Friday, October 16, 2009

Is that a sword Miss Elizabeth is wielding?: Horror-fying Austen

I read Amanda Grange's Mr. Darcy, Vampyre today. This is way more Udolpho than Vampire Darcy's Desire was. Appropriately, it is dedicated to Catherine Morland.

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters awaits.

This is not what I read Austen for. This is more akin to torture.

Why am I doing to myself, forcing my way through this new subset of Austen fan fic? And where did all these monsters come from anyway?

It's not the first time I've encountered the occult in Austen sequels: Carrie Bebris' Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mysteries, which I enjoyed, are full otherworldly occurrences, well beyond the bounds of Jane's "two inches of ivory". But there is definitely something different going on with this monster phenomenon, particularly in these vampire stories, their major similarity being not fangs but sexual frustration (I'm struggling not to spend an enormous amount of time psychoanalyzing that). I admit to enjoying Ms. Jeffers' effort, more so than I did her previous books, but I much preferred Ms. Grange's diaries of the Austen heroes to this new effort, which really does resemblance Ann Radcliff's work more than Austen's. I never did manage to finish Udolpho. It's one of the very few book I've ever abandoned mid-read.

I don't mean to imply that these harrowing takes on Austen aren't readable. Obviously the concept of inserting Zombies into Pride and Prejudice appealed to a great many people. Is it wrong of me to suspect them of being the same people who didn't much care for the tame world of Austen in the first place? Furthermore, is it unfair for me to expect something different from people like Ms. Grange and Ms. Jeffers, who obviously have a deep and passionate love for Austen? I need to take a step back and think.

Ms. Grange is going on a blog tour. Perhaps she'll address some of my questions.

I'm still determined to pick up that copy of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, but I think I first deserve a reprieve from monsters and mayhem. I believe I'll reread Lady Susan - her kind of chaos seems quite palatable right now.


  1. Oooh, I rather disliked the first Bebris mystery - mostly because it was incoherent, not well-written or imaginative enough in its use of its supernaturalism to justify it, and just in rather bad taste all round. Because of that, I didn't go on to the second.

    And Lady Susan is a wonderful idea - I very much enjoy that one - though I am a bit puzzled about why an authoress felt the need to complete it - after all, it was already completed by a much better writer.

  2. I'm not surprised, based on our previous conversation, that Bebris is not to your taste. I certainly understand your objections.

    Please tell me more about this "completed" Lady Susan. It would be interesting to see what was attempted.