Georgiana Darcy was so nice – lots of people are interested in what happened to her. Caroline Bingley finds her own Mr. Darcy (but he’s an American cousin? Seriously?). The existence of the Lydia Bennet story isn’t too surprising — and if you spent your time thinking Pride and Prejudice would just be awesomer if there was more about the De Bourghs, you’re not alone.
And there’s not enough room here for the straight-up retellings. Same book, different take – shift the point of view away from Elizabeth, set it in India, set it in UTAH, play the what-if game, play it again, tell the story but add in more boats.
Tell the story on Facebook, rewrite it for Twitter, tell it with Barbies, turn it into Gone with the Wind (okay, they don’t say they’re doing that, but look at those hats), move it to the next century.
Seriously, if you just want to read the same story one million times, it’s out there for you.
Note: I haven’t read most of these – link DOES NOT EQUAL endorsement!
Looking just a bit ahead on Amazon or similar and it’s pretty clear the steady stream of Austen-inspired stuff isn’t drying up any time soon. Which is sometimes taken to mean that Austen is awesome, which she is. There’s lots of mentions of the Austen brand and what it means for an eighteenth-century author to be so currently popular and relevant.
But that brand language is odd because it’s not like you can point to the group of Austen family descendents or the current version of her publisher who own the brand and who are systematically and strategically leveraging it for all it’s worth. A lot of the stuff above is professionally, commercially produced, but a lot of it isn’t. There are so many self-published components to the Austen pastiche available on Amazon, and off Amazon. The Barbie thing? totally not commercial. It got me thinking the other day about how much all of this has to do with copyright and how it should work and how it doesn’t.
P&P is in the public domain, so anyone can do what they want with the story. Colin Firth’s particular Darcy may be limited, but that leaves a lot of room for a lot of creativity, some more creative, some more good, some more horribly, horribly wrong. But a lot of creativity – people building on the creativity and stories of our past.
How much of this creative energy is focusing on Austen because it can? How awesome would it be if other stories, other artifacts were fair game as well?