Saturday 21 July 2012

Austen and Bronte Classics Turned into Erotica...

No, I couldn't believe it either when I heard it, but sadly it is happening.

The 50 Shades trend has now reached the literary classics: Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey and Jane Eyre. :(

Now I've always thought there was an underlying sexual tension between the hero and heroine of these well-known novels; but that could just have been my imagination of course. :-)

And this isn't the first time that Jane Austen's characters have been given new lives in other genres.

There's been Mr Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange, and Vampire Darcy's Desire: A Pride and Prejudice Adaptation by Regina Jeffers.

Admittedly there's always been new stories or alternative versions of the original story- too numerous to mention.

Even P. D. James (Baroness and a best-selling crime novelist) had a novel featuring Darcy and Elizabeth, Death Comes to Pemberley (published in 2011) which takes place six years after Pride and Prejudice, and features Lydia Wickham arriving on the eve of the annual ball declaring her husband-the scoundrel George Wickham- has been murdered.

That I can accept. It's a new story-even though the characters were Jane Austen's invention.

But honestly, an erotic makeover for Pride and Prejudice is so wrong.

If you want to read an example- though the excerpts are quite tame- you should look at this piece from The Independent by Sherna Noah; and if you want to see the book covers, there's a gallery here.

I have to say the covers wouldn't be too out of place among many of the historical romances from US publishers.

Will I read any of them? I honestly don't know.
If I could read a longer excerpt first I might consider reading the rest.

It's sad that literary classics get mucked about with like this just to make money because erotica is the latest big selling trend.

At heart I believe books should be published because they are good and readers will buy and enjoy them. But as a writer who lives in the real world I accept that this no longer seems to be the priority.


Rosemary Gemmell said...

I was going to say I don't believe it - but sadly it was inevitable. I definitely won't be reading any of them as I prefer to enjoy my favourite literary characters as they are intended to be! I made the mistake of reading PD James' book as I like her crime. D comes to P was awful - one of the worst books I've read in a while.

Marion Clarke said...

So much for 'less is more', eh!

It's so obvious what's going on here ... the very fact that people are talking and writing about this enterprise is giving the books great publicity - no such thing as bad PR and all that. Can't help but admire the publisher's business acumen, but I think the classics should be left alone :]

Keith Havers said...

They'd better not muck about with The 39 Steps or King Solomon's Mines.

Carolb said...

I'd heard someone else say that D comes to P wasn't that good, Rosemary.

I scanned a few pages when I was in Waterstones and it didn't grab me either.

I agree the classics should be left alone, Marion.

But in the current publishing climate it's easy to see why they're throwing themselves into the latest trend- it sells.

Keith, I agree with you wholeheartedly on those classics.

Maxi said...

I couldn't agree more - the Classics are exactly that, Classic - and do not need to be fiddled and tweaked and frankly, ruined like this. The underlying tension in these novels is part of the attraction. The rules of the day meant that they couldn't go full tilt at each other which added to the frisson of any accidental touch or just being helped from a carriage. Hard to imagine today but that's the wonderful thing about being lost in these novels.

I also read Death Comes to Pemberley - luckily from the library and in hospital, so I wasn't worried about wasting time or money on a book I was less than impressed with.