James Fairfax: A Gender Bending Alternate Regency Universe Will be the Next Austen Mash-up

James Fairfax, by Jane Austen and Adam Campan (2009)Gentle Readers: In yet the third announcement in less than a week, another publisher is jumping on the classic literary re-imagining/mash-up band wagon and hitching their star to Austen’s prose. Independent publisher Norilana Books has announced today a new novel entitled James Fairfax, combining Jane Austen’s original text of Emma with new scenes by Adam Campan. Described as a “re-envisioning of Jane Austen’s world, where gay marriage is commonplace and love is gender-blind,” one is all astonishment as to this new premise.

Here is the publicity blurb:

In this stunning, gender-bending, stylish dance-of-manners version of Jane Austen’s beloved classic novel EMMA — an alternate Regency where gay marriage is commonplace and love is gender-blind — matchmaking Emma Woodhouse tries to find a suitable spouse for her lover Harriet Smith, and is embroiled in the secrets of the relationship between the mysterious and accomplished James Fairfax and the handsome Frank Churchill…

Last week Quirk Books, the publisher of the surprising best-seller Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, revealed its next Austen mash-up would be Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, followed by Beautiful Books announcement of Murder at Mansfield Park on Monday. With recent deluge of Jane Austen inspired books, this writer like Austen’s character Mary Bennet, “wished to say something very sensible, but knew not how.”

Further reading

Murder at Mansfield Park: Fanny Price Now an Outrageous Gold-digger in a new Austen Re-imaging

Mansfield Park (Barnes & Noble Classics), by Jane AustenJane Austen’s novel Mansfield Park will be next up for a literary mash-up. 

Bookseller.com reports that Beautiful Books, a London based publisher announced today that they have purchased Murder at Mansfield Park, a whodunit by Lynn Shepherd. 

Based on Jane Austen’s classic novel Mansfield Park, the murder mystery re-imagines Austen’s classic story re-casting gentle and principled heroine Fanny Price as “ambitious, scheming and relentlessly focused”, while anti-heroine Mary Crawford “suffers great indignities from her mean neighbour”

And now, a bit of self hype by the publisher. 

Simon Petherick, managing director of Beautiful Books, described the book as “fantastic” and “tremendous fun”. He added: “The really good thing about it is that linguistically, it’s very accurate, and she picks up on all the key themes that appeared in the original . . . But whereas Fanny is quite a pain in the arse in Austen’s version, Lynn’s Fanny is an outrageous gold-digger.” 

From what we can gather, this is an original manuscript and not a true mash-up inserting new bits into Jane Austen’s original text like we saw in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Calling Fanny Price a pain in the arse is a bit crude, but honestly, we are just relieved that there are no monster or alien invasions in it.