Beating a dead horse — or maybe an undead horse

August 19, 2009 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

The New York Times has published this article, commenting on the undead trend yet again, but also speculating on what Jane Austen might think regarding unauthorized sequels of her works. Having stumbled on Mr Darcy, Vampyre, today in Wal-Mart, naturally the subject was at the forefront of my mind.

Here’s my dilemma: Are novels that rework classics to include trendy motifs, like vampires or zombies, better or worse than other unauthorized sequels?

On the one hand, certainly the author of a novel that includes current trends deserves credit for recognizing popular themes and finding a way to incorporate it within a classic work. On the other hand, it still smacks of exploitation of the original author, no matter how versed in popular culture the new writer is. If a novel of this nature is meant to be regarded as fan fiction of a sort, that’s fine…but fan fiction on the Internet and fan fiction that turns a profit is another story.

Then again, maybe that isn’t so different from what Shakespeare did, taking old stories such as Romeo and Juliet and that of the Trojan War and making them current and original — while earning enough to pay his rent.

My own personal jury is still out on this one, so feel free to discuss away in the comments! Perhaps if I get curious enough, I’ll have to read Mr Darcy, Vampyre or one of the other Pride and Prejudice sequels and do a post that includes a side-by-side comparison.  :)

(Also, not like I’m defending Stephanie Meyer or anything…but, um, didn’t she already write this story?)

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Entry filed under: Historical Fiction, Horror, Musings and Essays. Tags: , , , , , .

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