“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”
And so Gentle Readers begins the altered famous line from Jane Austen’s classic novel now renamed Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance – Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem and rewrtten by Seth Grahame-Smith being published this June by Quirk Books.
What? Whoa, wait a minute here you say!
Yes, it’s not a joke. I’m dead serious and so are the undead Zombies. I first wrote about this new novel combining Austen’s classic novel and Zombie bedlam at my co-blog Jane Austen Today. Now it’s all over the blogosphere. Even Paris Hilton might agree that combining Jane Austen and Zombies is hot.
Breaking News!!! Now it’s so HAUTE that Quirk has announced today that it is moving up its publication date two months to April!
Here is the publisher’s description
So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. 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. Can she vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read.
Here is an excerpt compliments from Bryan at Cinema Suicide who tells me he has it from a super secret source.
“Come, Darcy,” said Mr. Bingley, “I hate to see you standing by yourself in this stupid manner. You had much better dance.”
“I certainly shall not. You know how I detest it.”
“I would not be as fastidious as you are for a kingdom! I never met with so many pleasant girls in my life as I have this evening; and several of them are uncommonly pretty.”
Before Mr. Darcy could respond, a chorus of screams filled the assembly hall, immediately joined by the shattering of window panes. Unmentionables scrambled in, their movements clumsy yet swift; their burial clothing in a range of untidiness.
Guests who had the misfortune of standing near the windows were seized and feasted on at once. Elizabeth watched Mrs. Long struggle to free herself as two female dreadfuls bit into her head, cracking her skull like a walnut, and sending a shower of dark blood spouting as high as the chandeliers.
Double whoa! I dearly love to laugh as much as the next Janeite (maybe more), but this is the most creative way I have ever seen to entice readership of literary classics. I fear Austen and literature purist will be appalled, and new novice readers will be amazed. Everyone who was forced to read P&P in high school and hated it (a small minority I assure you ;) will have a secret smirk when they hear about this one. In addition, last June we heard about “Jane Bites Back,” Michael Thomas Ford’s new novel which
presents an undead Jane Austen, frustrated by nearly 200 years of writer’s block and 116 rejections of an unpublished novel she finished just before turning into a vampire; she’s becoming increasingly irritated that the rest of the world seems to be getting rich and famous off of her works and her life.
Not quite sure how all of this will settle out, but it is interesting to watch the public reaction and I am glad to see people talking about Austen. There are pros and cons to the argument on free market vs. copyright restrictions. I just hope that Darcy isn’t killed and becomes one of the undead.
More Austen Zombie mayhem around the blogosphere
- Jane Austen Ate My Brain – AustenBlog
- Jane Austen Battles the Undead – The Ampersand
- Yay or Nay: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – Trashonista
- Jane Austen Ate My Brain – Papercuts NY Times (who copied Mag’s title)
I am glad to see people talking about Austen too….but this is the only very little asset of the release of this …..book
OK, so you wed a literary classic to a contemporary horror genre, and the concept is maybe good for a chuckle. But I’ll tell you what offends me. It’s that the blogosphere collectively has bitten *hard* on this thing. I have received more than a hundred posts about P&P&Z in my RSS feed in the last week — I’m not exaggerating. It is simply not worth that amount of attention. If that’s all it takes to get people going these days these days, civilized discourse is in even worse shape than I thought.
I think the more and more I hear/think about it, the more excited I get.
I have to admit, I still think my blog’s title the best: “Dawn of de Bourgh.”
Mark – This book seems to illicit only two responses, Yay or Nay! You either think it is brilliant or hate it. I am amazed also by the response in the last two weeks. It is talked about on all levels of media, not just blog chatter. The public has bitten *hard* as you say. The book concept is funny and fresh, but after the 3rd chapter will it keep pace with Austen’s text? Hard to say until we read it. Anyway – it could be a good laugh, or not.
Cheers, Laurel Ann
I can illustrate my problem by reference to another modern Austen adaptation. When Clueless was released, it was entirely a stealth adaptation. Writer-director Amy Heckerling didn’t flag her source. She was caught out (immediately) and ‘fessed up (immediately). That was delicious, and Clueless is in fact a brilliant re-imagining of Emma.
But Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is purely “high concept,” concocted solely for the attention it can draw: no stealth maneuvers here! It is like the manufactured mini-scandals of 24-hour cable news. And that is what depresses me, that the blogosphere has so dutifully played its role in the process of the manufacture of attention. It is so very predictable.