“Z” Day Celebrations Begin with Dreadfully Ever After, by Steve Hockensmith – & a Giveaway!

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After, by Steve Hockensmith (2011) 200 x 307Welcome to “Z” Day here at Austenprose, the start of open season on zombies in the Jane Austen universe!

In honor of the launch today of Dreadfully Ever After, the third installment in the world-wide sensation Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, we are celebrating “Z” Day with a contest and tons of giveaways. Yes, gentle readers. The zombies are among us again and invading “our” Jane Austen.

Since we were the first blogger to even notice P&P&Z in 2009, before it ever became an international sensation spawning an entire franchise of mash-up books, we thought it only fitting that we wave the flag for the third book in the trilogy, Dreadfully Ever After. It is not a mash-up like Seth Grahame-Smith’s P&P&Z, but a new original novel written by Steve Hockensmith, the same author who brought us the prequel Dawn of the Dreadfuls last year. Here is a blurb from the publisher:

When we last saw Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy—at the end of the New York Times best seller Pride and Prejudice and Zombies—they were preparing for a lifetime of wedded bliss. Yet the honeymoon has barely begun when poor Mr. Darcy is nipped by a rampaging dreadful. Elizabeth knows the only acceptable course of action is to promptly behead her husband (and then burn the corpse, just to be safe). But when she learns of a miracle antidote being developed in London, she realizes there may be one last chance to save her true love—and for everyone to live happily ever after.

Complete with romance, heartbreak, martial arts, cannibalism, and an army of shambling corpses, Dreadfully Ever After brings the story of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to a thrilling conclusion.

The good folks at Quirk Books have been so generous in sending us zombie stuff in attempt (one assumes) to woo our black Janeite heart into submission, that we wanted to share some of the loot with our readers. So in honor of “Z” Day, and the beginning of open season on zombies, we are offering a banquet of unmentionable goodies.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies apothecary kit

Yes. We do love our readers, and are offering this exclusive press kit that was never really for sale, containing an apothecary box with all sorts of bottles filled with balms, salves, and restoratives to use to defend yourself against the impending zombie plague. It includes Bleed-Banishing Balm, Gnaw-be-Gone Purifying Poultice, Reanimate and Perambulate Smelling Salt and a hardcover biography, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a tale inspired by my family’s struggle to defeat the unmentionables. All cheerfully assembled by the good folks at Quirk and delivered to my doorstep. It can be yours – but only if your are willing to work for it. *see contest details below!

We don’t even want to know what this would fetch on eBay and haven’t looked. We would never deem to sell anything that we had received as a gift in the course of our endeavors to bring Jane Austen and her Legacy to the masses, so here it is as a giveaway. Go to it.

“Z” Day Giveaway

To qualify for any of the four items, please leave a short essay in the comments stating why you deserve to win any of the prizes by midnight PT, Wednesday, April 6th, 2011. Creativity counts. I will pick the winners based on you partial and prejudiced replies. Please keep it under 500 words. Winners to be announced on Thursday, April 7th, 2011. Shipment to the US and Canada only. Good luck, and may the best zombie loving Janeite win.

Cheers,

Laurel Ann

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel, adapted by Tony Lee and Illustrated by Cliff Richards – A Review

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel, adapted by Tony Lee and Illustrated by Cliff Richards (2010)Guest review by Kimberly Denny-Ryder of Reflections of a Book Addict

Who would have ever thought that adding zombies to a classic novel like Pride and Prejudice would create the literary mash-up phenomenon? It started in 2009 when Seth Grahame-Smith took Jane Austen’s original work and mashed it together with flesh eating zombies. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has since spawned a graphic novel, a prequel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls, soon to be released sequel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After, and a movie adaptation is in production.

The storyline in the graphic novel edition has been adapted by Tony Lee from the Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith original. Regency England has become overridden with zombies, or unmentionables, and Elizabeth Bennet and her four sisters have each been trained in the “deadly arts,” a combination of both ninja skills and martial arts training, to fight off the maraudring hordes. Due to their father’s previous training in the “deadly arts”, the Bennet sisters are well known for being the fiercest and bravest zombie warriors in the Meryton area.

Illustrations by Cliff Richards for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel (2010)

Following the classic plot of Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Bingley, a single man in possession of a good fortune moves into the area sending the Bennet household into an uproar. Mrs. Bennet has five unmarried daughters and has designs upon him marrying one of them. Bingley is introduced along with his sisters and good friend Fitzwilliam Darcy to the Bennet family at a local Assembly ball.  Bingley dances several times with Jane Bennet, encouraging Darcy to enjoy the ball and dance with her younger sister Elizabeth. Darcy, not wanting to mix with the local gentry, tells Bingley that Elizabeth is “not handsome enough to tempt me.” Elizabeth overhears Darcy’s reaction and instantly decides that he is the most arrogant man she’s ever met and that she must kill him to revenge her honor. His life is saved only by the zombie attack that occurs at the ball. Elizabeth and her sisters save the townspeople by forming their pentagram of death and killing all of the attacking unmentionables. As Darcy sees them fighting, he notices Elizabeth’s stellar skills and begins to look at her in a different way.

Illustrations by Cliff Richards for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel (2010)

Throughout the rest of their acquaintance in Meryton, Darcy continues to look at her more and more in a positive light and begins falling in love with her. This is all unbeknownst to Elizabeth who still looks upon Darcy with contempt. The plot continues to play out similarly to the original with Darcy separating Bingley from Jane due to her inappropriate family, cousin and heir to Longbourn Mr. Collins arriving, Elizabeth rejecting his proposal, Charlotte in turn accepting him, Elizabeth’s trip to Kent, and Darcy’s failed proposal to her, etc. The elements of Austen’s story are all still there, only the added in zombie-killing action sequences have been added.

While the illustrations in the graphic novel are well drawn, it was a bit confusing trying to figure out who was who. The artwork is in black and white, so in scenes with lots of dialogue, it was confusing to figure out who is saying what.  As the novel progresses however, it’s easier to follow since the character list drops to just major characters only. I would have liked to have seen color illustrations in this graphic novel edition. I think it would have brought a different element to the zombie attack scenes. The lack of color made me feel like I was reading a newspaper comic rather than a graphic novel.

Illustrations by Cliff Richards for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel (2010)

The difficulty in following the character dialogue caused me to dislike the first half of the graphic novel. Once the plot picked up, and it was easier to follow the action, I found that I actually enjoyed it more. The mashed-up plot is an incredibly creative story that is a really interesting juxtaposition between ninjas, zombies, martial arts and Regency England. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: the Graphic Novel is an imaginative way to get more people to read classic novels, albeit not in their original context. Regardless, it is still making people check out the classics, which is very exciting.

This book is definitely not for the Austen purists out there. The story is liberally changed to make Lizzy an intense warrior, Lady Catherine the foremost zombie killer in all of England, and Charlotte Lucas into an unmentionable, just to name a few. For those willing to see a creative change in Jane Austen’s classic work, check it out, but do prepared for some gory, bloody bits!

3 out of 5 Regency Stars

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Graphic Novel, by Jane Austen, Seth Grahame-Smith, adapted by Tony Lee and illustrated by Cliff Richards
Random House Publishing Group (2010)
Paperback (176) pages
ISBN: 978-0345520685

2007 – 2011 Kimberly Denny-Ryder, Austenprose

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After (the sequel), by Steve Hockensmith

More zombies in our Jane Austen.

Rising from the grave (yet again) is the next installment in the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies franchise, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After, by Steve Hockensmith. Due out in March 2011, this sequel to the bestselling Jane Austen and Seth Grahame Smith literary mash-up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2009) will be the third and final book in the PPZ trilogy. Also written by Steve Hockensmith, it follows his 2010 prequel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls released this last Spring.

Description from the publisher:

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and its prequel, Dawn of the Dreadfuls, were both New York Times best sellers, with a combined 1.3 million copies in print. Now the PPZ trilogy comes to a thrilling conclusion with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After.

The story opens with our newly married protagonists, Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy, defending their village from an army of flesh-eating “unmentionables.” But the honeymoon has barely begun when poor Mr. Darcy is nipped by a rampaging dreadful. Elizabeth knows the proper course of action is to promptly behead her husband (and then burn the corpse, just to be safe). But when she learns of a miracle antidote under development in London, she realizes there may be one last chance to save her true love—and for everyone to live happily ever after.

OK. Why do I question the bit about this being the last book in the trilogy??? Cuz…this is a zombie book, and the franchise will always be undead.

OMG! The cover of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After has eaten the cover of Emma and Knightley, by Rachel Billington (2008)! Zombies are now cannibalizing sequel covers too!

Further reading

© Austenprose (2010)

Dawn of the Dreadfuls, by Steve Hockensmith – A Janeite Review

If you have not heard about the book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, you must be from another planet. The break-out best seller of 2009 (and soon to be major motion picture staring Natalie Portman) took the publishing industry quite unawares making its co-author Seth Grahame-Smith a hot property, oodles of publicity for its publisher Quirk Books and mega moola for all involved. Who’da thought combining Jane Austen’s genteel Regency-era novel and bone-crunching zombie mayhem would create the literary mash-up genre and spawn a plethora of knock-offs using Austen novels and other classic authors in an attempt to cash in on the craze. I will admit the original novel was fresh and funny but the publicity it received was way out of proportion to its merits. Now its prequel Dawn of the Dreadfuls has risen from its grave placing the story four years before we first met Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy and the maraudring horde of unmentionables invading Meryton, Hertfordshire. Well — of course we need to know how the plague began and why the Bennet sisters are trained ninja warriors battling the sorry stricken. *Ahem*

While attending the funeral of a neighbor, Mr. Oscar Bennet, his wife and five young daughters witness the corpse return from the dead and attempt to attack the congregation. The unmentionables have returned after being vanquished for several years and Mr. Bennet a former ninja zombie slayer must train his daughters in the deadly arts to defend themselves and exterminate the scourge of sorry stricken who are among them again. He immediately sets about training his daughters who resist at first and flounder about with weapons and mild battle cries: ““Haaiieee!” said Jane. “Hiiyaaa!” said Mary. “Hooyaah!” said Kitty. “La!” said Lydia.” Shortly after a Master ninja warrior arrives to take over and all the girls are smitten with the young and handsome Jeffery Hawksworth. Lizzy has the most potential, but gradually they all learn and begin hunting in the neighborhood for the zed word (young ladies do not say zombies in polite society), meet others who have come to Meryton to engage the enemy, are ostracized by the community because young ladies do not kill unmentionables, kiss a deer, have romantic feelings for some of the young gentleman, and fight an epic battle. Along the way we are dished out a hefty dose of campy comedy, discover how dreadfuls sprout from the grave and witness enough rotten flesh, goo, gore and killing to appease any thirteen year old boy who hates to read. La!

The plot is “stoopid” but it is meant to be. This is a zombie book with Jane Austen characters in it, not a Jane Austen novel with zombies mashed into it as we previously experienced in P&P&Z. (no defense implied) On the upside, Hockensmith does get many of Austen’s character traits correct: Mrs. Bennet wines, wails and waves her lace hankie, Jane Bennet is beautiful and biddable, Mary is blossoming into an inspid moralizer, Kitty coughs and follows Lydia’s lead, and Lydia is the most precocious eleven year old going on twenty five that you could ever wish to meet. Our heroine in the making Elizabeth is spirited, intelligent and as fierce with her tongue as she is with her weapons. We do get more back story on why Mr. Bennet takes action and converts his daughters from genteel young ladies into ninja warriors. His character is the most altered from Austen’s original negligent father who lives in his library in order to tolerate his harpy wife and that was a challenge for me, among other things.

The new characters add animation (in the cartoonish sense) to the narrative and are all caricatures atypical in a wacky Monte Python skit: Lord Lumpley the lascivious aristocrat who lusts after beautiful Jane Bennet, the mutton chopped Capt Cannon who has survived multiple amputations from battling unmentionables and must be transported about in a wheelbarrow assisted by his aids who act as his limbs, Dr. Bertram Keckilpenny the eccentric doctor/Sherlock Holmes who wants to study zombies so he can cure the “unmentionable plague”,  the handsome ninja Master Jeffrey Hawksworth who teaches the Bennet girls the deadly arts and falls for his best student Elizabeth, dashing Lieutenant Tindall who ignites Lydia and Kitty’s passions for officers in red uniforms and many more. (unfortunately no lumberjacks) The downside, it is all pretty predictable fare. However, I will commend Hockensmith on his skilled wordsmanship and cleverly crafted prose. He has captured the flavor of Austen’s novel with Regency-era words and phrases that are not too dense and intimidating for his target audience who complained that P&P&Z had too much Austen in it, and he has certainly squelched their objections to not having enough zombie action. I found that reading this novel made my head hurt after an accident so I listened to an audiobook recording read by Katherine Kellgren which made it much more palatable — except for the girls shrieking warrior cries which blew off my mob cap, startled my cats and interrupted my knitting. If movie producers like P&P&Z, they will love the easily adapted plot of DOTD into animated movie.

Did I like it you ask? Well, sort of. As previously highlighted the author is an accomplished writer who gave it his all. Some of the inside P&P humor made me chortle. If you love zombie grossness, than I recommend it highly. If you love Jane Austen, “I am afraid that the pleasantness of an employment does not always evince its propriety.”

3 out of 5 Regency Stars

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls, by Steve Hockensmith
Quirk Books, Philadelphia (2010)
Trade Paperback (287) pages
ISBN: 9781594744549

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A Bookselling Moment with Dawn of the Dreadfuls, or a Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Emergency Room

Happy Easter everyone. I received my Easter egg a day early. It is sitting on top of my head and is not the chocolate variety. Add to that a nice shiner and I feel quite the proper street ruffian.

I joke about my enthusiasm to sell Jane Austen to the masses at my job at Barnes & Noble, but I never thought it would be extended to such lengths, nor be quite so dangerous. In the midst of a busy pre-holiday Saturday rush, a heavy roll-up window blind and metal fascia board decided to take a “spring break” when summoned to descend from its usual abode above a large window and landed on my head with a big crash. Ouch. My kind and cautious manager Cate called the EMT squad who promptly arrived to assess my war wounds. Off to the emergency room I would go, but not without my purse and more importantly my current book to be reviewed on my blog next week.

A funny thing happened on the way to the emergency room. The EMT guy Dwayne was quite a chatterbox and proceeded to tell me everything he and his family have read or are presently reading and pumped me for new book suggestions!!! Ever the diligent book seller, I figured I was still on the company time clock and should sell books even while laid out on a stretcher on the way to the emergency room. He asked me what I was reading. I hesitated, and then asked him if he knew about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? YES! He was a zombie fan and his wife loved that P&P miniseries with Mr. Darcy jumping into a lake. (I secretly smile. Jane is indeed everywhere. Even in an ambulance!) As my head is pounding I tell him I am reading Dawn of the Dreadfuls, the prequel to P&P&Z. He gets all excited and wants the rundown on the zombie books. Oh Lord! I was not quite up to my usual enthusiastic Austen car salesman self and told him I would be happy to offer book suggestions and the scoop on the P&P zombie craze if he wanted to visit me at the store next week. Who’da thought?

We arrive at the hospital and they wheel me into the emergency room. On the way to my room, which took some expert driving through the narrow corridors, we rounded a tight corner and my purse tipped over spilling Dawn of Dreadfuls onto the floor. The nurse picks it up and asks, “Oh! Isn’t this that Austen zombie book?” I nod in amazement. When the doctor finally arrived I was certain that his questions would be: where does it hurt, is your vision blurry and which Austen character do you think is most deserving of being eaten by a zombie?

Never a dull moment in the Austen book selling trenches.

Dawn of the Dreadfuls – Prequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Rises from the Grave

Dawn of the Dreadfuls (2010)Quirk Books, the literary monster mash-up mogul who brought us Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monster has announced that its third book for Quirk Classics will be Dawn of the Dreadfuls, a prequel to its New York Times bestseller Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  Here is the publisher’s description: 

In this terrifying and hilarious prequel, we witness the genesis of the zombie plague in early-nineteenth century England. We watch Elizabeth Bennet evolve from a naïve young teenager into a savage slayer of the undead. We laugh as she begins her first clumsy training with nunchucks and katana swords and cry when her first blush with romance goes tragically awry. Written by acclaimed novelist (and Edgar Award nominee) Steve Hockensmith, Dawn of the Dreadfuls invites Austen fans to step back into Regency England, Land of the Undead! 

Surprisingly, co-authors are listed as Jane Austen and Steve Hockensmith even though according to Quirk editor Jason Rekulak Dawn of the Dreadfuls is a “completely original novel inspired by Austen’s characters; — in other words, there’s not a drop of original Austen writing in it.” Obviously, since Jane Austen did not write a prequel to Pride and Prejudice there was no text to mash-up and this new novel needed to be an original story only lifting her characters names. We are, however, perplexed at her inclusion. Other authors have been writing prequels, sequels and retellings of Pride and Prejudice for years, but admittedly, this is the fist time this writer has seen the original author’s name attached with another author’s work.  

In actuality, the lack of Jane Austen’s text is a win-win situation for both Austen and zombie fans who each had qualms about their peas touching their potatoes on the plate. Now only Austen’s name is being exploited and not her words. 

Dawn on the Dreadfuls goes on sale in the US on the 24th of March, 2010. I liked P&P&Z, but this literary mash-up business was pushed way beyond amusing parody with Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and unless this new novel is exceptionally well written, I’ve had enough of others ripping off my favorite author.

Zombies are multiplying: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – The Deluxe Heirloom Edition

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - The Deluxe Heirloom Editon (2009)Gentle Readers: 

More zombies you ask? Yup! 

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into a bookstore, Quirk Books officially announced today a Deluxe Heirloom Edition of its New York Times bestselling Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, now with 30% more zombie action – yes – that’s 30% more bone crunching and brain eating zombies populating Jane Austen’s gently refined prose. 

From our perspective, it appears that zombie fans felt slighted after the text of the first edition only included 15% gore and goo in comparison to 85% classic literature and demanded more gruesome zombie action. To compensate, co-author Seth Grahame-Smith has taken a second crack at it by expanding the story. Let’s hope that none of Austen’s text was whittled out to make room! 

In addition to the expanded zombie mayhem, the Deluxe Heirloom edition includes lots of plush additions which you can read more about it at our co-blog, Jane Austen Today .

The new edition is due out November 1st (just in time for Holiday shopping) and you can pre-order you copy today. Quirk has also invited readers to join its recently launched Quirk Classics Facebook page where on July 15, 2009 at midnight, it will be announcing the next monster lit mash-up in the Quirk Classics series. Oh dear! Who’s next? Charlotte Bronte? Shakespeare? Charles Dickens? We are all anticipation! 

Charlotte Lucas married Mr Collins in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Deluxe Ed (2009)

One of 13 new illustrations in the new and improved Deluxe Heirloom edition of Pride and Prejuice and Zombies. Charlotte Lucas marries Mr. Collins. She would have to be a zombie to agree to that!

Catch up on the zombie bedlam by reading our review of P&P&Z. We thought it a great high concept parody, but purist Austen fans are forewarned!

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: (Jane Austen Ate Our Brain Long Ago) – A Review

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, by Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith (2009)We’ll confess all right up front. We don’t quite understand what the fuss is over Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Jane Austen ate our brain long ago and we have been an Austen zombie ever since, attentively working away for 200 years for her cause in pursuit of more brains to initiate into the holy sect of The Gentle Reprove and Witty Banter Society. Our diligence has paid off. Pride and Prejudice is the most popular book in print short of the bible, she is the darling of scholars and Hollywood, Internet websites and blogs herald her charms, and even other authors flatter her by attempting to emulate her style. The assimilation plan has been successful. It was never a hard sell. Quality rarely is. 

We were mildly amused when the frenzy erupted in the media after the news of the publication of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was announced. Some social climbing author out in Hollywood had hitched his wagon to her star lifting 85% of her text and mixing in bone-crunching zombie mayhem into her genteel story. *Yawn* He claims he has transformed “a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read.” Oh really? Given that Pride and Prejudice has more editions in print than any other novel, it appears that several people have wanted to read a masterpiece of world literature since its first publication in 1813. We shall see if author Seth Grahame-Smith will need to retract that statement, or throw down the gauntlet and meet us at dawn with swords. 

And so Gentle Readers take heed. A mysterious plague has befallen Regency England killing the living and reviving them back to life as the undead who must feed on the living to survive. The conflict in town is fierce, spreading to the countryside and into the village of Meryton where Elizabeth Bennet and her family reside nearby at Longbourn. Mr. Bennet extricated from his library has dedicated himself instead to training his five daughters from an early age in the deadly arts, traveling with them to China to attend Ninja finishing school with a Shaolin Master. His business in life was to keep them alive. The business of Mrs. Bennet’s was to get them married. When Netherfield Park is let at last, Mrs. Bennet is hopeful that the new resident Mr. Bingley and his friends might marry one or another of her daughters. When Meryton society finally meets Mr. Bingley, they agree that he is was good-looking and gentlemanlike, but his fine friend Mr. Darcy with his noble mien gave immediate disgust even though he was reputed to have slaughtered more than a thousand unmentionables since the fall of Cambridge. After he slights Elizabeth, claiming her to be only tolerable and not handsome enough to temp him to dance, the warrior code in her demands she avenge her honour and open his throat with her dagger. Her warrior duty delays her instincts as the dance is suddenly invaded by a maraudring horde of unmentionables who break through the windows, attack the guests, and devour the head of Mrs. Long. Elizabeth and her four sisters rip out their razor-sharp daggers and make short work of beheading all the sorry stricken. Darcy watches in wonder, knowing of only one other woman in England who could match her accomplishments. The spark has been ignited. The love zombie story begins. 

It is now “a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” (Usurper! That is our campaign slogan. I guess we should ™ trade mark it.) We continue along in this manner following Jane Austen’s plot interjected with Grahame-Smith’s fanciful parody of zombie bedlam. It appears that anyone who is not a ninja warrior is a target for zombie destruction, so if there is a character from the original plot ripe for reproach, then it is sure to happen. Brains and vomit seem to go hand and hand. We see Elizabeth Bennet as the defender of Longbourn and the Heroine of Hertfordshire battle zombies, spar with Mr. Darcy and literally kick ass in an ultimate ninja throw down with the officious Lady Catherine de Bourgh. If the concept of Jane Austen’s refined country gentry and gory zombie destruction are in conflict, think again. Like the warrior Bennet sisters who have refined their deadly skills into an art of precision and style, Grahame-Smith knows his zombie lore, skillfully incorporating a genre wholly at odds to the context of Jane Austen’s elegantly refined prose, yet working within its strengths to achieve his goal to have fun with a literary classic, and well, lets face it, make money. Given the fervent response by the public and the media to the book’s announcement last January, we are not surprised that there is a bidding war underway with major movie studios for film rights. Even though this high concept parody is amusing in print, we doubt very much if it will be buffo box office. Given the passions of thirteen year-old boys for gore and goo, we may stand to be corrected.   

So who will like this book? Certainly not the Austen purist without a sense of humor. They will not even get past the gruesome cover. Not zombie fans, who will be annoyed having to trudge through a masterpiece of world literature to get to the scant zombie action. So that leaves the rest of us. Those loyal and devoted members of The Gentle Reprove and Witty Banter Society who, like Jane Austen, enjoy a good campy and gory Gothic novel, recognize tongue-in-cheek humor, and have been happily doing so for over 200 hundred years. 

Laurel Ann 

4 out of 5 Regency Stars 

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Quirk Books, Philadelphia, PA (2009)
Trade paperback (319) pages
ISBN: 9781594743344

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(Jane Austen ate our brain ® is a registered catch phrase by Margaret C. Sullivan)

Austen Book Sleuth: New Books in the Queue for April

Jane's Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World, by Claire Harman (2009)The Jane Austen book sleuth is happy to inform Janeites that many Austen inspired books are heading our way in April, so keep your eyes open for these new titles. 

Nonfiction 

Jane’s Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World, by Claire Harman 

This highly anticipated cultural biography of Jane Austen’s rise to fame and admiration by the masses has already raised an academic kerfuffle before it has even hit book stores. *ahem* It is on the top of my to be read pile, and I can not wait to dive in. Publisher’s description: This is a story of personal struggle, family intrigue, accident, advocacy and sometimes surprising neglect as well as a history of changing public tastes and critical practices. Starting with Austen’s own experience as a beginning author (and addressing her difficulties getting published and her determination to succeed), Harman unfolds the history of how her estate was handled by her brother, sister, nieces and nephews, and goes on to explore the eruption of public interest in Austen in the last two decades of the nineteenth century, the making of her into a classic English author in the twentieth century, the critical wars that erupted as a result and, lastly, her powerful influence on contemporary phenomena such as chick-lit, romantic comedy, the heritage industry and film. Part biography and part cultural history, this book does not just tell a fascinating story – it is essential reading for anyone interested in Austen’s life, works and remarkably potent fame. Here is my previous preview post about it. 

Canongate Books Ltd, Hardcover, ISBN: 978-1847672940 

Literature and Dance in Nineteenth-Century Britain: Jane Austen to the New Woman (Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture), by Cheryl A. Wilson (2009)Literature and Dance in Nineteenth-Century Britain: Jane Austen to the New Womanby Cheryl A. Wilson 

We all know that Henry Tilney considers “a country-dance as an emblem of marriage. Fidelity and complaisance are the principal duties of both; and those men who do not choose to dance or marry themselves, have no business with the partners or wives of their neighbours.” Enuff said. Jane Austen loved dancing herself and included many scenes in her novels with characters engaged in this important social communion. If one understands the dance and its significance in 18th and 19th century society, then you are in a fair way to understanding love. From the publishers website: Literary critics often pursue analyses of music or painting and literature as ‘sister arts’, yet this is the first full-length study of the treatment of social dance in literature. A vital part of social life and courtship with its own symbolism, dance in the nineteenth century was a natural point of interest for novelists writing about these topics; and indeed ballroom scenes could themselves be used to further courtship narratives or illustrate other significant encounters. Including analyses of works by Jane Austen, W. M. Thackeray, George Eliot, and Anthony Trollope, as well as extensive material from nineteenth-century dance manuals, Cheryl A. Wilson shows how dance provided a vehicle through which writers could convey social commentary and cultural critique on issues such as gender, social mobility, and nationalism. 

Cambridge University Press, Hardcover, ISBN: 978-0521519090 

Jane Austen: An Unrequited Love, by Dr. Andrew Norman (2009)Jane Austen: An Unrequited Love, by Dr. Andrew Norman 

Well, this shall certainly raise a few eyebrows! Dr. Andrew Norman has conducted a bit of Austen romance sleuthing. Touted as “The first book to reveal the identity of the mystery lover Jane Austen met in Devon in 1802,” we have read an excerpt that did not reveal who it is, but it looked promising, at least in the light of a good mystery. From the publishers website: Jane Austen is regarded as one of the greatest novelists in the English literary canon, and recent film and television adaptations of her works have brought them to a new audience almost two hundred years after her untimely death. Yet much remains unknown about her life, and there is considerable interest in the romantic history of the creator of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. Andrew Norman here presents a new account of her life, breaking new ground by proposing that she and her sister, Cassandra, fell out over a young clergyman, who he identities for the first time. He also suggests that, along with the Addison’s Disease that killed her, Jane Austen suffered from TB. Written by a consummate biographer, Jane Austen: an Unrequited Love is a must-read for all lovers of the author and her works. 

Hardcover, The History Press, ISBN: 978-0752448749 

Jane Austen’s Narrative Techniques: A Stylistic and Pragmatic Analysis, by Massimiliano Morini 

It is a truth universally acknowledge that Jane Austen can put a sentence together like no other, so if you are curious how she does it so eloquently, you might enjoy this scholarly treatise that delves into the linguistic and narrative techniques of her style. For serious scholars, we are quite certain that linguistics Prof Henry Higgins Churchyard, creator of the Jane Austen Information Page will be enthralled. From the publishers website: Examining a wide range of Austen texts, from her unpublished works through masterpieces like Mansfield Park and Emma, Morini discusses familiar Austen themes, using linguistic means to shed fresh light on the question of point of view in Austen and on Austen’s much-admired brilliance in creating lively and plausible dialogue. Accessibly written and informed by the latest work in linguistic and literary studies, Jane Austen’s Narrative Techniques offers Austen specialists a new avenue for understanding her narrative techniques and serves as a case study for scholars and students of pragmatics and applied linguistics. 

Ashgate Publishing, Hardcover, ISBN: 978-0754666073 

Fiction (prequels, sequels, retellings, variations, or Regency inspired) 

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, by Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith (2009)Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, by Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith 

The Internet frenzy that the announcement of this novel created may have been a huge surprise to us all, including its author and publisher, but it has caught the imagination of the public, who must be hungry for this kind of fare. Get ready to experience Pride and Prejudice as you have never read it before, resplendent with bone crunching zombie mayhem and ninja warriors. Oh dear. We all know that Elizabeth Bennet does not mind a bit of mud on her petticoat, but blood and brain matter might be a bit too much for propriety to bear.  Read my previous preview post here. Publisher’s description: 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, this insanely funny expanded edition will introduce Jane Austen’s classic novel to new legions of fans. 

Quirk Books, Trade paperback, ISBN: 978-1594743344 

Pemberley Manor: Darcy and Elizabeth, for better or for worse, by Kathryn L. Nelson (2009)Pemberley Manor: Darcy and Elizabeth, for better or for worse, by Kathryn L. Nelson 

In this new continuation of Pride and Prejudice after the nuptials, we are given an intimate view of Darcy and Lizzy as newlyweds at Pemberley, and a haunting discovery of skeletons in the closet. Read my review here. Publisher’s description: How does “happily ever after” really work? As marriage brings an end to a romantic tale, it begins a new story: how does “happily ever after” really work? While Jane Bennet and Charles Bingley might be expected to get on famously, Mr. and Mrs. Darcy will surely need to work on their communication skills. What forces in Darcy’s past would give such a good man so difficult a public demeanor? The author posits an imaginative family background for Darcy from which he would have inherited his sense of social superiority and duty to the family name. When Darcy reverts to type, will Elizabeth’s stubborn optimism win the day after the honeymoon is over? While they say that opposites attract, how long can Lizzy and Darcy’s fundamentally different personalities get along without friction? Can they learn to understand each other? Can their love prevail over the inevitable clashes? 

Sourcebooks Landmark, Trade paperback, ISBN: 978-1402218521 

The Nonesuch, by Georgette Heyer (2009)The Nonesuch, by Georgette Heyer 

Sourcebooks continues on their quest to re-issue all of Georgette Heyer’s beloved novels with one of her better known Regency era romances. This engaging story presents finding love at any age as we are introduced to the mature Sir Waldo Hawkridge, whose reputation as a ‘Nonesuch’ precedes him. When an inheritance includes a property in Yorkshire, he travels there and meets Tiffany Wield, a spoiled and selfish heiress and her far more appealing older companion, Ancilla Trent. Along for the ride in this Regency era comedy of manners is Sir Waldo’s young cousin, Lord Lindeth, who is a bit of neighborhood Casanova, falling in and out of love on a whim. When Miss Wield’s bad behavior culminates in a flight to London, Miss Trent entreats Sir Waldo’s help to retrieve her wayward charge before her reputation is ruined. He in turn must convince her that it is not above her station as a governess to fall in love with him. 

Sourcebooks, Casablanca, Trade paperback, ISBN: 978-1402217708   

Cotillion (Popular Classics) Naxos Audio Book, By Georgette Heyer (2009)Cotillion (Popular Classics) Naxos Audio Book, by Georgette Heyer, read by Claire Willie 

I am so encouraged that Naxos Audiobooks is venturing into Heyerland with their first audio recording of one of Georgette Heyer’s most beloved novels Cotillion, considered one of the greatest Regency romances of all time. Up until this new recording, Heyer audios could only be obtained through sources in England, at astronomical prices. This abridged audio is read by Clare Willie and contains four CD’s. Hopefully, if it sells well, they will in future bring us additional unabridged versions. Publisher’s description: Young Kitty Charing stands to inherit a vast fortune from her irascible great-uncle Matthew–provided she marries one of her cousins. Kitty is not wholly adverse to the plan, if the right nephew proposes. Unfortunately, Kitty has set her heart on Jack Westruther, a confirmed rake, who seems to have no inclination to marry her anytime soon. In an effort to make Jack jealous, and to see a little more of the world than her isolated life on her great-uncle’s estate has afforded her, Kitty devises a plan. She convinces yet another of her cousins, the honorable Freddy Standen, to pretend to be engaged to her. Her plan would bring her to London on a visit to Freddy’s family and (hopefully) render the elusive Mr. Westruther madly jealous. Thus begins Cotillion, arguably the funniest, most charming of Georgette Heyer’s many delightful Regency romances. 

Naxos Audiobooks, Abridged audio CD’s, ISBN: 978-9626348970 

Austen’s Oeuvre 

Pride and Prejudice (Naxos Young Adult Classics), by Jane Austen, read by Jenny Agutter (2009)Pride and Prejudice (Naxos Young Adult Classics), by Jane Austen, read by Jenny Agutter 

This abridged audio recording of Pride and Prejudice read by English actress Jenny Agutter also includes impressive selection of extras as a great introduction to young students. Publisher’s description: “Pride and Prejudice” is a key title for the new Naxos AudioBooks series “Young Adult Classics”. An abridged recording with music makes this Regency novel much more accessible to the 21st century young adult keen to get to grips with the classics. “Pride and Prejudice” is a leading title for “Young Adult Classics”, being one of the pillars of English Literature, and Jenny Agutter’s friendly reading bridges the gap between the films and the book. This edition includes a bonus CD-ROM which contains the abridged and unabridged texts, and Top Teacher’s Notes by high profile English teacher Francis Gilbert. 

Naxos Audiobooks, Audio CD’s, ISBN: 978-9626349571 

Austen’s Contemporaries  

Samuel Johnson: The Major Works (Oxford World's Classics) (2009)Samuel Johnson: The Major Works (Oxford World’s Classics) 

Some scholars believe that Samuel Johnson, above all other writers, had the greatest influence on Jane Austen’s writing. Her family declared in later biographies that Johnson was her “favourite author in prose.” This extensive collection of his works tops out at a whopping 880 pages, so if you are inspired to know who influenced Austen the most, I would say it is a must read. Publisher’s description: Samuel Johnson’s literary reputation rests on such a varied output that he defies easy description: poet, critic, lexicographer, travel writer, essayist, editor, and, thanks to his good friend Boswell, the subject of one of the most famous English biographies. This volume celebrates Johnson’s astonishing talent by selecting widely across the full range of his work. It includes “London” and “The Vanity of Human Wishes” among other poems, and many of his essays for the Rambler and Idler. The prefaces to his edition of Shakespeare and his famous Dictionary, together with samples from the texts, are given, as well as selections from A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland, the Lives of the Poets, and Rasselas in its entirety. There is also a substantial representation of lesser-known prose, and of his poetry, letters, and journals. 

Oxford University Press, Trade paperback, ISBN: 978-0199538331 

Mary and The Wrongs of Woman (Oxford Worlds Classics), by Mary Wollstonecraft (2009)Mary and The Wrongs of Woman (Oxford Worlds Classics) , by Mary Wollstonecraft 

Even though Jane Austen and Mary Wollstonecraft were contemporaries, we have no evidence (that I am aware of) from her letters or family memoirs that she read her works. Scholars like to think she did. I find this a bit amusing. What they do share in common is the belief that women are equal to men in many ways. This edition could shed some light of the possibility of Austen’s subliminal feminist thinking by her characters. Publisher’s description: Mary Wollstonecraft is best known for her pioneering views on the rights of women to share equal rights and opportunities with men. They are expressed here in two novels in which heroines have to rely on their own resources to establish their independence and intellectual development. Strongly autobiographical, both novels powerfully complement Wollstonecraft’s non-fictional writing, inspired by the French Revolution and the social upheavals that followed. New to this edition is a completely rewritten introduction that incorporates the latest scholarship and features a consideration of the social formation of Wollstonecraft as a Revolutionary feminist and her literary-political career, as well as a critical account of the two novels. A new bibliography includes all the latest critical writing on Wollstonecraft, while heavily revised notes link her fiction to her extensive reading, her other writings and major events and issues of the day. In addition, the text has been completely reset, making it easier on the eyes. It is by far the highest quality edition available, and a great choice for readers interested in pre-Victorian literature and feminist history. 

Oxford University Press, Trade paperback, ISBN: 978-0199538904 

Austen Ephemera & Fun 

So You Think You Know Jane Austen?: A Literary Quizbook (Oxford Worlds Classics), by John Sutherland & Deirdre Le Faye (2009)So You Think You Know Jane Austen?: A Literary Quizbook (Oxford Worlds Classics), by John Sutherland & Deirdre Le Faye 

In this fun and challenging re-issue of the ultimate Jane Austen quiz, Austen authorities Le Faye and Sutherland challenge your Austen knowledge with engaging questions on her life and works brimming facts and trivia. Publisher’s description: How well do you really know your favorite author? In this reissue of the 2005 edition, ace literary detective turned quizmaster John Sutherland and Austen buff Deirdre Le Faye challenge you to find out. Starting with easy, factual questions that test how well you remember a novel and its characters, the quiz progresses to a level of greater difficulty, demanding close reading and interpretative deduction. What really motivates the characters, and what is going on beneath the surface of the story? Designed to amuse and divert, the questions and answers take the reader on an imaginative journey into the world of Jane Austen, where hypothesis and speculation produce fascinating and unexpected insights. The questions are ingenious and fun, and the answers (located in the back of the book), in Sutherland’s inimitable style, are fascinating. Completing the book guarantees a hugely improved knowledge and appreciation of Austen. Whether you are an expert or enthusiast, So You Think You Know Jane Austen? guarantees you will know her much better after reading it. 

Oxford University Press, Trade paperback, 978-0199538997 

Until next month, happy reading! 

Laurel Ann

Austen Tattler: News and Gossip around the Blogosphere

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“All that she wants is gossip, and she only likes me now because I supply it.” Marianne Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 31

Jane Austen around the blogosphere for the week of February 1st

Hot News of the week

Definitely the upcoming release of the book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies which was taken the Internet by deathly storm prompting the publisher Quirk Books to move up the release date. You can read my first thoughts about it at Jane Austen Today, this week on the reaction, and the controversy regarding the author’s attitude toward Janeites at AustenBlog.

Noteworthy

Jane Austen in the City of Bath, England is a lovely article with beautiful photos at Quillcards Blog

Get ready for Valentine’s Day with snarky Austen themed valentines at Elegant Extracts Blog.

Sense and Sensibility (2008) is being rebroadcast on Masterpiece Classic on Sundays Feb 1st & 8th. You can catch up on the first episode by reading the synopsis of episode one at the Masterpiece offical site and read reviews at Jane Austen’s World and here at Austenprose. Tune in to PBS this Sunday for the conclusion.

The Excessively Diverting Blog Award recognizes seven writers of note on the Internet presented by the Jane Austen Today blogging team.

Over at Risky Regencies indulge in a little escapsism with Highwayman of the High Seas: The Romance of the Smugler by Julia Justiss. Everyone loves a naughty pirate, yo ho!

Of Books and Bicycles is reading Claire Tomalin’s biography Jane Austen: A Life and has some interesting thoughts on her insights.

Arti at Ripple Effects asks which Austen Heroine was Jane herself most like?

Entertainment

The Black Moth is available from GirleBooks for free. Ms Place (Vic) at Jane Austen Today and Jane Austen’s World is an ardent Heyer fan and tells us that this is one of Heyer’s first novels, and now ready for you to download and read for free from GirleBooks.

The roundup of upcoming Austen inspired books for February is available for your persual here at Austenprose

The DVD of Lost in Austen will be available for purchase in North America on April 14th.

British actress Ruby Bentall is truly an up and commer. I have recieved more hits on her name in the past month than any other Austen actress. More than Gwenyth or Kiera or Kate. No lie! You can read about her at my post Ruby Bentall – A Most Memorable Mary Bennet at Jane Austen Today.

Book Reviews

Until next week, happy Jane sighting.

Laurel Ann

Zombies and Vampires and Jane Austen, Oh My! Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is Haute!

Pride Prejudice and Zombies, by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith (2009)“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