Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Hidden Lusts! Compare and Contrast!

Let's look at the same passage, first in Jane Austen's original Pride and Prejudice, then in two of the mash-ups based on it. This is Jane's take on a pivotal scene between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy:

"...While settling this point, she was suddenly roused by the sound of the door bell; and her spirits were a little fluttered by the idea of its being Colonel Fitzwilliam himself, who had once before called late in the evening, and might now come to enquire particularly after her. But this idea was soon banished, and her spirits were very differently affected, when, to her utter amazement, she saw Mr. Darcy walk into the room. In a hurried manner he immediately began an enquiry after her health, imputing his visit to a wish of hearing that she were better. She answered him with cold civility. He sat down for a few moments, and then getting up walked about the room. Elizabeth was surprised, but said not a word. After a silence of several minutes, he came towards her in an agitated manner, and thus began:--

"'In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.'

"Elizabeth's astonishment was beyond expression. She stared, coloured, doubted, and was silent. This he considered sufficient encouragement, and the avowal of all that he felt and had long felt for her immediately followed. He spoke well, but there were feelings besides those of the heart to be detailed, and he was not more eloquent on the subject of tenderness than of pride. His sense of her inferiority, of its being a degradation, of the family obstacles which judgment had always opposed to inclination, were dwelt on with a warmth which seemed due to the consequence he was wounding, but was very unlikely to recommend his suit.

"In spite of her deeply-rooted dislike, she could not be insensible to the compliment of such a man's affection, and though her intentions did not vary for an instant, she was at first very sorry for the pain he was to receive; till, roused to resentment by his subsequent language, she lost all compassion in anger. She tried, however, to compose herself to answer him with patience, when he should have done. He concluded with representing to her the strength of that attachment which, in spite of all his endeavors, he had found impossible to conquer; and with expressing his hope that it would now be rewarded by her acceptance of his hand. As he said this, she could easily see that he had no doubt of a favourable answer. He spoke of apprehension and anxiety, but his countenance expressed real security. Such a circumstance could only exasperate farther; and when he ceased, the colour rose into her cheeks, and she said,--

"'In such cases as this, it is, I believe, the established mode to express a sense of obligation for the sentiments avowed, however unequally they may be returned. It is natural that obligation should be felt, and if I could feel gratitude, I would now thank you. But I cannot--I have never desired your good opinion, and you have certainly bestowed it most unwillingly. I am sorry to have occasioned pain to any one. It has been most unconsciously done, however, and I hope will be of short duration. The feelings which you tell me have long prevented the acknowledgement of your regard can have little difficulty in overcoming it after this explanation.'

"Mr. Darcy, who was leaning on the mantel-piece with his eyes fixed on her face, seemed to catch her words with no less resentment than surprise..."

Then, in 2009, Quirk Books came out with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, with improvements by Seth Grahame-Smith. Grahame-Smith's Elizabeth is a martial artist:

"...While settling this point, she was suddenly roused by the sound of the door bell; and her spirits were a little fluttered by the idea of its being Colonel Fitzwilliam himself, who had once before called late in the evening, and might now come to enquire particularly after her. But this idea was soon banished, and her spirits were very differently affected, when, to her utter amazement, she saw Mr. Darcy walk into the room. In a hurried manner he immediately began an enquiry after her health, imputing his visit to a wish of hearing that she were better. She answered him with cold civility, scarcely able to believe her luck at his happening by so soon, and waiting for the opportunity to excuse herself and retrieve her Katana. He sat down for a few moments, and then getting up walked about the room. Elizabeth was surprised, but said not a word. After a silence of several minutes, he came towards her in an agitated manner, and thus began:

"'In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.'

"Elizabeth's astonishment was beyond expression. She stared, coloured, doubted, and was silent. This he considered sufficient encouragement, and the avowal of all that he felt and had long felt for her immediately followed. He spoke well, but there were feelings besides those of the heart to be detailed, and he was not more eloquent on the subject of tenderness than of pride. His sense of her inferiority, of its being a degradation, of the family obstacles which judgment had always opposed to inclination, were dwelt on with a warmth which seemed due to the consequence he was wounding, but was very unlikely to recommend his suit.

"In spite of her deeply-rooted bloodlust, she could not be insensible to the compliment of such a man's affection, and though her intention of killing him did not vary for an instant, she was at first very sorry for the pain he was to receive; till, roused to resentment by his subsequent language, she lost all compassion in anger. She tried, however, to compose herself to answer him with patience, when he should have done. He concluded with representing to her the strength of that attachment which, in spite of all his endeavors, he had found impossible to conquer; and with expressing his hope that it would now be rewarded by her acceptance of his hand. As he said this, she could easily see that he had no doubt of a favourable answer. He spoke of apprehension and anxiety, but his countenance expressed real security. Such a circumstance could only exasperate farther; and when he ceased, the colour rose into her cheeks, and she said,--

"'In such cases as this, it is, I believe, the established mode to express a sense of obligation for the sentiments avowed, however unequally they may be returned. It is natural that obligation should be felt, and if I could feel gratitude, I would now thank you. But I cannot--I have never desired your good opinion, and you have certainly bestowed it most unwillingly. I am sorry to have occasioned you pain, but only sorry because it has been most unconsciously done. Before you walked through that door, I had resolved to strike you down, sir. My honor--nay, the honor of my family, demands no lesser satisfaction.'

"Elizabeth presently lifted her dress above her ankles and struck a basic crane pose, which she thought well-suited for the cramped quarters. Mr. Darcy, who was leaning on the mantel-piece with his eyes fixed on her face, seemed to catch her words with no less resentment than surprise..."

As I alluded to in a previous post, the latest mash-up is Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts. It's published by Cleis Press and improved by Mitzi Szereto, "With heartfelt appreciation to Miss Jane Austen for her kind patronage (with some additional encouragement courtesy of Mr. Colin Firth).":

"...Elizabeth was suddenly roused by the sound of the door bell; and her spirits were a little anxious that it might be Colonel Fitzwilliam. Perhaps by having compromised herself in his company, he had concluded that she was a woman of reckless morals and had come to take from her what he felt was his due. After the events of the afternoon, that he should behave in so ungentlemanly a manner would not have surprised her at all. As she readied herself to fend off his advances, to her utter amazement Mr. Darcy walked into the room.

"In a hurried manner he immediately began an enquiry after her health, imputing his visit to a wish of hearing that she were better. When Elizabeth acknowledged that she was, Darcy sat down for a few moments and then, getting up, walked about the room. His demeanor was most agitated as he came toward her and said,'In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.'

"Elizabeth's astonishment was beyond expression, and for some time she could not speak. Her silence Darcy seemed to take as encouragement, and he went on to speak eloquently of his warmth and ardor for her, though there were feelings besides those of the heart to be detailed as well. He chronicled his sense of her inferiority and that of her family, concluding his speech by representing to her the strength of that attachment which, in spite of all his endeavors, he had found impossible to conquer. In expressing to her his hope that it would be rewarded by her acceptance of his hand, he reached toward the flap of his breeches and began to unbutton it.

"Till now Elizabeth had been in such a state of disbelief at his declaration, followed by anger at his review of her circumstances, that she had not taken note of his condition. Before she could put forth a reply, Darcy released his manhood from the confines of his breeches, displaying it fully to her. As she watched, he proceeded to stroke it, his fingers moving with practiced fondness along the sleek surface, traveling from tip to base, and then back again. His member was of considerable length and girth, making it a worthy rival to that which belonged to the chorister, if indeed, not its superior, and Elizabeth very much suspected that it far surpassed even Wickham's impressive specimen. The nest of curls at the place from which it sprang were darker than those on Darcy's head and looked nearly as silken, and for a moment she imagined herself passing some very pleasant moments twining them around her fingers.

"Since Elizabeth had never before been offered a proposal of marriage, she was uncertain if this manner of courtship was at all customary. Her friend Charlotte had never spoken of Mr. Collins' application to herself; therefore she had little basis for comparison, though she could most assuredly comprehend the practical nature of a gentleman's wish to make known his every asset to a young lady on whom he had set his sights. Darcy squeezed and pulled at the length of himself with his fingers, as if compelling it to grow still larger in what appeared to be a heartfelt attempt to impress her, paying particular attention to the roll of flesh near the tip, drawing it repeatedly down to reveal to her what lay beneath. Elizabeth detected a tiny bead of moisture that had gathered there like a drop of dew on a rose petal, and she fought a curious desire to lick it away with her tongue. The image of her doing so set off such a powerful reaction in the place of her womanhood that she was required to bite down on her lip as distraction lest she took a hand to herself--or worse still, her tongue to Darcy.

"In spite of her deeply rooted dislike, Elizabeth could not be insensible to the compliment of such a man's affection, nor to the appeal of what promised to be a most excellent representative of manly pleasure-giving, though her intentions did not vary for an instant. 'In such cases as this, it is, I believe, the established mode to express a sense of obligation for the sentiments avowed, however unequally they may be returned,' she began. 'It is natural that obligation should be felt, and if I could feel gratitude, I would now thank you. But I cannot--I have never desired your good opinion, and you have certainly bestowed it most unwillingly. I am sorry to have occasioned pain to anyone.'"

I'm reading this last version right now and very much enjoying it! In some places, I miss Miss Austen's somewhat archaic prose. I also keep expecting Lady Catherine de Bourgh's ninjas. Can somebody write a mash-up of the mash-ups with both the lust and the zombies?

2 comments:

shah wharton said...

Hey Erin - I would be reading the lusty one now if not so pricey! I don't fancy the zombie one though. I have read the Romeo and Juliet vampire book and it was fab! I recommend it. Shah. X

Erin O'Riordan said...

Doing a Shakespeare mash-up sounds like really hard work. Elizabethan English is so archaic, even compared to Regency English--Will Shakespeare makes Jane Austen sound like Stephenie Meyer! I love my vampire novels, though, so I'll probably enjoy R&J with a paranormal twist.

I own a copy of 'Wuthering Bites,' in which Heathcliff is the son of a vampire father and a Gypsy vampire slayer mother. I'm looking forward to that one. And then I'll have to read 'The Wild and Wanton Edition'...and then I'll probably want to do another comparison!