Hold the Vampiric Phone, already --
Just now read Laurel Ann’s writeup on Regina Jeffers’ Darcy’s Hunger: a Vampire Retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and I am inclined to feel a little malicious. Only recently my fandom’s been strained when Pride and Prejudice and Zombies awoke in me an already festering disdain for Jane-in-the-Ass [see what I did there?] knockoffs and sequels [many, anyway; some I like].
I’d gotten an early copy of P&P&Z and enjoyed it–digging zombies–for what it was worth, but I am hardpressed to ever designate beyond “fun” and broach “good” – it isn’t; it’s leeching from established Janeite and horror markets and having good fun in the process, and that’s about it. P&P&Z was in the forefront of a monsterification trend, as genre-author fanboys-and-girls “horrify” [tr. verb def. 3] the regency, as if trying to find common ground between the Romantics and Stephanie Meyer.
Mr. Darcy might be a little dark, but Byronic? I think the circumstance would be different for Regina Jeffers if she retold P&P in the style of–let’s say–Ann Radcliffe [The Mysteries of Darcypho], but–and I don’t mean to judge her prematurely–the preview at Austenprose leads me–Librarian with dwindling respect for sacred cows–to chalk her paperback as Harlequin and file it among volumes of the exact same thing.
— I know I’m being crass, and–if I think about it–I am not scoffing Jeffers’ writing (I am sure she is completely capable) or choice in book, – that isn’t the issue [although it may seem like it]; rather, I am more and more aggravated that Janeites continuously think this sort of thing Novel.
Godforbid, I am almost of the opinion that–if an author isn’t going to model Jane, rethink her in the manner of another contemporary [Radcliffe], exaggerate regency drama as horror [rather than make it horror just-because (P&P&Z would have been loads of fun and smart if the apocalypse were related to ill-feelings vis-a-vis the reverberations of the Fr. Revolution a generation prior)]–why not rename the characters and pawn his or wares as original.
Partly to prepare for Gainesville’s next JASNA get-together (but mostly to stimulate this sort of writerly lull in me), I am going to take a note from the Reading Jane Austen blog (whose link I haven’t around right yet) and intermittently write on eReading P&P. It won’t likely be very aesthete, because I find myself a very unenthused academic – but it should be loads of short-bit fun.
So I am less than a full-day into my 2GIPod-Touch (dubbed Bad Apple) and I am swooning. I find her convenient and intuitive, and I am taken with the Stanza & eReader apps – neither of which can compare to the Kindle – but with catalogues of free classics (including everything on Project Gutenburg) I should be one hunky-dory dorian. I fully intend to exploit this power by secreting in this all my lit. trash I am at that moment embarrassed to admit reading.
I am also pleased with the Pandora app, which is smart internet radio – I drummed in Tom Waits, and after guaging which Tom Waits songs I preferred, it throws my way Alvin Youngblood-Hart’s Illinois Blues – and, all in all, I am finding myself hardpressed to tear myself away.
Jane could never have guessed that her novels would be read in a palm-sized screen. eReader allows for highlights and notes, but hasn’t the access to the free Project Gutenburg text – so I am torn.
I was interested to see that most recently the better half (being gore-splattered women, I hope) of my blahggery activity has [probably] been due to blatant curiosity concerning the thread titled Dawn of de Bourgh (moreso than its content) that I plugged on Austenprose.
Good silly stuff.
Still, I’m curious to see what Seth Graham-Smith does with classic. Many seem pretty apalled by literary rape, but I – frankly – am hard-pressed to think of a better alternative.
Day of de Bourgh
I’d gather non-advocates are likely to overlook that the raw narrative of much [z-]apocalyptic fiction relies on solid character development in response to overwhelming crises. Lauded for Lizzy B. & Darcy – as standalones, even, among her Big Six – Jane’s acute social perception would have had to been necessarily sharp.
My guess is that
- both Wickham and Darcy earn glory through purely violent prowess, their incremental downtime spent goading control of the survivors (and Wickham, until the end, will win their hearts – on the surface his escape-plan is sound, and he is a capable killer).
- The lesser Bennets will be left behind.
- Bingley will be charming and friendly, side with Darcy, but fail to prove himself until the end when he falls defending Jane.
- Catherine de Bourgh and her ilk will upturn their noses at the plebian ruckus and attempt to maintain their lifestyles (think “Masque of the Red Death”) until, refusing to leave her neice (recently infected), is left behind.
- The Gardiners are well-defended in their warehouses.
- Pemberly becomes an ideal stronghold with sprawling greens and isolation and the resources to hold-out.
According to its wikipedia entry (wow),
The literary subtext of a zombie apocalypse is usually that civilization is inherently fragile in the face of truly unprecedented threats and that most individuals cannot be relied upon to support the greater good if the personal cost becomes too high.
and that – given, for instance, the affluent merchant Gardiners – the social landscape of the English Gentry is changing, ending. Pride & Prejudice is set up to cope against an apocalypse no better symbolized than by an unliving mob. Zombies could very well be revolutionary (remember what is going on in the US & France around when Jane wrote), the macabre uprising from subalterns literally kept underfoot.
REJOICE! I have just pre-rdered Chronicle Books‘ Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – the Classic Regency Romance – Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayehm. The zombie threat–as I warned you, I fear–has spanned oceans of time–NAY!, – of genre. Gentle Readers, I beg you iron your wills. I fear we cannot rely on Wickham. Our advantage is at Pemberly, – but I suspect the Mr. D.’s relation Lady Catherine de Bourgh to have taken ill. With your permission, I will take no chances. Lend me your fire-axe.
Lizzy "Brain-Matter" Bennet
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies — Pride and Prejudice and Zombies features the original text of Jane Austen’s beloved novel with all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie action. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Complete with 20 illustrations in the style of C. E. Brock (the original illustrator of Pride and Prejudice), this insanely funny expanded edition will introduce Jane Austen’s classic novel to new legions of fans.
For one reason or another, I am feeling mortal.
112 Therefore I think and judge it for thy best
113 Thou follow me, and I will be thy guide,
114 And lead thee hence through the eternal place,
115 Where thou shalt hear the desperate lamentations,
116 Shalt see the ancient spirits disconsolate,
117 Who cry out each one for the second death;
118 And thou shalt see those who contented are
119 Within the fire, because they hope to come,
120 Whene’er it may be, to the blessed people;
121 To whom, then, if thou wishest to ascend,
122 A soul shall be for that than I more worthy;
123 With her at my departure I will leave thee.
I suppose I most recommend Longfellow’s translation of The Divine Comedy, which you can read – if you feel so inclined – in multiple versions online thanks to the Electronic Literature Foundation (ELF). That said, check out their project on Jane Austen. Longfellow has a better knack for the poetry of it, I think; moreso than the literal translations you must digest in school. Just like Heaney’s Beowulf. Solid.
There is also one hell of a digital gallery at ELF, checkout Salvador Dali’s “Cerberus” (I didn’t know this stuff even existed! – horrifying):
Salvador Dali's Cerberus
or Gustave Dore’s “Souls of Paolo and Francesca”
Gustave Dore's "Souls of Paolo and Francesca"
I just Amazoned me a copy.
In other news, Happy Birthday Mrs. P.
Spend any given time in a particular library system and you’ll become well acquainted with the ghostly undercurrent of patronage. A book misplaced on the shelves is lost; there is an abyss nearby where doomed socks go that is an aisle, tattered and never-ending, where wayward volumes sit. The patrons of this necropolis can come above, too. A shadow of a man today donated two boxes of books. They were left on the circulation disk, sitting there when I arrived.
Its tastes were mine. Classics (and Austen), and SciFi, and Arnold and Sagan. I couldn’t resist the gifts! – I shadowed a pristine copy of Watership Down, a beaten-up The Gunslinger, and an old Latin Composition from 1901.
It’s a shame it left no rosary for me to brandish when it comes for them after-hours.