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Saturday, August 29

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Offensive Rip-off or Clever Parody?

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

17 comments:

Bluestocking said...

I loved Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It was ecclectic, but it just worked for me.

Maybe part of the reason it worked well was because the author stayed fairly true to the story line as well as the characters. I thought it was interesting the way the author got both the Regency period as well as Zombies to work.

I personally that the proposal in P & P & Z was fantastic.

I thought it was clever.

Lynn said...

It is neither...it is a "Clever Rip-Off" and money in the bank.
Capitalism is alive and well too, whether we like it or not. Being the snob I am, you know what I think !

Bostan said...

I don't get it. I don't think Austen would have been proud of this work. I wouldn't. She loved her book and i don't think she would be very found of it. Old English society wouldn't accept it either.

Anonymous said...

I didn't buy it, but I looked thru it & the illustrations inside were as grotesque as the cover. Not my cup of tea.

Krysten said...

I didn't buy it, but I looked thru it & the illustrations inside were as grotesque as the cover. Not my cup of tea.

Sorry for the repeat comment, it didn't put my name the 1st time

Ms. Lucy said...

I don't hav this one and I so far..I'm really not interested in reading it. I love the sequels and add ons to Austen's work, but not in this way. Great post!

hmsgofita said...

my vote is clever parody!

Anonymous said...

I bought it because it sounded as if it were going to be really funny. It was not, and I found I could not drag myself through a repeat of Jane's long plot for the faint amusement of what amounts to one joke. In fact, I think I pitched it, which is very rare for me.

Angela said...

What offended me most was in the illustrations the women's clothing was NOT period. Drove me batty and I went into autorant at every illustration.

The book was just okay. There were some high points: 1) "girls 5-point star of death" at the Netherfield ball; 2) Lizzie beating Lady Catherine in a martial arts throwndown although, alas, she spared her life; and 3) Mr. Collins apparently hung himself.

It could have been much funnier and much more clever. The subtitle ("the classic Regency romance - now with ultraviolent zombie mayhem) was just about the funniest piece of writing in the whole parody. The humor just wasn't there. I thought the whole book tried to hard.

thebookaddict said...

I love Jane Austen's books. I don't think they're stuffy at all. Just a great classic read. I also love the horror genre so combining the two seems like an intriguing concept! I have this book, but have not read it yet. I'm looking forward to reading it purely for enjoyment and not to escape the so-called "stuffiness" of Jane.

Stephanie said...

P&P&Z is hilarious, that's why it's such a hit. People like it. I think Jane would like it herself.

Rachel said...

Sadly, I could not read P&P&Zombies. My sister knows I love Jane Austen and she asked if I had read the parody. I just can't do it.

I read the P&P comic book and the illustrations were horrible! Hopefully some other company will do better!!

Bella said...

Oh puh-lease! I've been in love with Jane Austen since I was a teenager. Middle-aged my toosh!

I haven't read P & P & Z but it is on my TBR and as much as I love the original 6 JA novels I do like the sequels and mash-ups too.

mary kathryn said...

Clever Parody!!

I agree with Bluestocking's comments.

I read it for fun (laughed out loud several times). My husband who has never read Austen really enjoyed it. On a recent flight he said he saw 4 other men reading it. Perhaps real men don't read Austen in public, but Austen with zombies.....

Anonymous said...

I burst out laughing so hard at some of her zombie descriptions. And when I tried to read them out loud to my husband, I attempted it with a straight face, but could not continue. The parody was so inventive, and humorous it was worth the coins I spent purchasing the story. Either that, or I had too much estrogen in my system and needed a good excuse to release it with zombie enduced laughter!

Anonymous said...

I mean his zombie description. In my effort to express what I thought about P&P/zombies, I forgot a man wrote the story!!! oops.

Anonymous said...

As a published author myself, Jane Austen - if alive, would've been furious over the rape and pillage of her hard work. Seth Graheme Smith took prime advantage over a dead author's work and re-worked it greedily into his own hands. Not a clever parody at all. I hope that something bad happens to him for what he has done.