By Scott Meslow
It is a truth universally acknowledged that an obsessive Jane Austen fan in possession of a Macbook must eventually write their own version of Pride and Prejudice. So 200 years to the day after Austen first published the classic novel, let's take a look at the pervasive trend of "Pride and Prejudice variation" — a name for any story that takes Austen's original novel and mashes it up with the author's own work. Over the years, the lure of Pride & Prejudice has been powerful, attracting noted authors (P.D. James, who released the sequel Death Comes to Pemberly in 2011) and spawning the occasional literary sensation (2009's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which became an unlikely bestseller and earned two sequels of its own). But for every re-imagining of Pride and Prejudice that manages to break into the mainstream, there are dozens of oddities lurking in obscurity. Here, 7 bizarre literary re-imaginings of Pride and Prejudice.
1. Vampire Darcy's Desire: A Pride and Prejudice Adaptation
Twilight novel came out, we saw the release of not one, but two books that rewrite Pride and Prejudice to make Mr. Darcy a vampire. (Vampire Darcy's Desire is not to be confused with Amanda Grange's Mr. Darcy, Vampyre.) "Tormented by a 200-year-old curse and his fate as a half-human/half-vampire dhampir, Mr. Darcy vows to live forever alone rather than inflict the horrors of life as a vampire on an innocent wife," says the book's plot description. "As a man, Darcy yearns for Elizabeth, but as a vampire, he is also driven to possess her. Uncontrollably drawn to each other, they are forced to confront a 'pride and prejudice' never before imagined — while wrestling with the seductive power of forbidden love."
2. Pride, Prejudice, and Curling Rocks
Do you love Jane Austen, but wish she had written more about curling? Congratulations! You're the incredibly narrow target audience for Andrea Marie Brokaw's modern re-imagining of Pride and Prejudice, in which the teenaged Darcy Bennet crosses brooms with the infuriating (but handsome!) Lucas Fitzwilliam as she pursues her dream of being an Olympic curler.
3. Mrs. Darcy versus the Aliens
"The truth is out there, though it is not universally acknowledged," says the tagline for Jonathan Pinnock's Pride and Prejudice sequel Mrs. Darcy versus the Aliens, which submits that Elizabeth Darcy (nee Bennet) spent the years following her marriage attempting to rescue her sister Lydia — and, by extension, the rest of regency England — from an alien invasion. "Most unexpected," says a stoically polite representative from the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England.
4. Pride and Prejudice with a Side of Grits: A Southern-fried Version of Jane Austen's classic
This re-imagining trades the stuffy British colloquialisms of Jane Austen's comedy of manners for what author Mary Calhoun Brown describes as "the dialect of the American South." The "Southern-fried" version of the original novel's famous opening line: "Jest 'bout everybody 'round here knows that if'n a feller's got two cents to rub together, he's a-lookin' fer a right-nice girl to git hitched to."
5. Pride and Prejudice: The Wild and Wanton Edition
It's safe to say that the literary Mr. Darcy has inspired a bedroom fantasy or two, but the aptly-named Michelle Pillow takes the original novel's subtext and makes it explicit — to say the least — in the "wild and wanton" rewrite of Pride & Prejudice. "From first kiss to orgasmic finish, this book is every Austen fan's dream come true — the story you love, with the heat turned up to high," promises the book's description.
6. Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star
Author Heather Lynn Ragaud's modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice recasts Darcy as the "tall, dark, and enigmatic virtuoso guitarist" of a band called Slurry, which invites a band called Long Borne Suffering — led by singer Elizabeth Bennet — to join them on their latest tour. "The music's hot, but backstage is an inferno," says the book's description.
7. Pride and Platypus: Mr. Darcy's Dreadful Secret
The synopsis of Vera Nazarian's wonderfully if puzzlingly named Pride and Platypus does not, in fact, include any platypuses — but it does include pretty much everything else. "The powerful, mysterious, handsome, and odious Mr. Darcy announces that Miss Elizabeth Bennet is not good enough to tempt him. The young lady determines to find out his one secret weakness — all the while surviving unwanted proposals, Regency balls, foolish sisters, seductive wolves, matchmaking mothers, malodorous skunks, general lunacy, and the demonic onslaught of the entire wild animal kingdom!" A "delightful illustrated edition" is also available.