Pride and Prejudice... and Zombies

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Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2009 04:35 pm
http://i31.tinypic.com/15qxh8z.jpg
P&P&Z;78869 wrote:
As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton-and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she's soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers-and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead.


And an excerpt from the story itself:

P&P&Z;78869 wrote:
"Come, Darcy," said Mr. Bingley, "I hate to see you standing by yourself in this stupid manner. You had much better dance."

"I certainly shall not. You know how I detest it."

"I would not be as fastidious as you are for a kingdom! I never met with so many pleasant girls in my life as I have this evening; and several of them are uncommonly pretty."

Before Mr. Darcy could respond, a chorus of screams filled the assembly hall, immediately joined by the shattering of window panes. Unmentionables scrambled in, their movements clumsy yet swift; their burial clothing in a range of untidiness.

Guests who had the misfortune of standing near the windows were seized and feasted on at once. Elizabeth watched Mrs. Long struggle to free herself as two female dreadfuls bit into her head, cracking her skull like a walnut, and sending a shower of dark blood spouting as high as the chandeliers.


And here is an actual snippet out of the actual book, complete with super-awesome action illustration scene;
http://i29.tinypic.com/rhr5p0.jpg

Hilarious? Sad? Cool? Somewhere in between? To tell the truth, I don't know where to place it. I consider myself a Jane Austen-o-phile, so in some way I want to lay some claim for the original text as canonical law. It would be like replacing bits and pieces of Machiavelli's The Prince with sections of The Hardy Boys. I know all her books backwards and forwards, so it is extremely interesting to read these excerpts and know exactly where they are in the context of the book. But there is just something so wrong about all of this though. I wonder how Descartes would feel if Meditations were revised to the point where we would see little difference between the new work and Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey. Not Excellent Adventure mind you, just Bogus Journey.

I can understand some of the reasons why this would appeal to the average person today. It is possibly far more entertaining to read about how Elizabeth Bennett overcame the complete zombie infestation of southern England rather than dealing with the inequities of society and the idiosyncrasies of life in a male normative society. Also, let's face it, few have probably read any of Jane Austen's books (maybe a movie or two), so anything that gathers attention to an arguably obscure piece of literature demands praise. Look how The Da Vinci Code revived so much interest in the Catholic Church after it came out.Also, look at how The Matrix drew so many people into realm of philosophy. Maybe a good zombie text is the best thing to revive interest in the Austen collection.

Like I said before, I have genuinely mixed feelings about the whole issue. I like the fact that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies may bring in a whole new generation into the Austen fold. But damned if I like the fact that the book is butchered the way it is. Apparently, 80% of the text remains unaltered. I don't know if I believe that after reading the excerpts, but hey, I guess there may be some attempt to keep the book somewhat unmolested. The rights and due-royalty have been expired for quite some time, so there was nothing stopping the author of P & P & Zombies from doing what he did. But was it the right thing to do?

So what do you think, is it a good idea for classic books like Pride and Prejudice to add a dash of zombies and sex appeal to gather a newer audience?
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2009 04:38 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
I detest Jane Austin with a passion But I love the Evil dead series, so if zombies were to attack a jane austin novel I'd be down.
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2009 05:01 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
VideCorSpoon;78869 wrote:
So what do you think, is it a good idea for classic books like Pride and Prejudice to add a dash of zombies and sex appeal to gather a newer audience?


Sure. Why not? If it gets people reading instead of sitting in a stupor for hours at a time in front of the television, great.

I graduated with a degree in English Lit. and I gotta tell you, I loathed Jane Austin. And Bronte. And George Eliot. Come to think of it, pretty much anything from the Romantic or Victorian periods repulsed me. . . and still does 20 years later. Don't even get me started on the horror I feel when contemplating William Shakespeare.

Bring on the zombies. Romero is God.
 
Holiday20310401
 
Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2009 06:26 pm
@TickTockMan,
Any parody of Austin is fine by me, though I'm sorry to say I would not read it unless I desperately had to.
 
validity
 
Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2009 06:37 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
Even though I voted yes, honestly I will just wait for the youtube version to come out...
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2009 06:42 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
I can't believe that most of you dislike Jane Austen. I'm curious to know why? Is it the Romance part of the books? Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility have been some of my all time favorites. And Ticktockman, don't be dissin' Bronte...well, you can diss Emily Bronte, but Charlotte Bronte is off limits.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Wed 22 Jul, 2009 09:34 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
Why ruin such perfect classics? Would we prefer The Odyssey and Zombies to the original? Or, perhaps if Don Quixote had gone in quest of zombies instead of chasing after windmills and dragons?

Should anyone disparage Charlotte, be forewarned - I'll not rest until I see you thoroughly bruised.
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Thu 23 Jul, 2009 12:03 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;78907 wrote:
Why ruin such perfect classics?


Define "ruin."

My definition would be "Several of my evenings were ruined when I was forced to read The Mill on the Floss as a young English Lit. major.

The Classics . . . proudly turning thousands of new readers away from reading for years.

Didymos Thomas;78907 wrote:
Would we prefer The Odyssey and Zombies to the original?


No need of zombies in The Odyssey. There's an awesome cyclops that eats guys.

---------- Post added 07-23-2009 at 12:09 PM ----------

VideCorSpoon;78891 wrote:
I can't believe that most of you dislike Jane Austen. I'm curious to know why? Is it the Romance part of the books?


Well, that and the fact that I find them soporific beyond description.
But that's just me. Some people seem to enjoy long passages of prose that go on and on forever describing the new tea cozy.
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Thu 23 Jul, 2009 12:28 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
1) Zombies improve everything
2)They push "the classics" onto readers that, mostly due to age, just aren't equipped to appreciate them.
3)At least most teen boys are not ready to get emotionally involved with a too wordy romance. Teen boys aren't known for appreciating character studies.
4) Austen, because of cinema and television, has not marketed itself to men and there is automatic bias to reading the books.
5) I agree with TickTock about most classics, wasted words, superfluous description etc...
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Thu 23 Jul, 2009 12:44 pm
@GoshisDead,
GoshisDead;79030 wrote:
1) Zombies improve everything
2)They push "the classics" onto readers that, mostly due to age, just aren't equipped to appreciate them.
3)At least most teen boys are not ready to get emotionally involved with a too wordy romance. Teen boys aren't known for appreciating character studies.
4) Austen, because of cinema and television, has not marketed itself to men and there is automatic bias to reading the books.
5) I agree with TickTock about most classics, wasted words, superfluous description etc...


If you want to read something that just goes on forever, give Horace Walpole's Castle of Otranto a try. I think the entire 200 or so page novel is one paragraph.
 
manored
 
Reply Thu 23 Jul, 2009 01:23 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
I never read ANY of the books mentioned here =)

But, based on the information about the book given here, I wouldnt read it. Then its about zombies, its funnier to play games with then than to read books about then. Well, thats true for most things, but especially zombies =)

If I had the patience and will to read both the original and the zombified version, I suppose it would be interesting to see how it was turned into a zombie carnage with only 20% of it altered.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Thu 23 Jul, 2009 01:47 pm
@TickTockMan,
TickTockMan;79024 wrote:
Define "ruin."


Take a novel with social relevance and turn it into hack and slash, blood and gore drivel. I've not read the Zombie remake, and although it sounds like a fun read, a truly great book is more than just fun to read.

TickTockMan;79024 wrote:
My definition would be "Several of my evenings were ruined when I was forced to read The Mill on the Floss as a young English Lit. major.


I was speaking of ruining a perfectly good book, not a perfectly good evening.

TickTockMan;79024 wrote:
The Classics . . . proudly turning thousands of new readers away from reading for years.


If you do not enjoy the classics, English lit might not be a great choice for higher education.

Besides, you seem to have enjoyed The Odyssey with it's beats, so my guess is that you appreciate some of the classics.

Don't get me wrong: there are classics that I do not enjoy reading. However, classics typically hold up over time for good reason, not by random chance. If the classics, by and large, turn people away from reading it is probably because the people have suffered under a poor system of education that does not prepare them to read mature material.

TickTockMan;79024 wrote:
No need of zombies in The Odyssey. There's an awesome cyclops that eats guys.


A book can be brilliant and enjoyable without extensive violence. Descartes did not need to inject battle scenes in order to make his work laudable, not to mention countless other authors and particular works which neglected gore. [/COLOR]

As for teen boys and their inability to appreciate Austen - so what? When has ignorance of the critic ever been a slight against the art? Let those boys read more accessible classics; eventually, they will be able to appreciate Austen as well.
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Thu 23 Jul, 2009 03:13 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;79061 wrote:
Take a novel with social relevance and turn it into hack and slash, blood and gore drivel.


Do you find no social relevance in the works of George Romero?

Didymos Thomas;79061 wrote:
a truly great book is more than just fun to read.


Yes, this is true. Upon my tombstone I will have engraved the words, "I Wish I'd Spent More Time Doing Things That Aren't Fun."

Didymos Thomas;79061 wrote:

If you do not enjoy the classics, English lit might not be a great choice for higher education.


Nah . . . it was a great choice for me, despite the dusty tomes of classic/great literature I had to wade through. I graduated 22 years ago with this degree (as well as a minor in Anthropology to go with it) and have wondered what the hell I was thinking ever since.

Didymos Thomas;79061 wrote:
However, classics typically hold up over time for good reason, not by random chance.


Yes, many of them because they are coddled and puffed to lofty heights by academics with leather patches on the elbows of their cardigans who are constantly telling the rest of us how classic they all are.

Didymos Thomas;79061 wrote:
If the classics, by and large, turn people away from reading it is probably because the people have suffered under a poor system of education that does not prepare them to read mature material.


And here you will get no argument from me whatsoever.


Didymos Thomas;79061 wrote:
A book can be brilliant and enjoyable without extensive violence. Descartes did not need to inject battle scenes in order to make his work laudable, not to mention countless other authors and particular works which neglected gore.


True, but the Iliad had some mighty brutal battle scenes.

Didymos Thomas;79061 wrote:

As for teen boys and their inability to appreciate Austen - so what? When has ignorance of the critic ever been a slight against the art? Let those boys read more accessible classics; eventually, they will be able to appreciate Austen as well.


Exactly my original point. If the Zombie-Enhanced Pride and Prejudice gets someone on the reading track, and can show them the beauty of a well-crafted sentence . . . I say bring on the hack n' slash.
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Thu 23 Jul, 2009 03:26 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
Honestly, I am not a huge fan of classic literature. While I am capable of appreciating it, I often find it a bore to read. I prefer more contemporary classics. And this is coming from someone that has no issues reading boring philosophical texts. Jane Austen just is not on my list of to read stuff. With all of the boring work I have to read for my philosophy and classics degree, I need more enjoyment out of my free reading. A zombie enhanced book will not entice me to read it either. I think the idea is rather stupid. Give me a copy of Confederacy of Dunces, Cat's Cradle, Fahrenheit 451, Catcher in the Rye, 1984, or One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and I will take them down quickly, but literature much more than a hundred years old just seems to be too much of a bore to work through for enjoyment.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Thu 23 Jul, 2009 03:39 pm
@TickTockMan,
TickTockMan;79084 wrote:
Do you find no social relevance in the works of George Romero?


Sure, he has done some fine work - but, as far as I know, he did not have a hand in crafting the text in question.

I am not saying that the book is not any good; again, I have not read it. My guess, however, is that the book cannot hold a candle to the original Austen, which is recognized as a masterpiece.

TickTockMan;79084 wrote:
Yes, this is true. Upon my tombstone I will have engraved the words, "I Wish I'd Spent More Time Doing Things That Aren't Fun."


I said "more than just fun" - that is to say, a truly great book should be fun to read (for those who manage to understand the material) as well has having other positive qualities worth praising in a work of art.

For example: I am sure those harlequin romances are fun to read, but if that is all they offer, then they are not great art, only great diversion.

TickTockMan;79084 wrote:
Nah . . . it was a great choice for me, despite the dusty tomes of classic/great literature I had to wade through. I graduated 22 years ago with this degree (as well as a minor in Anthropology to go with it) and have wondered what the hell I was thinking ever since.


Literature was a good choice despite the great literature?

TickTockMan;79084 wrote:
Yes, many of them because they are coddled and puffed to lofty heights by academics with leather patches on the elbows of their cardigans who are constantly telling the rest of us how classic they all are.


And I'm sure you are not going to suggest that people who devote their lives to the study and appreciation of the art are somehow in mass confusion as to what constitutes great literature.

TickTockMan;79084 wrote:
True, but the Iliad had some mighty brutal battle scenes.


There exists a plethora of brilliant works containing violence: my point is that great literature need not contain such violence and that the introduction of such violence into what was in the first place a masterpiece is more likely than not going to degrade the brilliance of the work. If Austen's work needed zombies, she would have included them.

TickTockMan;79084 wrote:
Exactly my original point. If the Zombie-Enhanced Pride and Prejudice gets someone on the reading track, and can show them the beauty of a well-crafted sentence . . . I say bring on the hack n' slash.


And again, I have not read the book.

My point, however (and however vaguely I've made that point Smile), is that the Austen can show people the beauty of a well crafted sentence, and that it is typically better to read classics than Clive Cussler or some similar nonsense. Further, that a well crafted sentence is not even the half of great writing: one must also consider the theme of the literature and the brilliance with which than theme is articulated.

I see no inherent problem in adapting the book to include zombies, but chances are the adaptation is not nearly as well crafted as the original. Don't get me wrong, it's a neat concept, and if I was completely enamored with Austen I might very well give it a read. However, I find my time better spent reading material that contributes to civilization.
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Thu 23 Jul, 2009 04:19 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;79095 wrote:
I am not saying that the book is not any good; again, I have not read it. My guess, however, is that the book cannot hold a candle to the original Austen, which is recognized as a masterpiece.


Personally I don't recognize it as a masterpiece. I recognize that it is considered a masterpiece by many though, in much the same way as some folks consider steak tartare to be a delicacy where I consider it to be a ghastly mess and a waste of perfectly good beef.



Didymos Thomas;79095 wrote:

Literature was a good choice despite the great literature?


Yes. It was an easy degree for me and it allowed me to pursue other interests such as drinking.



Didymos Thomas;79095 wrote:
And I'm sure you are not going to suggest that people who devote their lives to the study and appreciation of the art are somehow in mass confusion as to what constitutes great literature.


Sort of. While confusion is perhaps not the correct word, I do believe there is a certain degree of academic tyranny that comes into play at times.



Didymos Thomas;79095 wrote:
it is typically better to read classics than Clive Cussler or some similar nonsense.


Better? In whose estimation? And better in what way?



Didymos Thomas;79095 wrote:
I find my time better spent reading material that contributes to civilization.


And does this help you to contribute to civilization? And if so, how?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Thu 23 Jul, 2009 04:49 pm
@TickTockMan,
TickTockMan;79105 wrote:
Personally I don't recognize it as a masterpiece. I recognize that it is considered a masterpiece by many though, in much the same way as some folks consider steak tartare to be a delicacy where I consider it to be a ghastly mess and a waste of perfectly good beef.


I think there is a distinction worth making: the difference between personal preference and art, and the overall value of the art. It is one thing for a work to not catch one's particular interests (and to be fair, I am not some devoted Austen fan), but it is quite another thing to criticize a piece merely because it is not one's cup of tea (and I'm not saying that's what you are doing).

Out of curiosity, why do you not recognize Pride and Prejudice as a masterpiece? How does that work compare to works you consider to be masterpieces?

TickTockMan;79105 wrote:
Yes. It was an easy degree for me and it allowed me to pursue other interests such as drinking.


I say this as someone who has spent most of my time in college drunk or working toward drunkenness: but isn't that a waste of a higher education? to pursue a study without having any interest or devotion to the study?

Furthermore, if you prefer drinking and have such a disdain for literature, why even bother involving yourself in a discussion about such a worthless art form? Wouldn't you be better off drinking vodka and watching the latest zombie flick?

TickTockMan;79105 wrote:
Sort of. While confusion is perhaps not the correct word, I do believe there is a certain degree of academic tyranny that comes into play at times.


So, what, professors just love to cause students pain and headache - do they do this out of some sadistic desire, or do you think they might actually have our interests at heart, you know, some wisdom to impart upon students?

TickTockMan;79105 wrote:
Better? In whose estimation? And better in what way?


Better in any reasonable estimation. I've read Cussler, and there is more wisdom, sophistication and intelligence in the first chapter of The Inferno than in all of that man's popular works combined. Hence, the book is a classic.

TickTockMan;79105 wrote:
And does this help you to contribute to civilization? And if so, how?


That's the idea. Literature, and art in general, is the heart of a civilization. Literature is what unites a group of people with shared stories and themes. This has been the subject of discussion for quite some time: while literacy rates increase, people who are literate in the US read less and less - and so people ponder the threat this poses to our western civilization.
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Thu 23 Jul, 2009 05:51 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;79114 wrote:
I think there is a distinction worth making: the difference between personal preference and art, and the overall value of the art. It is one thing for a work to not catch one's particular interests (and to be fair, I am not some devoted Austen fan), but it is quite another thing to criticize a piece merely because it is not one's cup of tea (and I'm not saying that's what you are doing).


Oh, but that is what I'm doing. You're just being civilized by suggesting I'm not. I am criticizing P&P because it is not my cup of tea. My personal preference is what shapes my value judgement. I am not everyones cup of tea, and hence I am often criticized, as is the art/photography I produce on occasion, and which some poor misguided fools have actually paid me for. I'm fine with being criticized, and I am fine criticizing.

Didymos Thomas;79114 wrote:
Out of curiosity, why do you not recognize Pride and Prejudice as a masterpiece? How does that work compare to works you consider to be masterpieces?


To be honest with you, I couldn't even get through P&P all those many years ago (I graduated in '87) so there's really very little validity in my assessments/opinions.

I do however rate Inferno high on my list of masterpieces (not as keen on Purgatorio and Paradiso, however). I think that I was the only student in class that thought that Miss Lonelyhearts was brilliant, and I'm a fan of Beowulf, and an even bigger fan of John Gardner's monster-eye view, Grendel. There are more, but sadly I'm running out of forum time here.

Didymos Thomas;79114 wrote:

I say this as someone who has spent most of my time in college drunk or working toward drunkenness: but isn't that a waste of a higher education? to pursue a study without having any interest or devotion to the study?


Not really. As the Buddhists say: "The path is the goal."

Didymos Thomas;79114 wrote:

Furthermore, if you prefer drinking and have such a disdain for literature, why even bother involving yourself in a discussion about such a worthless art form? Wouldn't you be better off drinking vodka and watching the latest zombie flick?


"Better off" is a relative thing. I never said I have a distain for literature, and I certainly didn't say that it was a worthless art form. I never was one for vodka. Give me a good lager any day. Or night. In truth, these days I'm not the drinker I once was. I enjoy discussions such as this one. I also enjoy kicking anthills.

Didymos Thomas;79114 wrote:
So, what, professors just love to cause students pain and headache - do they do this out of some sadistic desire, or do you think they might actually have our interests at heart, you know, some wisdom to impart upon students?


Yes. The Shakespearean Literature professor I had was evil incarnate. She imparted wisdom with a 12 pound sledge, and the attitude of "you will enjoy Shakespeare with the same mad passion as I, or I will cast aspersions upon your character and screw up your GPA with a big fat D." Which some of us deserved, come to think of it.

Didymos Thomas;79114 wrote:

Better in any reasonable estimation. I've read Cussler, and there is more wisdom, sophistication and intelligence in the first chapter of The Inferno than in all of that man's popular works combined. Hence, the book is a classic.


Comparing Cussler to Dante is like comparing apples to cinderblocks.

Didymos Thomas;79114 wrote:

That's the idea. Literature, and art in general, is the heart of a civilization. Literature is what unites a group of people with shared stories and themes. This has been the subject of discussion for quite some time: while literacy rates increase, people who are literate in the US read less and less - and so people ponder the threat this poses to our western civilization.


That's not what I asked. I asked how reading the classics helps you to contribute to civilization.

Regards,
Tock
 
Baal
 
Reply Thu 23 Jul, 2009 06:21 pm
@TickTockMan,
While I am not a student of the Arts.. I will agree with much of what TickTokMan has stated.. mainly the quasi religious exaltation of works deemed to be classics.

I believe it was Kierkegaard who dedicated about 200 pages describing a classic as inherently being classic, while saying nothing at all except the fact that the author thinks it is a classic. What is deemed to be a masterpiece, classic, etc. is very very subject to the surrounding culture, and just as likely - political ramifications. Texts do not become classics for no reason at all. They become classics because they offer criticism that most are able to stomach while still being able to rebound and either change slightly within the current cultural framework, or give a valid reason not to.

Classics are legacies of the past, legacies of academia, which had the particular luck of striking a particular chord in a particular time, and being noticed by a particular group of people.

It is mainly a self-exalted goal towards which academics (mainly of the arts) strive. Self-exalted simply because art is not permanent, not universal, and always equivocal; the goal of such academics is to pronounce them as unequivocal.. or if this cannot be done -- demonstrate the equivocalities and exalt each of them into some sort of mystical category. However, all these are malleable and thus once a mystical category is created, it exists as if it was part of the literature itself and endures to remain a framework for future generations of academia.

No, I am not criticizing study of Art, but that art *criticism* is lacking in many who receive like a bucket, all the categories and pro/prescriptions of what are 'Masterpieces'
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Thu 23 Jul, 2009 09:01 pm
@TickTockMan,
How often has what was at one time sensationalistic become high art? Often enough, Picasso, Dali, Even Botticelli and Michealangelo. More recently the controversy of the Holy Virgin Mary by Chris Ofili.
Chris Ofili: British Artist Holds Fast to His Inspiration

I'm not saying that this book will be a classic one day or even respected literature, however current trends in art, music, and lit are 1: the mashup see the the grey Album The Grey Album - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia as an example of the mashup and 2: profaning the sacred or sublime as chris Ofili in art, maralyn manson, nine inch nails, lots of other bands. The Ofili collection is now considered legitimate high art.

At one time Jane Austen was pop culture,and in many mainstream circles not well accepted. It is now a classic... someday as a grandparent some of you might be opining for the days of such classics as Numbers of the beast, F the Police or Me Mo Horny. You might be watching classic reality television, and BioDome might be put on the century's 100 most influential movies.
 
 

 
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