Buy the Pride And Prejudice Zombies Tee
Or buy Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Format: Hardcover, paperback or deluxe heirloom edition
Authors: Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Commentary by: Melissa on May 14, 2010
Since the April 2009 release of Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, the book publishing world has been inundated with books in the monster mashup genre. It is what I like to call this the monster mashup phenomenon. Call it what you will, it doesn’t change the fact that, “They did the mash[up]. They did the monster mash[up]. The monster mash[up]. It was a grave yard smash[-up]. Was that cheezy enough for you? Yeah, me too – I’ve been wanting to write that all day.
While many other articles debate the literariness of the monster mashup phenomenon, From Mash-Up Novels to Crowdsourced Films equates the mashup genre with those of different art forms. Every type of cultural outlet, whether based in film, music, art, or literature, has at one time or another, gotten the mashup approach to creating something new. One such example is a great documentary called Rip! A Remix Manifesto, which you can watch for free online, download or even create your own movie mashup here. If you haven’t seen it, you have to check it out! While the film documents music and film remix art, the same concepts can be applied to understand the current literary Frankensteins of the publishing world. With public domain novels like Austen’s books, does sharing and remixing them protect “the free exchange of ideas and the future of art and culture” (Rip!)?
Whatever your opinion of the monster mashup, the strong-hold that this literary genre seems to have on both the publishing world and its target audience won’t change anytime soon. Gina Bernal from Speakeasy asks and attempts to answer whether one can kill a publishing fad that refuses to die. Pride And Prejudice And Zombies was so overwhelmingly successful that it has spawned some other “undead” books. By the time you finish reading this post, you’ll align yourself with one of two extremes: is any author or classic safe from the invasion of monsters OR bring on the zombies, sea monsters, vampires, werewolves and robot invasion.
Actually, maybe there is another possiblity. Maybe, like Selena Chambers states in this astute article, you think that some of these monstrous reincarations actually have a place, but others, well, let’s just say that they’d be better off with some slippery green goo leaking out of the decapitated heads. Chambers believes that novels like P&P&Z and Sense And Sensibility And Sea Monsters, are “juvenile and cheap.” From her explanation, I gathered that fart jokes and other slap stick types of humor were infiltrating some much beloved Austen novels. Not exactly what literary types would have in mind, but people are buying so someone must feel there is value (even if only viral marketing buzz). She seems to think that
On the other hand, she names novels like Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Pride And Prometheus as books, which explore the monster mashup genre in an original and thought-provoking, post modern way. It seems that sometimes, the dead should stay dead, and other times, the undead are a welcome addition to our paranormal teen fiction. Still, Chambers article leaves me wondering where she thinks Jane Slayre fits into the equation (she wrote article before it’s official release).
What do you think? Is there a benefit to allowing popular culture to flourish with less-than literary remixes of classic novels? Does parody degrade the initial text or does it perhaps, get people interested in the original classic novels? Should we value only those books which adhere to our understanding of originality or is there room for the expansion of ideas within books that form the literary canon? What do you think the authors of the original texts would say about these literary “abominations”? Finally, is there a potential to reach between the lines, to expand ideas presented in the current monster mashup genre in the way that remix music and film has already done successfully? Join the conversation and have your say.