Having sold over a million copies, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is still on the New York Times Best Seller List after 21 weeks, coming in the top ten this week at number 9. While we think that this mash-up concept of combining Jane Austen’s genteel novel and bone-crunching zombie bedlam was, well novel, we are *rolling our eyes* in amazement and just wondering why it is such a hit?
New York Times columnist Jennifer Schuessler infers that adding zombies to Austen’s refined prose took the old fuddieness out of the classic quoting author Pamela Redmond Satran’s book How Not to Act Old as proof that us Janeites are over-the-hill in our taste.
“I like Jane Austen as much as the next novel-writing and -reading middle-aged woman,” she writes, but “there’s something a little too order-seeking, rich-man-loving and sanitized (i.e., fussily middle-aged) about the J.A. mania.”
Pleaaase. How marginalizing can you be Ms. Satran? Jane Austen sanitized? J. A. mania middle-aged fussy? Pray, we entreat you to re-read any of her novels. You will find time-honored themes AND eye popping topics such as adultery, illegitimate babies, pre-martial sex and other un-sanitized subjects infused into the subtext. They may not be the main theme as in contemporary novels, but it is there. And, Ms. Schuessler, if you think that we need to “Lay off the Jane” and read monster mash-ups to be hipper, you might want to surf the net and check out a few Austen themed blogs, websites, or message boards. Amazingly, the young can recognize and enjoy a great story, even without zombies in it!
So the question remains gentle young but acting old readers, why do you think that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has remained on the best seller list for 21 weeks? Is it an offensive rip-off or just a clever parody? Who do think is reading this novel, and why do you think it has had such a mass appeal?
Cheers, Laurel Ann, Austenprose