Jane Austen fan fiction

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Cover of Old Friends and New Fancies, by Sybil Brinton, considered to be the first work of Austen fan-fiction. (1913)

Jane Austen fan fiction is the collection of numerous sequels and spin-offs produced by authors who have either used the plot of Austen's original novels, or have extended them, to produce new works of fiction.[1] Austen's posthumous popularity has inspired fan fiction that runs the gamut through numerous genres, but the most concentrated medium has remained the novel.[2] According to Pucci and Thompson in their 2003 survey on the contemporary evolution of Jane Austen's work, at the turn of the 20th century (over 150 years after the final publication of her first collected works), over one hundred sequels, rewritings, and continuations of her novels had been published.[3] More recently, a count from a list of published Austen-inspired novels to the end of 2015[4] revealed 1109 books, of which 204 were in e-book format only, with a 2015 publishing rate of 25 books per month.

Pride and Prejudice accounted for the majority of published Austen-inspired books, at 900 total, and all six novels and three minor works are represented in published Jane Austen fan fiction (JAFF). The number of unpublished Austen-inspired stories on various JAFF sites at least doubles that number. They have continued to remain popular well into the 21st century, with modern adaptations reaching as high as third on The New York Times Best Seller List[5] However, opinions remain mixed in regard to the liberties taken by authors when modifying or adding to the existing canon of Austen literature. While audiences have responded well commercially to various novels, critics have argued that transposing new work onto of the frame provided by Austen adulterates the genre.[6][7]

Notable works[edit]

Old Friends and New Fancies: An Imaginary Sequel to the Novels of Jane Austen – by Sybil Brinton (1913)

  • Generally acknowledged to be the first sequel to the work of Jane Austen, Old Friends and New Fancies incorporates characters from each of Austen's six major novels into one unified story, alongside characters of Brinton's own invention. The novel generally focuses on various pairings of lovers and the challenges that their unions create.[8]

Margaret Dashwood, or, Interference (1929) and Susan Price, or, Resolution (1930) – by Edith Charlotte Brown

  • Two of the earliest Jane Austen sequels; of, respectively, Sense and Sensibility and Mansfield Park. Brown was Jane Austen's great-great-niece and had earlier published a completion of Austen's unfinished novel The Watsons. Both sequels received respectable reviews.[9][10]

Pemberley: Or Pride and Prejudice Continued – by Emma Tennant (1993)

  • Set approximately a year after the marriage of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, Pemberley: Or Pride and Prejudice Continued deals with the difficulties Elizabeth is having producing an heir for Mr. Darcy. When she sees Mr. Darcy walking in town with a young boy, she assumes he has had an affair, and decides to flee and become a governess. However, after leaving, she realises she is in fact with child. She eventually finds out that her husband has in fact been faithful to her, and they are reunited.[11]

Mr. Darcy's Daughters – by Elizabeth Aston (2003)

  • Set in 1818, twenty years after the conclusion of Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy's Daughters deals with fleshing out the stories of Mr. Darcy's five daughters during their leave from Pemberley for London while their parents are out of the country. Much of the novel involves the romantic lives and coming of age adventures of the young women, but numerous subplots bring back former characters from Austen's original work, such as the Gardiner family, as well as their mother Elizabeth's rival Caroline Bingley.[12]

More Letters from Pemberley – by Jane Dawkins (2007)

  • Based on Austen's Pride and Prejudice, More Letters from Pemberley is an epistolary novel which narrates the lives of Elizabeth and Jane Bennet, five years after the conclusion of Austen's novel. The two sisters exchange letters, most of which deal with various events occurring in the Darcy family home, such as their first Christmas, the birth of their child, and various challenges that they face in maintaining a happy marriage.[13]

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict – by Laurie Viera Rigler (2007)

  • A young woman named Courtney is transported in her sleep out of her apartment in Los Angeles, and into the body of an English woman in the year 1813. As a ravenous fan of Austen's work in her own life, she quickly assimilates into the world around her. Her love for the romantic ideals of her new-found environment clashes with the reality of everyday life in 19th-century England, stock full of chamber pots and economically driven marriage.[14]

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World' – by Abigail Reynolds (2009)

  • In this variation of Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet is forced to marry Mr. Darcy after they are discovered in a seemingly compromising position when he makes his first proposal to her, and without the chance to learn that her dislike of him was based on lies. She tries to make the best of her situation by behaving in ways she thinks will please Darcy. As his frustration grows over the change in her behaviour, Elizabeth gradually discovers that her new husband is not the ill-tempered man she believed him to be, and is the best husband in the world for her.[15]

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – by Seth Grahame-Smith (2009)

  • A work in which a modern tale of zombie fiction is overlaid on the original story of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. In this alternate universe, zombies have come to inhabit the landscape of Austen's original novel, and provide new wrinkles and twists to the plot, as well as a great deal of comedic relief such as portraying Elizabeth Bennet and her four sisters as masters of martial arts. The novel was well received by readers, and was third on the New York Times Best Seller List.[16]

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters – by Ben H. Winters (2009)

  • In a similar vein as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters lays numerous allusions and motifs commonly associated with tales of sea monsters on top of Jane Austen's original tale, Sense and Sensibility. The sea monster elements are woven into the story as an alternate means of driving plot events such as the deaths of certain characters.[17]

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls – by Steve Hockensmith (2010)

  • Prequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, this novel provides a background on the source of Zombies in England, as well as the training of Elizabeth Bennet in the martial arts.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.austen.com/
  2. ^ Todd, Janet. Jane Austen in Context (The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen). New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Print.
  3. ^ Pucci and Thompson, Jane Austen and Co.: Remaking the Past in Contemporary Culture. Albany, New York: State University Of New York Press, 2003. Print.
  4. ^ http://austenesquereviews.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-austenesque-novels/by-jane-austen-novel
  5. ^ Flood, Alison (9 April 2009). "Jane Austen in zombie rampage up the book charts". The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2009/apr/09/austen-zombie-pride-prejudice. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
  6. ^ # Andrew Wright,Jane Austen Adapted. Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Vol. 30, No. 3, pgs 421–453. Print
  7. ^ http://www.comicmix.com/news/2009/04/28/review-pride-and-prejudice-and-zombies-by-jane-austen-and-seth-grahame-smith/
  8. ^ http://www.erasofelegance.com/arts/literature/janebooks.html
  9. ^ The Times, 11 December 1929
  10. ^ Quoted in advertisement in The Times Literary Supplement 20 November 1930
  11. ^ Robinson, L. Review: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous, The Women's Review of Books, 11, pg. 18. Print.
  12. ^ http://fansofjane.wordpress.com/2009/10/04/mr-darcy%E2%80%99s-daughters-a-review-in-conversation/
  13. ^ Dawkins, Jane.Letters from Pemberley Review. Chicken Soup Press, 1999. Print.
  14. ^ http://www.bookreporter.com/reviews2/9780525950769.asp
  15. ^ http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-4022-2947-3
  16. ^ Flood, Alison (9 April 2009). "Jane Austen in zombie rampage up the book charts". The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2009/apr/09/austen-zombie-pride-prejudice. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
  17. ^ http://nymag.com/arts/books/reviews/58847/
  18. ^ http://www.avclub.com/articles/steve-hockensmith-pride-and-prejudice-and-zombies,39731/