliferation of good internet sources is a boon.

    Reply
  8. You’re right Pat, I hadn’t thought of that benefit to the spin-off. I used to get almost all my research materials through inter-library loan with the aid of the wonderful research librarian at my local library. They did have The History of Underclothes on the shelves, though
    Alas, there is no such position any more, and most of the research books have been sold off by my library.
    So the proliferation of good internet sources is a boon.

    Reply
  9. You’re right Pat, I hadn’t thought of that benefit to the spin-off. I used to get almost all my research materials through inter-library loan with the aid of the wonderful research librarian at my local library. They did have The History of Underclothes on the shelves, though
    Alas, there is no such position any more, and most of the research books have been sold off by my library.
    So the proliferation of good internet sources is a boon.

    Reply
  10. You’re right Pat, I hadn’t thought of that benefit to the spin-off. I used to get almost all my research materials through inter-library loan with the aid of the wonderful research librarian at my local library. They did have The History of Underclothes on the shelves, though
    Alas, there is no such position any more, and most of the research books have been sold off by my library.
    So the proliferation of good internet sources is a boon.

    Reply
  11. I read the first book of “Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman” and I liked it very much. The book stays very close to “Pride and Prejudice” while filling in the story with Mr. Darcy’s perception of events. The prose is similar in tone to Jane Austen’s, without all all the 21st century-isms that so many historical novels contain now. Reading it was almost like reading Jane, and I’ll be reading the other two.
    I haven’t read the others, but I’ll be staying away from the zombies and the added sex scenes.

    Reply
  12. I read the first book of “Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman” and I liked it very much. The book stays very close to “Pride and Prejudice” while filling in the story with Mr. Darcy’s perception of events. The prose is similar in tone to Jane Austen’s, without all all the 21st century-isms that so many historical novels contain now. Reading it was almost like reading Jane, and I’ll be reading the other two.
    I haven’t read the others, but I’ll be staying away from the zombies and the added sex scenes.

    Reply
  13. I read the first book of “Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman” and I liked it very much. The book stays very close to “Pride and Prejudice” while filling in the story with Mr. Darcy’s perception of events. The prose is similar in tone to Jane Austen’s, without all all the 21st century-isms that so many historical novels contain now. Reading it was almost like reading Jane, and I’ll be reading the other two.
    I haven’t read the others, but I’ll be staying away from the zombies and the added sex scenes.

    Reply
  14. I read the first book of “Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman” and I liked it very much. The book stays very close to “Pride and Prejudice” while filling in the story with Mr. Darcy’s perception of events. The prose is similar in tone to Jane Austen’s, without all all the 21st century-isms that so many historical novels contain now. Reading it was almost like reading Jane, and I’ll be reading the other two.
    I haven’t read the others, but I’ll be staying away from the zombies and the added sex scenes.

    Reply
  15. I read the first book of “Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman” and I liked it very much. The book stays very close to “Pride and Prejudice” while filling in the story with Mr. Darcy’s perception of events. The prose is similar in tone to Jane Austen’s, without all all the 21st century-isms that so many historical novels contain now. Reading it was almost like reading Jane, and I’ll be reading the other two.
    I haven’t read the others, but I’ll be staying away from the zombies and the added sex scenes.

    Reply
  16. I think we can also see this as the newest manifestation phenomenon of a well-loved and widely read story that people grasp to. Jane Austen created romantic and believable characters, entwined with the overly theatrical cacaphony that could be a preposterous situation, with prose that was excellent writing. It did leave us wanting more,to know the HEA after The End, and those who chose to, wrote the “more”.
    I hope I do not offend, and believe me, I am not speaking poorly of these addendum writings, when I say this is much like the fan fiction trend and genre (of which I have taken part in, years ago) of people who find a story or characters so compelling, they keep the story alive and moving with their own ideas, imaginations, and words, for their own benefit and reading pleasure.
    Be it good or bad, be it sacrilege or seamless, it is up to the individual Austen fan to decide if they are indeed a purist, or are willing to give someone else’s ideas a ride. 🙂

    Reply
  17. I think we can also see this as the newest manifestation phenomenon of a well-loved and widely read story that people grasp to. Jane Austen created romantic and believable characters, entwined with the overly theatrical cacaphony that could be a preposterous situation, with prose that was excellent writing. It did leave us wanting more,to know the HEA after The End, and those who chose to, wrote the “more”.
    I hope I do not offend, and believe me, I am not speaking poorly of these addendum writings, when I say this is much like the fan fiction trend and genre (of which I have taken part in, years ago) of people who find a story or characters so compelling, they keep the story alive and moving with their own ideas, imaginations, and words, for their own benefit and reading pleasure.
    Be it good or bad, be it sacrilege or seamless, it is up to the individual Austen fan to decide if they are indeed a purist, or are willing to give someone else’s ideas a ride. 🙂

    Reply
  18. I think we can also see this as the newest manifestation phenomenon of a well-loved and widely read story that people grasp to. Jane Austen created romantic and believable characters, entwined with the overly theatrical cacaphony that could be a preposterous situation, with prose that was excellent writing. It did leave us wanting more,to know the HEA after The End, and those who chose to, wrote the “more”.
    I hope I do not offend, and believe me, I am not speaking poorly of these addendum writings, when I say this is much like the fan fiction trend and genre (of which I have taken part in, years ago) of people who find a story or characters so compelling, they keep the story alive and moving with their own ideas, imaginations, and words, for their own benefit and reading pleasure.
    Be it good or bad, be it sacrilege or seamless, it is up to the individual Austen fan to decide if they are indeed a purist, or are willing to give someone else’s ideas a ride. 🙂

    Reply
  19. I think we can also see this as the newest manifestation phenomenon of a well-loved and widely read story that people grasp to. Jane Austen created romantic and believable characters, entwined with the overly theatrical cacaphony that could be a preposterous situation, with prose that was excellent writing. It did leave us wanting more,to know the HEA after The End, and those who chose to, wrote the “more”.
    I hope I do not offend, and believe me, I am not speaking poorly of these addendum writings, when I say this is much like the fan fiction trend and genre (of which I have taken part in, years ago) of people who find a story or characters so compelling, they keep the story alive and moving with their own ideas, imaginations, and words, for their own benefit and reading pleasure.
    Be it good or bad, be it sacrilege or seamless, it is up to the individual Austen fan to decide if they are indeed a purist, or are willing to give someone else’s ideas a ride. 🙂

    Reply
  20. I think we can also see this as the newest manifestation phenomenon of a well-loved and widely read story that people grasp to. Jane Austen created romantic and believable characters, entwined with the overly theatrical cacaphony that could be a preposterous situation, with prose that was excellent writing. It did leave us wanting more,to know the HEA after The End, and those who chose to, wrote the “more”.
    I hope I do not offend, and believe me, I am not speaking poorly of these addendum writings, when I say this is much like the fan fiction trend and genre (of which I have taken part in, years ago) of people who find a story or characters so compelling, they keep the story alive and moving with their own ideas, imaginations, and words, for their own benefit and reading pleasure.
    Be it good or bad, be it sacrilege or seamless, it is up to the individual Austen fan to decide if they are indeed a purist, or are willing to give someone else’s ideas a ride. 🙂

    Reply
  21. Thanks for that comment, Linda. The “top 10” I listed were all recommendations, and your view of the one you’ve read bears that out.
    Caroline, it’s definitely fan-fic, I agree, and I do see that people want to dwell in the HEA and explore it more. But the number and variety and the many permutations and explorations of one or two original books bemuses me.

    Reply
  22. Thanks for that comment, Linda. The “top 10” I listed were all recommendations, and your view of the one you’ve read bears that out.
    Caroline, it’s definitely fan-fic, I agree, and I do see that people want to dwell in the HEA and explore it more. But the number and variety and the many permutations and explorations of one or two original books bemuses me.

    Reply
  23. Thanks for that comment, Linda. The “top 10” I listed were all recommendations, and your view of the one you’ve read bears that out.
    Caroline, it’s definitely fan-fic, I agree, and I do see that people want to dwell in the HEA and explore it more. But the number and variety and the many permutations and explorations of one or two original books bemuses me.

    Reply
  24. Thanks for that comment, Linda. The “top 10” I listed were all recommendations, and your view of the one you’ve read bears that out.
    Caroline, it’s definitely fan-fic, I agree, and I do see that people want to dwell in the HEA and explore it more. But the number and variety and the many permutations and explorations of one or two original books bemuses me.

    Reply
  25. Thanks for that comment, Linda. The “top 10” I listed were all recommendations, and your view of the one you’ve read bears that out.
    Caroline, it’s definitely fan-fic, I agree, and I do see that people want to dwell in the HEA and explore it more. But the number and variety and the many permutations and explorations of one or two original books bemuses me.

    Reply
  26. I’ve read several of the Jane Austen extensions. I actually liked Amanda Grange’s Mr. Darcy’s Diary and Captain Wentworth’s Diary. But I have no intention of reading her further extensions into fantasy that include zombies and sea monsters. The books noted above made sense in light of the characters from the original books.
    On the other hand, I definitely did not like some of the others. I don’t need to follow the characters into the bedroom.

    Reply
  27. I’ve read several of the Jane Austen extensions. I actually liked Amanda Grange’s Mr. Darcy’s Diary and Captain Wentworth’s Diary. But I have no intention of reading her further extensions into fantasy that include zombies and sea monsters. The books noted above made sense in light of the characters from the original books.
    On the other hand, I definitely did not like some of the others. I don’t need to follow the characters into the bedroom.

    Reply
  28. I’ve read several of the Jane Austen extensions. I actually liked Amanda Grange’s Mr. Darcy’s Diary and Captain Wentworth’s Diary. But I have no intention of reading her further extensions into fantasy that include zombies and sea monsters. The books noted above made sense in light of the characters from the original books.
    On the other hand, I definitely did not like some of the others. I don’t need to follow the characters into the bedroom.

    Reply
  29. I’ve read several of the Jane Austen extensions. I actually liked Amanda Grange’s Mr. Darcy’s Diary and Captain Wentworth’s Diary. But I have no intention of reading her further extensions into fantasy that include zombies and sea monsters. The books noted above made sense in light of the characters from the original books.
    On the other hand, I definitely did not like some of the others. I don’t need to follow the characters into the bedroom.

    Reply
  30. I’ve read several of the Jane Austen extensions. I actually liked Amanda Grange’s Mr. Darcy’s Diary and Captain Wentworth’s Diary. But I have no intention of reading her further extensions into fantasy that include zombies and sea monsters. The books noted above made sense in light of the characters from the original books.
    On the other hand, I definitely did not like some of the others. I don’t need to follow the characters into the bedroom.

    Reply
  31. I’ve read some of the Aston titles, and they were not awful, but nothing I have sampled has truly caught the JA attitude – nor should it. She was a unique human being and her uniqueness should be cherished, not stripmined.
    People can write continuations or alterations of characters in her books, but they can’t write her wit or attitude, which are much more crucial to my appreciation of Austen than her plots & characters are.
    In general I think all these books are triumphs of marketing, and completely soulless. I am sorry if anybody needs a paycheck this badly, that they must do derivative work instead of pursuing their own stories (if any).
    Fan fiction has its place but I hate to see it using up publishing dollars and bookstore space. But I expect it’s all just a fad anyway.

    Reply
  32. I’ve read some of the Aston titles, and they were not awful, but nothing I have sampled has truly caught the JA attitude – nor should it. She was a unique human being and her uniqueness should be cherished, not stripmined.
    People can write continuations or alterations of characters in her books, but they can’t write her wit or attitude, which are much more crucial to my appreciation of Austen than her plots & characters are.
    In general I think all these books are triumphs of marketing, and completely soulless. I am sorry if anybody needs a paycheck this badly, that they must do derivative work instead of pursuing their own stories (if any).
    Fan fiction has its place but I hate to see it using up publishing dollars and bookstore space. But I expect it’s all just a fad anyway.

    Reply
  33. I’ve read some of the Aston titles, and they were not awful, but nothing I have sampled has truly caught the JA attitude – nor should it. She was a unique human being and her uniqueness should be cherished, not stripmined.
    People can write continuations or alterations of characters in her books, but they can’t write her wit or attitude, which are much more crucial to my appreciation of Austen than her plots & characters are.
    In general I think all these books are triumphs of marketing, and completely soulless. I am sorry if anybody needs a paycheck this badly, that they must do derivative work instead of pursuing their own stories (if any).
    Fan fiction has its place but I hate to see it using up publishing dollars and bookstore space. But I expect it’s all just a fad anyway.

    Reply
  34. I’ve read some of the Aston titles, and they were not awful, but nothing I have sampled has truly caught the JA attitude – nor should it. She was a unique human being and her uniqueness should be cherished, not stripmined.
    People can write continuations or alterations of characters in her books, but they can’t write her wit or attitude, which are much more crucial to my appreciation of Austen than her plots & characters are.
    In general I think all these books are triumphs of marketing, and completely soulless. I am sorry if anybody needs a paycheck this badly, that they must do derivative work instead of pursuing their own stories (if any).
    Fan fiction has its place but I hate to see it using up publishing dollars and bookstore space. But I expect it’s all just a fad anyway.

    Reply
  35. I’ve read some of the Aston titles, and they were not awful, but nothing I have sampled has truly caught the JA attitude – nor should it. She was a unique human being and her uniqueness should be cherished, not stripmined.
    People can write continuations or alterations of characters in her books, but they can’t write her wit or attitude, which are much more crucial to my appreciation of Austen than her plots & characters are.
    In general I think all these books are triumphs of marketing, and completely soulless. I am sorry if anybody needs a paycheck this badly, that they must do derivative work instead of pursuing their own stories (if any).
    Fan fiction has its place but I hate to see it using up publishing dollars and bookstore space. But I expect it’s all just a fad anyway.

    Reply
  36. I read Zombies, which did have its moments, but I realized a few years ago I’m opposed on principle to these “extensions” of the classics. I’ve read a few that were well-written and entertaining, but there’s just something wrong about them. It’s like cheating. Now, I know all romance novels are either Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice, but still.

    Reply
  37. I read Zombies, which did have its moments, but I realized a few years ago I’m opposed on principle to these “extensions” of the classics. I’ve read a few that were well-written and entertaining, but there’s just something wrong about them. It’s like cheating. Now, I know all romance novels are either Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice, but still.

    Reply
  38. I read Zombies, which did have its moments, but I realized a few years ago I’m opposed on principle to these “extensions” of the classics. I’ve read a few that were well-written and entertaining, but there’s just something wrong about them. It’s like cheating. Now, I know all romance novels are either Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice, but still.

    Reply
  39. I read Zombies, which did have its moments, but I realized a few years ago I’m opposed on principle to these “extensions” of the classics. I’ve read a few that were well-written and entertaining, but there’s just something wrong about them. It’s like cheating. Now, I know all romance novels are either Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice, but still.

    Reply
  40. I read Zombies, which did have its moments, but I realized a few years ago I’m opposed on principle to these “extensions” of the classics. I’ve read a few that were well-written and entertaining, but there’s just something wrong about them. It’s like cheating. Now, I know all romance novels are either Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice, but still.

    Reply
  41. Great post, Anne! I’m another who has eyed the Austen rip-offs with bemusement. Like Caroline, I understand the fan fic element of wanting to stay in a universe one loves, but it seems quite unfair that Jane doesn’t get any of the money.
    And since I don’t read horror (the one genre I totally do not get), I find the zombie and sea monster variations fairly stomach turning. At best, they seem like one trick ponies, relying on the contrast of Austenian elegance with horror tropes. NOT something I need.
    The only one of the ten recommended variations I’ve read is LIONS AND LIQUORICE (which I believe has been reissued in the US under a different title), and that’s very clever, as well as very different because it’s contemporary and ther is the gender reversal aspect. It’s Austenian, while being its own self as well. It isn’t just taking Austen’s characters and filling in the blanks.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  42. Great post, Anne! I’m another who has eyed the Austen rip-offs with bemusement. Like Caroline, I understand the fan fic element of wanting to stay in a universe one loves, but it seems quite unfair that Jane doesn’t get any of the money.
    And since I don’t read horror (the one genre I totally do not get), I find the zombie and sea monster variations fairly stomach turning. At best, they seem like one trick ponies, relying on the contrast of Austenian elegance with horror tropes. NOT something I need.
    The only one of the ten recommended variations I’ve read is LIONS AND LIQUORICE (which I believe has been reissued in the US under a different title), and that’s very clever, as well as very different because it’s contemporary and ther is the gender reversal aspect. It’s Austenian, while being its own self as well. It isn’t just taking Austen’s characters and filling in the blanks.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  43. Great post, Anne! I’m another who has eyed the Austen rip-offs with bemusement. Like Caroline, I understand the fan fic element of wanting to stay in a universe one loves, but it seems quite unfair that Jane doesn’t get any of the money.
    And since I don’t read horror (the one genre I totally do not get), I find the zombie and sea monster variations fairly stomach turning. At best, they seem like one trick ponies, relying on the contrast of Austenian elegance with horror tropes. NOT something I need.
    The only one of the ten recommended variations I’ve read is LIONS AND LIQUORICE (which I believe has been reissued in the US under a different title), and that’s very clever, as well as very different because it’s contemporary and ther is the gender reversal aspect. It’s Austenian, while being its own self as well. It isn’t just taking Austen’s characters and filling in the blanks.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  44. Great post, Anne! I’m another who has eyed the Austen rip-offs with bemusement. Like Caroline, I understand the fan fic element of wanting to stay in a universe one loves, but it seems quite unfair that Jane doesn’t get any of the money.
    And since I don’t read horror (the one genre I totally do not get), I find the zombie and sea monster variations fairly stomach turning. At best, they seem like one trick ponies, relying on the contrast of Austenian elegance with horror tropes. NOT something I need.
    The only one of the ten recommended variations I’ve read is LIONS AND LIQUORICE (which I believe has been reissued in the US under a different title), and that’s very clever, as well as very different because it’s contemporary and ther is the gender reversal aspect. It’s Austenian, while being its own self as well. It isn’t just taking Austen’s characters and filling in the blanks.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  45. Great post, Anne! I’m another who has eyed the Austen rip-offs with bemusement. Like Caroline, I understand the fan fic element of wanting to stay in a universe one loves, but it seems quite unfair that Jane doesn’t get any of the money.
    And since I don’t read horror (the one genre I totally do not get), I find the zombie and sea monster variations fairly stomach turning. At best, they seem like one trick ponies, relying on the contrast of Austenian elegance with horror tropes. NOT something I need.
    The only one of the ten recommended variations I’ve read is LIONS AND LIQUORICE (which I believe has been reissued in the US under a different title), and that’s very clever, as well as very different because it’s contemporary and ther is the gender reversal aspect. It’s Austenian, while being its own self as well. It isn’t just taking Austen’s characters and filling in the blanks.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  46. Thanks, Elaine for those comments on the Amanda Grange “Diary” titles.
    Janice, I’m not surprised that nothing has caught the JA voice — voice is so personal, after all, and hers is tone of the reasons her books have become immortal. Imitations of other people’s voice are always bound to be unsuccessful — though I do recall reading Tom Holt’s LUCIA IN WARTIME, a sequel to the EF Benson books and he hit it off perfectly.
    What I liked about Jean Rhys’s WIDE SARGASSO SEA was that it made no attempt to mimic Jane Eyre, but simply explored an alternative interpretation of the mad wife in the attic, in lush, modern prose.
    As for it being a fad, yes, I suppose. But it seems to be growing, so we haven’t seen the last of it, I’m sure. It will be interesting to see how many (if any) of these spin-offs will last over time.

    Reply
  47. Thanks, Elaine for those comments on the Amanda Grange “Diary” titles.
    Janice, I’m not surprised that nothing has caught the JA voice — voice is so personal, after all, and hers is tone of the reasons her books have become immortal. Imitations of other people’s voice are always bound to be unsuccessful — though I do recall reading Tom Holt’s LUCIA IN WARTIME, a sequel to the EF Benson books and he hit it off perfectly.
    What I liked about Jean Rhys’s WIDE SARGASSO SEA was that it made no attempt to mimic Jane Eyre, but simply explored an alternative interpretation of the mad wife in the attic, in lush, modern prose.
    As for it being a fad, yes, I suppose. But it seems to be growing, so we haven’t seen the last of it, I’m sure. It will be interesting to see how many (if any) of these spin-offs will last over time.

    Reply
  48. Thanks, Elaine for those comments on the Amanda Grange “Diary” titles.
    Janice, I’m not surprised that nothing has caught the JA voice — voice is so personal, after all, and hers is tone of the reasons her books have become immortal. Imitations of other people’s voice are always bound to be unsuccessful — though I do recall reading Tom Holt’s LUCIA IN WARTIME, a sequel to the EF Benson books and he hit it off perfectly.
    What I liked about Jean Rhys’s WIDE SARGASSO SEA was that it made no attempt to mimic Jane Eyre, but simply explored an alternative interpretation of the mad wife in the attic, in lush, modern prose.
    As for it being a fad, yes, I suppose. But it seems to be growing, so we haven’t seen the last of it, I’m sure. It will be interesting to see how many (if any) of these spin-offs will last over time.

    Reply
  49. Thanks, Elaine for those comments on the Amanda Grange “Diary” titles.
    Janice, I’m not surprised that nothing has caught the JA voice — voice is so personal, after all, and hers is tone of the reasons her books have become immortal. Imitations of other people’s voice are always bound to be unsuccessful — though I do recall reading Tom Holt’s LUCIA IN WARTIME, a sequel to the EF Benson books and he hit it off perfectly.
    What I liked about Jean Rhys’s WIDE SARGASSO SEA was that it made no attempt to mimic Jane Eyre, but simply explored an alternative interpretation of the mad wife in the attic, in lush, modern prose.
    As for it being a fad, yes, I suppose. But it seems to be growing, so we haven’t seen the last of it, I’m sure. It will be interesting to see how many (if any) of these spin-offs will last over time.

    Reply
  50. Thanks, Elaine for those comments on the Amanda Grange “Diary” titles.
    Janice, I’m not surprised that nothing has caught the JA voice — voice is so personal, after all, and hers is tone of the reasons her books have become immortal. Imitations of other people’s voice are always bound to be unsuccessful — though I do recall reading Tom Holt’s LUCIA IN WARTIME, a sequel to the EF Benson books and he hit it off perfectly.
    What I liked about Jean Rhys’s WIDE SARGASSO SEA was that it made no attempt to mimic Jane Eyre, but simply explored an alternative interpretation of the mad wife in the attic, in lush, modern prose.
    As for it being a fad, yes, I suppose. But it seems to be growing, so we haven’t seen the last of it, I’m sure. It will be interesting to see how many (if any) of these spin-offs will last over time.

    Reply
  51. Anne, my prediction is: None. None of them will last over time. Whether Austen herself will be more or less popular in future, as reading decreases, I can’t say, but I think she will always have a core following.

    Reply
  52. Anne, my prediction is: None. None of them will last over time. Whether Austen herself will be more or less popular in future, as reading decreases, I can’t say, but I think she will always have a core following.

    Reply
  53. Anne, my prediction is: None. None of them will last over time. Whether Austen herself will be more or less popular in future, as reading decreases, I can’t say, but I think she will always have a core following.

    Reply
  54. Anne, my prediction is: None. None of them will last over time. Whether Austen herself will be more or less popular in future, as reading decreases, I can’t say, but I think she will always have a core following.

    Reply
  55. Anne, my prediction is: None. None of them will last over time. Whether Austen herself will be more or less popular in future, as reading decreases, I can’t say, but I think she will always have a core following.

    Reply
  56. Maggie, I’m still ambivalent about whether it’s cheating or not. I suppose it’s a question of degree. And how clever and skillful the writing is. Tom Holt’s “Lucia” book was as clever and witty as the originals, and so I feel he didn’t detract from the originals— his was a genuine homage, executed with finesse and style. And one I think EF Benson would have enjoyed.
    Those books that blatantly attach themselves to Jane’s coat tails, by their titles, or cover art, the ones that need and use that Jane Austen label to sell are the ones that make me feel most uncomfortable. It’s a pity, I think.

    Reply
  57. Maggie, I’m still ambivalent about whether it’s cheating or not. I suppose it’s a question of degree. And how clever and skillful the writing is. Tom Holt’s “Lucia” book was as clever and witty as the originals, and so I feel he didn’t detract from the originals— his was a genuine homage, executed with finesse and style. And one I think EF Benson would have enjoyed.
    Those books that blatantly attach themselves to Jane’s coat tails, by their titles, or cover art, the ones that need and use that Jane Austen label to sell are the ones that make me feel most uncomfortable. It’s a pity, I think.

    Reply
  58. Maggie, I’m still ambivalent about whether it’s cheating or not. I suppose it’s a question of degree. And how clever and skillful the writing is. Tom Holt’s “Lucia” book was as clever and witty as the originals, and so I feel he didn’t detract from the originals— his was a genuine homage, executed with finesse and style. And one I think EF Benson would have enjoyed.
    Those books that blatantly attach themselves to Jane’s coat tails, by their titles, or cover art, the ones that need and use that Jane Austen label to sell are the ones that make me feel most uncomfortable. It’s a pity, I think.

    Reply
  59. Maggie, I’m still ambivalent about whether it’s cheating or not. I suppose it’s a question of degree. And how clever and skillful the writing is. Tom Holt’s “Lucia” book was as clever and witty as the originals, and so I feel he didn’t detract from the originals— his was a genuine homage, executed with finesse and style. And one I think EF Benson would have enjoyed.
    Those books that blatantly attach themselves to Jane’s coat tails, by their titles, or cover art, the ones that need and use that Jane Austen label to sell are the ones that make me feel most uncomfortable. It’s a pity, I think.

    Reply
  60. Maggie, I’m still ambivalent about whether it’s cheating or not. I suppose it’s a question of degree. And how clever and skillful the writing is. Tom Holt’s “Lucia” book was as clever and witty as the originals, and so I feel he didn’t detract from the originals— his was a genuine homage, executed with finesse and style. And one I think EF Benson would have enjoyed.
    Those books that blatantly attach themselves to Jane’s coat tails, by their titles, or cover art, the ones that need and use that Jane Austen label to sell are the ones that make me feel most uncomfortable. It’s a pity, I think.

    Reply
  61. Mary jo, that comment you made about Lions and Liquorish is exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about — it’s “clever” and ” different”” It’s Austenian, while being its own self as well. It isn’t just taking Austen’s characters and filling in the blanks.”
    And I agree, I might be a reader of paranormal fiction, but horror has never appealed to me either.
    Janice I suspect you’re right.

    Reply
  62. Mary jo, that comment you made about Lions and Liquorish is exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about — it’s “clever” and ” different”” It’s Austenian, while being its own self as well. It isn’t just taking Austen’s characters and filling in the blanks.”
    And I agree, I might be a reader of paranormal fiction, but horror has never appealed to me either.
    Janice I suspect you’re right.

    Reply
  63. Mary jo, that comment you made about Lions and Liquorish is exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about — it’s “clever” and ” different”” It’s Austenian, while being its own self as well. It isn’t just taking Austen’s characters and filling in the blanks.”
    And I agree, I might be a reader of paranormal fiction, but horror has never appealed to me either.
    Janice I suspect you’re right.

    Reply
  64. Mary jo, that comment you made about Lions and Liquorish is exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about — it’s “clever” and ” different”” It’s Austenian, while being its own self as well. It isn’t just taking Austen’s characters and filling in the blanks.”
    And I agree, I might be a reader of paranormal fiction, but horror has never appealed to me either.
    Janice I suspect you’re right.

    Reply
  65. Mary jo, that comment you made about Lions and Liquorish is exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about — it’s “clever” and ” different”” It’s Austenian, while being its own self as well. It isn’t just taking Austen’s characters and filling in the blanks.”
    And I agree, I might be a reader of paranormal fiction, but horror has never appealed to me either.
    Janice I suspect you’re right.

    Reply
  66. I’m sorry, but for me, no, thank you. I have no use for them. If I want to read Austin, I’ll read her, and re-read her. If I want fan fiction, I’ll go to an online site and read it for free. And unless it’s recommended and a brilliant piece in it’s own right, I don’t read that anymore either. Though I did write one piece years ago, the ‘blush is off the vine’ and if anything, I now have an even better appreciation of the original author’s voice and what draws me to the story in the first place.
    Somewhere, I read there are only seven (or maybe 11, can’t quite remember now) plots for any story. It’s the authors *own* characters and her particular spin on them that makes them unique. But the characters never-the-less belong to the original author. It’s those characters I fall in love with. Not someone else’s interpretation of them.

    Reply
  67. I’m sorry, but for me, no, thank you. I have no use for them. If I want to read Austin, I’ll read her, and re-read her. If I want fan fiction, I’ll go to an online site and read it for free. And unless it’s recommended and a brilliant piece in it’s own right, I don’t read that anymore either. Though I did write one piece years ago, the ‘blush is off the vine’ and if anything, I now have an even better appreciation of the original author’s voice and what draws me to the story in the first place.
    Somewhere, I read there are only seven (or maybe 11, can’t quite remember now) plots for any story. It’s the authors *own* characters and her particular spin on them that makes them unique. But the characters never-the-less belong to the original author. It’s those characters I fall in love with. Not someone else’s interpretation of them.

    Reply
  68. I’m sorry, but for me, no, thank you. I have no use for them. If I want to read Austin, I’ll read her, and re-read her. If I want fan fiction, I’ll go to an online site and read it for free. And unless it’s recommended and a brilliant piece in it’s own right, I don’t read that anymore either. Though I did write one piece years ago, the ‘blush is off the vine’ and if anything, I now have an even better appreciation of the original author’s voice and what draws me to the story in the first place.
    Somewhere, I read there are only seven (or maybe 11, can’t quite remember now) plots for any story. It’s the authors *own* characters and her particular spin on them that makes them unique. But the characters never-the-less belong to the original author. It’s those characters I fall in love with. Not someone else’s interpretation of them.

    Reply
  69. I’m sorry, but for me, no, thank you. I have no use for them. If I want to read Austin, I’ll read her, and re-read her. If I want fan fiction, I’ll go to an online site and read it for free. And unless it’s recommended and a brilliant piece in it’s own right, I don’t read that anymore either. Though I did write one piece years ago, the ‘blush is off the vine’ and if anything, I now have an even better appreciation of the original author’s voice and what draws me to the story in the first place.
    Somewhere, I read there are only seven (or maybe 11, can’t quite remember now) plots for any story. It’s the authors *own* characters and her particular spin on them that makes them unique. But the characters never-the-less belong to the original author. It’s those characters I fall in love with. Not someone else’s interpretation of them.

    Reply
  70. I’m sorry, but for me, no, thank you. I have no use for them. If I want to read Austin, I’ll read her, and re-read her. If I want fan fiction, I’ll go to an online site and read it for free. And unless it’s recommended and a brilliant piece in it’s own right, I don’t read that anymore either. Though I did write one piece years ago, the ‘blush is off the vine’ and if anything, I now have an even better appreciation of the original author’s voice and what draws me to the story in the first place.
    Somewhere, I read there are only seven (or maybe 11, can’t quite remember now) plots for any story. It’s the authors *own* characters and her particular spin on them that makes them unique. But the characters never-the-less belong to the original author. It’s those characters I fall in love with. Not someone else’s interpretation of them.

    Reply
  71. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? Pah!
    Orlando Furioso!
    …The Song or Roland, with added ass-kicking female Paladin, and Hippogrifs, and Trips to the Moon, and Japan (or so wikipedia implies), and a Sorceress’ Magic Island, and…

    Reply
  72. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? Pah!
    Orlando Furioso!
    …The Song or Roland, with added ass-kicking female Paladin, and Hippogrifs, and Trips to the Moon, and Japan (or so wikipedia implies), and a Sorceress’ Magic Island, and…

    Reply
  73. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? Pah!
    Orlando Furioso!
    …The Song or Roland, with added ass-kicking female Paladin, and Hippogrifs, and Trips to the Moon, and Japan (or so wikipedia implies), and a Sorceress’ Magic Island, and…

    Reply
  74. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? Pah!
    Orlando Furioso!
    …The Song or Roland, with added ass-kicking female Paladin, and Hippogrifs, and Trips to the Moon, and Japan (or so wikipedia implies), and a Sorceress’ Magic Island, and…

    Reply
  75. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? Pah!
    Orlando Furioso!
    …The Song or Roland, with added ass-kicking female Paladin, and Hippogrifs, and Trips to the Moon, and Japan (or so wikipedia implies), and a Sorceress’ Magic Island, and…

    Reply
  76. I found myself trugging through Pride and Predjudice and Zombies. Took me ages to finish it. I didn’t really want to read P&P again but because of the structure of the novel big chunks of it are in it. So the two styles didn’t gel for me. I saw a novel today about Queen Victoria as a demon slayer and that might work better because it’s not based on a classic text.

    Reply
  77. I found myself trugging through Pride and Predjudice and Zombies. Took me ages to finish it. I didn’t really want to read P&P again but because of the structure of the novel big chunks of it are in it. So the two styles didn’t gel for me. I saw a novel today about Queen Victoria as a demon slayer and that might work better because it’s not based on a classic text.

    Reply
  78. I found myself trugging through Pride and Predjudice and Zombies. Took me ages to finish it. I didn’t really want to read P&P again but because of the structure of the novel big chunks of it are in it. So the two styles didn’t gel for me. I saw a novel today about Queen Victoria as a demon slayer and that might work better because it’s not based on a classic text.

    Reply
  79. I found myself trugging through Pride and Predjudice and Zombies. Took me ages to finish it. I didn’t really want to read P&P again but because of the structure of the novel big chunks of it are in it. So the two styles didn’t gel for me. I saw a novel today about Queen Victoria as a demon slayer and that might work better because it’s not based on a classic text.

    Reply
  80. I found myself trugging through Pride and Predjudice and Zombies. Took me ages to finish it. I didn’t really want to read P&P again but because of the structure of the novel big chunks of it are in it. So the two styles didn’t gel for me. I saw a novel today about Queen Victoria as a demon slayer and that might work better because it’s not based on a classic text.

    Reply
  81. Theo, yes, I agree that the author’s voice is the thing for me. I suppose that’s why I haven’t read any of the spin-offs, except for books where the author takes a what-if from the story and writes with his/her own voice — eg Jean Rhys and Tom Holt
    As for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies it sounded to me like a one-idea joke that would have been funny in a short story, perhaps, but less so in a novel. And I do have a problem with the author of the zombie part using so much of Austen’s writing.
    But as the comments from Keziah and danielle show, it’s a question of taste.

    Reply
  82. Theo, yes, I agree that the author’s voice is the thing for me. I suppose that’s why I haven’t read any of the spin-offs, except for books where the author takes a what-if from the story and writes with his/her own voice — eg Jean Rhys and Tom Holt
    As for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies it sounded to me like a one-idea joke that would have been funny in a short story, perhaps, but less so in a novel. And I do have a problem with the author of the zombie part using so much of Austen’s writing.
    But as the comments from Keziah and danielle show, it’s a question of taste.

    Reply
  83. Theo, yes, I agree that the author’s voice is the thing for me. I suppose that’s why I haven’t read any of the spin-offs, except for books where the author takes a what-if from the story and writes with his/her own voice — eg Jean Rhys and Tom Holt
    As for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies it sounded to me like a one-idea joke that would have been funny in a short story, perhaps, but less so in a novel. And I do have a problem with the author of the zombie part using so much of Austen’s writing.
    But as the comments from Keziah and danielle show, it’s a question of taste.

    Reply
  84. Theo, yes, I agree that the author’s voice is the thing for me. I suppose that’s why I haven’t read any of the spin-offs, except for books where the author takes a what-if from the story and writes with his/her own voice — eg Jean Rhys and Tom Holt
    As for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies it sounded to me like a one-idea joke that would have been funny in a short story, perhaps, but less so in a novel. And I do have a problem with the author of the zombie part using so much of Austen’s writing.
    But as the comments from Keziah and danielle show, it’s a question of taste.

    Reply
  85. Theo, yes, I agree that the author’s voice is the thing for me. I suppose that’s why I haven’t read any of the spin-offs, except for books where the author takes a what-if from the story and writes with his/her own voice — eg Jean Rhys and Tom Holt
    As for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies it sounded to me like a one-idea joke that would have been funny in a short story, perhaps, but less so in a novel. And I do have a problem with the author of the zombie part using so much of Austen’s writing.
    But as the comments from Keziah and danielle show, it’s a question of taste.

    Reply
  86. For what it’s worth, if you’re curious about the P&P&Zombies book, here’s a link which gives an extract and an illustration, so you can judge for yourselves just how much is Austen’s original prose and how the zombies have been woven in.
    http://tinyurl.com/y8uxkb6
    Below the illustration is a suggestion that the future will bring other classics of literature “…and zombies”

    Reply
  87. For what it’s worth, if you’re curious about the P&P&Zombies book, here’s a link which gives an extract and an illustration, so you can judge for yourselves just how much is Austen’s original prose and how the zombies have been woven in.
    http://tinyurl.com/y8uxkb6
    Below the illustration is a suggestion that the future will bring other classics of literature “…and zombies”

    Reply
  88. For what it’s worth, if you’re curious about the P&P&Zombies book, here’s a link which gives an extract and an illustration, so you can judge for yourselves just how much is Austen’s original prose and how the zombies have been woven in.
    http://tinyurl.com/y8uxkb6
    Below the illustration is a suggestion that the future will bring other classics of literature “…and zombies”

    Reply
  89. For what it’s worth, if you’re curious about the P&P&Zombies book, here’s a link which gives an extract and an illustration, so you can judge for yourselves just how much is Austen’s original prose and how the zombies have been woven in.
    http://tinyurl.com/y8uxkb6
    Below the illustration is a suggestion that the future will bring other classics of literature “…and zombies”

    Reply
  90. For what it’s worth, if you’re curious about the P&P&Zombies book, here’s a link which gives an extract and an illustration, so you can judge for yourselves just how much is Austen’s original prose and how the zombies have been woven in.
    http://tinyurl.com/y8uxkb6
    Below the illustration is a suggestion that the future will bring other classics of literature “…and zombies”

    Reply
  91. Chiming in late, but have to admit, I have had no real interest in reading the JA “inspirations.” Fine for people who do, but for me, her writing is so special that I don’t care to see how other people interpret her genius. It just feels wrong.

    Reply
  92. Chiming in late, but have to admit, I have had no real interest in reading the JA “inspirations.” Fine for people who do, but for me, her writing is so special that I don’t care to see how other people interpret her genius. It just feels wrong.

    Reply
  93. Chiming in late, but have to admit, I have had no real interest in reading the JA “inspirations.” Fine for people who do, but for me, her writing is so special that I don’t care to see how other people interpret her genius. It just feels wrong.

    Reply
  94. Chiming in late, but have to admit, I have had no real interest in reading the JA “inspirations.” Fine for people who do, but for me, her writing is so special that I don’t care to see how other people interpret her genius. It just feels wrong.

    Reply
  95. Chiming in late, but have to admit, I have had no real interest in reading the JA “inspirations.” Fine for people who do, but for me, her writing is so special that I don’t care to see how other people interpret her genius. It just feels wrong.

    Reply
  96. I think I’ve read exactly one Austen sequel–Julia Barrett’s “Presumption”–and found it reasonably entertaining but not exceptional. I think it helped that the focus was on Georgiana Darcy rather than the main characters from P&P. But I don’t really have a strong urge to read others.
    And yet, as someone who has written historical fan fiction from time to time, I’m loath to be a total wet blanket about what seems to be Austenian pro-fan fiction. I’m open to the idea of alternate POV sequels or companion pieces to “classics.” I consider “Wide Sargasso Sea” to be an intriguing alternate POV, whether one agrees with Rhys’s take on the first Mrs. Rochester or not. I’m even receptive to sequels featuring minor characters as the leads. Or a reenvisioning that seems fresh and new.
    On the other hand, some sequel concepts just feel crass and exploitative–like the ones featuring zombies and sea monsters. And I have no intention of touching “Mr. Darcy, Vampyre.” It’s hard to be an aspiring writer trying to sell an original novel and seeing titles like these on bookshelves and knowing they’re there mainly because they’re riffing on Jane Austen.

    Reply
  97. I think I’ve read exactly one Austen sequel–Julia Barrett’s “Presumption”–and found it reasonably entertaining but not exceptional. I think it helped that the focus was on Georgiana Darcy rather than the main characters from P&P. But I don’t really have a strong urge to read others.
    And yet, as someone who has written historical fan fiction from time to time, I’m loath to be a total wet blanket about what seems to be Austenian pro-fan fiction. I’m open to the idea of alternate POV sequels or companion pieces to “classics.” I consider “Wide Sargasso Sea” to be an intriguing alternate POV, whether one agrees with Rhys’s take on the first Mrs. Rochester or not. I’m even receptive to sequels featuring minor characters as the leads. Or a reenvisioning that seems fresh and new.
    On the other hand, some sequel concepts just feel crass and exploitative–like the ones featuring zombies and sea monsters. And I have no intention of touching “Mr. Darcy, Vampyre.” It’s hard to be an aspiring writer trying to sell an original novel and seeing titles like these on bookshelves and knowing they’re there mainly because they’re riffing on Jane Austen.

    Reply
  98. I think I’ve read exactly one Austen sequel–Julia Barrett’s “Presumption”–and found it reasonably entertaining but not exceptional. I think it helped that the focus was on Georgiana Darcy rather than the main characters from P&P. But I don’t really have a strong urge to read others.
    And yet, as someone who has written historical fan fiction from time to time, I’m loath to be a total wet blanket about what seems to be Austenian pro-fan fiction. I’m open to the idea of alternate POV sequels or companion pieces to “classics.” I consider “Wide Sargasso Sea” to be an intriguing alternate POV, whether one agrees with Rhys’s take on the first Mrs. Rochester or not. I’m even receptive to sequels featuring minor characters as the leads. Or a reenvisioning that seems fresh and new.
    On the other hand, some sequel concepts just feel crass and exploitative–like the ones featuring zombies and sea monsters. And I have no intention of touching “Mr. Darcy, Vampyre.” It’s hard to be an aspiring writer trying to sell an original novel and seeing titles like these on bookshelves and knowing they’re there mainly because they’re riffing on Jane Austen.

    Reply
  99. I think I’ve read exactly one Austen sequel–Julia Barrett’s “Presumption”–and found it reasonably entertaining but not exceptional. I think it helped that the focus was on Georgiana Darcy rather than the main characters from P&P. But I don’t really have a strong urge to read others.
    And yet, as someone who has written historical fan fiction from time to time, I’m loath to be a total wet blanket about what seems to be Austenian pro-fan fiction. I’m open to the idea of alternate POV sequels or companion pieces to “classics.” I consider “Wide Sargasso Sea” to be an intriguing alternate POV, whether one agrees with Rhys’s take on the first Mrs. Rochester or not. I’m even receptive to sequels featuring minor characters as the leads. Or a reenvisioning that seems fresh and new.
    On the other hand, some sequel concepts just feel crass and exploitative–like the ones featuring zombies and sea monsters. And I have no intention of touching “Mr. Darcy, Vampyre.” It’s hard to be an aspiring writer trying to sell an original novel and seeing titles like these on bookshelves and knowing they’re there mainly because they’re riffing on Jane Austen.

    Reply
  100. I think I’ve read exactly one Austen sequel–Julia Barrett’s “Presumption”–and found it reasonably entertaining but not exceptional. I think it helped that the focus was on Georgiana Darcy rather than the main characters from P&P. But I don’t really have a strong urge to read others.
    And yet, as someone who has written historical fan fiction from time to time, I’m loath to be a total wet blanket about what seems to be Austenian pro-fan fiction. I’m open to the idea of alternate POV sequels or companion pieces to “classics.” I consider “Wide Sargasso Sea” to be an intriguing alternate POV, whether one agrees with Rhys’s take on the first Mrs. Rochester or not. I’m even receptive to sequels featuring minor characters as the leads. Or a reenvisioning that seems fresh and new.
    On the other hand, some sequel concepts just feel crass and exploitative–like the ones featuring zombies and sea monsters. And I have no intention of touching “Mr. Darcy, Vampyre.” It’s hard to be an aspiring writer trying to sell an original novel and seeing titles like these on bookshelves and knowing they’re there mainly because they’re riffing on Jane Austen.

    Reply
  101. An interesting post, Annie.
    I don’t have anything to do with the zombies and sea monsters books, Elaine. I wrote Mr Darcy, Vampyre and of course it doesn’t suit every taste, but it’s nothing like the other books mentioned. In part it’s a What if? sequel to Pride and Prejudice, but it’s also an homage to the nineteenth century Gothic novel, the kind of novel Jane Austen herself liked to read.
    I thought that casting Darcy as a vampyre made an interesting comment on the deathless nature of Austen’s novels and characters. After all, Mr Darcy is over 200 years old, but he’s still very attractive to women! And as vampyre fiction really began in the same decade that brought us Jane Austen’s novels, Mr Darcy Vampyre sets Austen’s characters in their literary context.
    I’ve also written 5 Diaries which retell Austen’s stories from the heroes’ points of view, and I’m glad you liked the ones you read, Elaine. I started to write them because I wanted to know more about the heroes and to shed new light on their characters. For example, a lot of people see Col Brandon as a dry stick of a man, but in fact he has a tragic and very romantic backstory which is only briefly touched on in Sense and Sensibility. In Colonel Brandon’s Diary I turned something which is a few paragraphs in the original novel into a novella-length exploration of Brandon’s early life because I wanted to show that he was a good match for Marianne, and not second best after Willoughby. This is just my interpretation, of course, but it makes readers think about the characters in a new way, and then they can either agree or disagree with my interpretations.
    One of the members of the Jane Austen Society, who kindly invited me to talk to them in London, described the Diaries as literary criticism in novel form.
    As for it being cheating, or easier, to write a book based on someone else’s novels, I don’t find it so. I’ve written about a dozen of my own novels and writing the Diaries is equally challenging because I have to research the original novels carefully and I don’t have the freedom I have in my own novels.
    I don’t see the current trend for continuations etc of classics as exploitative, I think it’s a natural continuation of the storytelling tradition. Jane Austen is now much more than a dead novelist, she is a part of our culture, and as a society we retell her stories because they are important to us. We have done the same thing with other literary giants for centuries and I’m sure we will continue to do so.

    Reply
  102. An interesting post, Annie.
    I don’t have anything to do with the zombies and sea monsters books, Elaine. I wrote Mr Darcy, Vampyre and of course it doesn’t suit every taste, but it’s nothing like the other books mentioned. In part it’s a What if? sequel to Pride and Prejudice, but it’s also an homage to the nineteenth century Gothic novel, the kind of novel Jane Austen herself liked to read.
    I thought that casting Darcy as a vampyre made an interesting comment on the deathless nature of Austen’s novels and characters. After all, Mr Darcy is over 200 years old, but he’s still very attractive to women! And as vampyre fiction really began in the same decade that brought us Jane Austen’s novels, Mr Darcy Vampyre sets Austen’s characters in their literary context.
    I’ve also written 5 Diaries which retell Austen’s stories from the heroes’ points of view, and I’m glad you liked the ones you read, Elaine. I started to write them because I wanted to know more about the heroes and to shed new light on their characters. For example, a lot of people see Col Brandon as a dry stick of a man, but in fact he has a tragic and very romantic backstory which is only briefly touched on in Sense and Sensibility. In Colonel Brandon’s Diary I turned something which is a few paragraphs in the original novel into a novella-length exploration of Brandon’s early life because I wanted to show that he was a good match for Marianne, and not second best after Willoughby. This is just my interpretation, of course, but it makes readers think about the characters in a new way, and then they can either agree or disagree with my interpretations.
    One of the members of the Jane Austen Society, who kindly invited me to talk to them in London, described the Diaries as literary criticism in novel form.
    As for it being cheating, or easier, to write a book based on someone else’s novels, I don’t find it so. I’ve written about a dozen of my own novels and writing the Diaries is equally challenging because I have to research the original novels carefully and I don’t have the freedom I have in my own novels.
    I don’t see the current trend for continuations etc of classics as exploitative, I think it’s a natural continuation of the storytelling tradition. Jane Austen is now much more than a dead novelist, she is a part of our culture, and as a society we retell her stories because they are important to us. We have done the same thing with other literary giants for centuries and I’m sure we will continue to do so.

    Reply
  103. An interesting post, Annie.
    I don’t have anything to do with the zombies and sea monsters books, Elaine. I wrote Mr Darcy, Vampyre and of course it doesn’t suit every taste, but it’s nothing like the other books mentioned. In part it’s a What if? sequel to Pride and Prejudice, but it’s also an homage to the nineteenth century Gothic novel, the kind of novel Jane Austen herself liked to read.
    I thought that casting Darcy as a vampyre made an interesting comment on the deathless nature of Austen’s novels and characters. After all, Mr Darcy is over 200 years old, but he’s still very attractive to women! And as vampyre fiction really began in the same decade that brought us Jane Austen’s novels, Mr Darcy Vampyre sets Austen’s characters in their literary context.
    I’ve also written 5 Diaries which retell Austen’s stories from the heroes’ points of view, and I’m glad you liked the ones you read, Elaine. I started to write them because I wanted to know more about the heroes and to shed new light on their characters. For example, a lot of people see Col Brandon as a dry stick of a man, but in fact he has a tragic and very romantic backstory which is only briefly touched on in Sense and Sensibility. In Colonel Brandon’s Diary I turned something which is a few paragraphs in the original novel into a novella-length exploration of Brandon’s early life because I wanted to show that he was a good match for Marianne, and not second best after Willoughby. This is just my interpretation, of course, but it makes readers think about the characters in a new way, and then they can either agree or disagree with my interpretations.
    One of the members of the Jane Austen Society, who kindly invited me to talk to them in London, described the Diaries as literary criticism in novel form.
    As for it being cheating, or easier, to write a book based on someone else’s novels, I don’t find it so. I’ve written about a dozen of my own novels and writing the Diaries is equally challenging because I have to research the original novels carefully and I don’t have the freedom I have in my own novels.
    I don’t see the current trend for continuations etc of classics as exploitative, I think it’s a natural continuation of the storytelling tradition. Jane Austen is now much more than a dead novelist, she is a part of our culture, and as a society we retell her stories because they are important to us. We have done the same thing with other literary giants for centuries and I’m sure we will continue to do so.

    Reply
  104. An interesting post, Annie.
    I don’t have anything to do with the zombies and sea monsters books, Elaine. I wrote Mr Darcy, Vampyre and of course it doesn’t suit every taste, but it’s nothing like the other books mentioned. In part it’s a What if? sequel to Pride and Prejudice, but it’s also an homage to the nineteenth century Gothic novel, the kind of novel Jane Austen herself liked to read.
    I thought that casting Darcy as a vampyre made an interesting comment on the deathless nature of Austen’s novels and characters. After all, Mr Darcy is over 200 years old, but he’s still very attractive to women! And as vampyre fiction really began in the same decade that brought us Jane Austen’s novels, Mr Darcy Vampyre sets Austen’s characters in their literary context.
    I’ve also written 5 Diaries which retell Austen’s stories from the heroes’ points of view, and I’m glad you liked the ones you read, Elaine. I started to write them because I wanted to know more about the heroes and to shed new light on their characters. For example, a lot of people see Col Brandon as a dry stick of a man, but in fact he has a tragic and very romantic backstory which is only briefly touched on in Sense and Sensibility. In Colonel Brandon’s Diary I turned something which is a few paragraphs in the original novel into a novella-length exploration of Brandon’s early life because I wanted to show that he was a good match for Marianne, and not second best after Willoughby. This is just my interpretation, of course, but it makes readers think about the characters in a new way, and then they can either agree or disagree with my interpretations.
    One of the members of the Jane Austen Society, who kindly invited me to talk to them in London, described the Diaries as literary criticism in novel form.
    As for it being cheating, or easier, to write a book based on someone else’s novels, I don’t find it so. I’ve written about a dozen of my own novels and writing the Diaries is equally challenging because I have to research the original novels carefully and I don’t have the freedom I have in my own novels.
    I don’t see the current trend for continuations etc of classics as exploitative, I think it’s a natural continuation of the storytelling tradition. Jane Austen is now much more than a dead novelist, she is a part of our culture, and as a society we retell her stories because they are important to us. We have done the same thing with other literary giants for centuries and I’m sure we will continue to do so.

    Reply
  105. An interesting post, Annie.
    I don’t have anything to do with the zombies and sea monsters books, Elaine. I wrote Mr Darcy, Vampyre and of course it doesn’t suit every taste, but it’s nothing like the other books mentioned. In part it’s a What if? sequel to Pride and Prejudice, but it’s also an homage to the nineteenth century Gothic novel, the kind of novel Jane Austen herself liked to read.
    I thought that casting Darcy as a vampyre made an interesting comment on the deathless nature of Austen’s novels and characters. After all, Mr Darcy is over 200 years old, but he’s still very attractive to women! And as vampyre fiction really began in the same decade that brought us Jane Austen’s novels, Mr Darcy Vampyre sets Austen’s characters in their literary context.
    I’ve also written 5 Diaries which retell Austen’s stories from the heroes’ points of view, and I’m glad you liked the ones you read, Elaine. I started to write them because I wanted to know more about the heroes and to shed new light on their characters. For example, a lot of people see Col Brandon as a dry stick of a man, but in fact he has a tragic and very romantic backstory which is only briefly touched on in Sense and Sensibility. In Colonel Brandon’s Diary I turned something which is a few paragraphs in the original novel into a novella-length exploration of Brandon’s early life because I wanted to show that he was a good match for Marianne, and not second best after Willoughby. This is just my interpretation, of course, but it makes readers think about the characters in a new way, and then they can either agree or disagree with my interpretations.
    One of the members of the Jane Austen Society, who kindly invited me to talk to them in London, described the Diaries as literary criticism in novel form.
    As for it being cheating, or easier, to write a book based on someone else’s novels, I don’t find it so. I’ve written about a dozen of my own novels and writing the Diaries is equally challenging because I have to research the original novels carefully and I don’t have the freedom I have in my own novels.
    I don’t see the current trend for continuations etc of classics as exploitative, I think it’s a natural continuation of the storytelling tradition. Jane Austen is now much more than a dead novelist, she is a part of our culture, and as a society we retell her stories because they are important to us. We have done the same thing with other literary giants for centuries and I’m sure we will continue to do so.

    Reply
  106. I quite like the Austen “sequels” (well most of them that I’ve read, the number of which is somewhere between 15 and 20). Having read both fan fiction on web sites and Barrett’s and Ashton’s “sequels”, I would argue that they are not exactly “fan fic,” either. Nor are they completely a recent phenomenon. The first Austen “sequel” was written in, I believe, 1913, and included characters from several books. The name is, however, escaping me at present.

    Reply
  107. I quite like the Austen “sequels” (well most of them that I’ve read, the number of which is somewhere between 15 and 20). Having read both fan fiction on web sites and Barrett’s and Ashton’s “sequels”, I would argue that they are not exactly “fan fic,” either. Nor are they completely a recent phenomenon. The first Austen “sequel” was written in, I believe, 1913, and included characters from several books. The name is, however, escaping me at present.

    Reply
  108. I quite like the Austen “sequels” (well most of them that I’ve read, the number of which is somewhere between 15 and 20). Having read both fan fiction on web sites and Barrett’s and Ashton’s “sequels”, I would argue that they are not exactly “fan fic,” either. Nor are they completely a recent phenomenon. The first Austen “sequel” was written in, I believe, 1913, and included characters from several books. The name is, however, escaping me at present.

    Reply
  109. I quite like the Austen “sequels” (well most of them that I’ve read, the number of which is somewhere between 15 and 20). Having read both fan fiction on web sites and Barrett’s and Ashton’s “sequels”, I would argue that they are not exactly “fan fic,” either. Nor are they completely a recent phenomenon. The first Austen “sequel” was written in, I believe, 1913, and included characters from several books. The name is, however, escaping me at present.

    Reply
  110. I quite like the Austen “sequels” (well most of them that I’ve read, the number of which is somewhere between 15 and 20). Having read both fan fiction on web sites and Barrett’s and Ashton’s “sequels”, I would argue that they are not exactly “fan fic,” either. Nor are they completely a recent phenomenon. The first Austen “sequel” was written in, I believe, 1913, and included characters from several books. The name is, however, escaping me at present.

    Reply

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