Monday, October 7, 2013

Pride and Prejudice 2: More Pride, More Prejudice.

So let's talk about sequels to classic novels and why people should stop writing them.


Wait. Wait. Maybe that's unfair. I'm suere that there are SOME sequels to classic novels written in modern times that are very good. I don't think I've read any, but I'm sure they exist.


Still, stop it.

Jane Austen's voice was unmistakable and it has become often imitated and never duplicated. That doesn't seem to stop people from trying. This year is the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice and the stream of sequels seems to be never ending. The latest is titled Longbourn, by Jo Baker, and apparently details the life of the servants that worked for the Bennett family.

Now. We come to my problem. Longbourn may be an excellent novel (although I'll point out here that in every copy of Pride and Prejudice I own...I won't admit how many...there's an e on the end of Longbourne) but IF it is an excellent novel, why can't it stand alone? Downton Abbey, Upstairs, Downstairs, these stories deal with the life of both the upper class and the underclass and their popularity is legend. So why does Jo Baker need her novel to piggy back on Jane Austen's? Can it not stand alone? Is it merely cheap marketing? This is the core of my issue. Can you not write a novel that stands on its own? Are your characters too weak? Is your premise shaky?

I find this so annoying because I feel like it prejudges authors for me. I look at these books and say "why could I read someone else's take on Pride and Prejudice when I could just read Pride and Prejudice?" Am I missing some great authors? I might be...but if they're so great...why aren't they writing their own books instead of Jane Austen's?

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