Quasi-Austen

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Sat Mar 9 20:18:12 EST 2002


On Fri,  8 Mar 2002 12:48:44 -0500 (EST), "" <amaebi at iwon.com> wrote:

>Melissa said:
>
>> I keep being disappointed by modern authors' attempts to mimic
>> JA. Either they don't have the voice right, or they mention 
>> things that Austen never would, or they aren't content with a 
>> novel of manners and turn their book into a semi-Gothic 
>> adventure (as in the completed version of _Sanditon_). And 
>> there are SO many of them! Maybe I'm just jealous because *I* 
>> want to be writing one myself.... 
>
>I think Melissa might enjoy Diana Birchall's novellas about Mrs. Elton, available online at http://dianabirchall.com/indefense.html . These are also available in printed and illustrated versions from Diana, from the Jane Austen Society of North America, or from Jane Austen books.

Thank you for the link, Mary Ann.  I really enjoyed this.  Seems that most
of the best work is being done as fan-fic rather than actual published
books.  There's a first for you.  :)  (With no offense meant to anyone here
who writes fan-fic, because I'm sure you all know that a lot of it is
terrible, and I'm also sure none of you are guilty of the rotten stuff.)

>I also enjoy Diana's tiny pastiches of Austen sex life in Jane Austen between the sheets : http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/%7Eawoodley/janes/birchall.html

Those were CUTE.  Even though I don't normally go in for that sort of
fiction, she did a great job.  I especially liked the one with Kitty and
Lydia Bennet (Wickham) because that seemed just the kind of thing the
feckless Lydia would do.

>By the way: Diana says that Austen sequels are Very Hard to Sell to Publishers if you don't happen to be Joan Aiken. :(

Wish she'd explain how all the crappy ones get published, then.  Or maybe
it's a self-fulfilling prophecy: publishers who don't know enough about Jane
Austen buy what they *think* are good sequels; people buy them and say,
almost universally, "This stinketh beyond all reason" and dissuade others;
publishers don't make money; publishers are unwilling to risk losing more
money, and Joan Aiken has the advantage of Name Brand Loyalty.

I did a little searching one time and found about six or seven authors who
were writing JA sequels.  Some of them simply had no idea what the voice was
supposed to sound like, but the main problem was in not really understanding
what makes her books interesting.  Though there was one, _Pride &
Promiscuity: The Lost Sex Scenes of Jane Austen_, that I found a blurb for
at Amazon.com.  I don't like sex farce, so I'm not planning to read it, but
the premise that Jane Austen was miffed at her publishers for refusing to
include the racy scenes she'd actually written was pretty clever.

I enjoy some of the fan-fic at the Republic of Pemberley (www.pemberly.com),
but as one of the handful of people on the planet who thoroughly detested
the A&E adaptation of _Pride and Prejudice_, I don't think I'd feel entirely
comfortable in that community.  So all y'all are stuck with me.

Melissa Proffitt
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