Jane Austen, Risen from the Dead

I’m sure everyone has heard, seen, read about, or anticipated the release (6 days and counting) of Seth Grahame-Smith’s rendition of a “literary classic”. If not, here’s the gist: Mr. Grahame-Smith has taken the great Austen novel, Pride & Prejudice, in it’s entirety and added a key element to the mix to make it a little more his own-namely, zombies.

Now, there seem to be two general schools of thought on the topic:

1) It’s an atrocity and will ruin a timeless and “sacred” piece of work.

2) It’s the best idea since mini-donuts.

(And here’s my shout-out to those who just don’t care, either for lack of trying or utter intolerance for reading as a whole.)

To the first group, don’t you think you’re going a bit far? Think about it. When Austen came out with this thing, it was a novel…not like today’s concept of a novel, which you buy and read on the subway, proudly displaying the cover so those around you know you’re a) literate and b) an intellectual. No, back then, novels were like trashy Harlequin stories: women read them often, and most scorned them openly. Nowadays we see it for what it is-a witty interpretation of society, with a slight-to-shocking degree of haughty judgments, surrounded by a young ladies semi-fantastical concepts of ‘true love’.

So please, relax and just enjoy the fact that someone may get new readers interested in your “classic” again.

For the others, well, I’m biased and technically one of you, BUT this may be taking the Stephanie Meyers piggy-bag craze too far. While I am as into paranormal as anyone else these days (come on, I grew up with Buffy and Angel, not that sap Edward), I’m a bit sick of the purge and binge we’ve been doing with the undead these past few years. And if one more person tells me that werewolves are the next big thing, I’ll stake them myself.

Let me just say this for it: I’m grateful for the people who think outside the box, and also for the people who appreciate the historic and formative works. So will I be in line Wednesday to storm the doors of B&N for this book? No. But, it will be put in my list for anticipated summer reads this year.

So go forth, spread the good word, procreate, and “do it flamboyantly.”-William James


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