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Why did I choose to study literature? Because it means something. Why did I leave the pre-med field in undergrad and switch to literature? Because literature has value. Why did I give up the possibility of a great career in medicine to pursue a masters in literature? Because literature teaches us something about our history, development of language, our values and who we are. This is why I love classic literature.

So what makes me, the self-proclaimed literature snob, piping mad? When I read online that Clandestine Classics has taken classic novels such as “Pride and Prejudice”, “Northanger Abbey”, “Jane Eyre”, “Sherlock Holmes” and “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and turned them into Porn Novels… yes I said it… porn novels. As those who know me will attest, I rarely get fired up or angry but when you mess with my loves (my books)- you’ve got another thing coming! The pictures at the top of the page are the real novel covers… a real treat, huh?

According to the publisher: “The old-fashioned pleasantries and timidity have all been stripped away, quite literally. You didn’t really think that these much-loved characters only held hands and pecked cheeks, did you? Come with us as we embark on a breathtaking experience — behind the closed bedroom doors of our favorite, most-beloved British characters. Learn what Sherlock really thought of Watson, what Mr. Darcy really wanted to do to Miss Elizabeth Bennet, and unveil the sexy escapades of Mr. Rochester and Jane Eyre. We’ll show you the scenes that you always wanted to see but were never allowed.”

Oh my oh my… where to even begin? First of all, the classics are classics because they represent a time era. Of course, there were sexual immoralities and indiscretions in the 19th/20th centuries as there are today. However, the time era did not allow discussion of those indiscretions and therefore, the literature of the time would never have such a context in them. I understand the appeal of the new “50 shades of grey” complex where everything has to be shocking in order to sell… but frankly, the Romance industry is the highest grossing market today. There are plenty of authors who write those books with the Fabio covers… why do they have to steal MY BOOKS? There are thousands if not millions of lovers of these classics that have remained classic for a reason. When I mentioned these new books to several friends who have read “P&P” and “Jane Eyre”, every one of them had the same reaction whether they had read the books for serious study or for fun reading- absolute horror. There comes a time in society where enough is enough. Never mind that Christian Grey wants to get his kinky business on with Anastasia… I am not emotionally invested in those characters- they were developed off of Edward and Bella from Twilight for goodness sakes! But to have Mr. Rochester spank Jane Eyre or Mr. Darcy tie up Elizabeth Bennett with his tie… I might have to poke my eyes out….

The sad business with this whole thing is that the publisher is quite confident that these books will sell. My only fear is that readers with no knowledge of these classics will read the clandestine version first and never be able to appreciate the love between the Darcy and Elizabeth, Rochester and Jane. Of course, the last few years have been a whirlwind of re-vamping classics: “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”, “Sense and Sensibility and Seamonsters”, “Mr. Darcy, Vampyre”, etc….. but I seriously draw the line when I have to read scenes like THIS: Here is a scene from Pride & Prejudice that takes the main romance a step further: “Fire blazed in his eyes as he looked down at her and she felt overwhelmed by the possession she saw in their depths — astounded, but perfectly at ease as though she were right where she needed to be. Her heart pounded as she breathed in the scents around her. The fresh, earthy smell of the forest, the pine trees, the grass beneath their bodies combined with the delicious scent of Darcy. Hot, spicy and all man.”

Seriously?!?!?! What happened to leaving something to the imagination? There’s a reason why books that apparently chronicle the life of the Darcys’ after their marriage are never going to be “classic” like the original… because we, as the readers, don’t want to know every little detail… the beauty of the novel is in it’s ability to let us fill in our own ending. In the same way, it’s implied that Darcy and Elizabeth “enjoy the marital fruits” (yeah I just said that…) but we don’t need a play by play….

So seriously folks… let me know what you think… ’cause I am flaming mad and just want Fabio and all his shirtless, long haired brothers to keep their styling tips to themselves and keep their hands off of my Mr. Darcy!

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Showing 4 comments
  • suddenlylostinwords
    Reply

    Well said! Way to rant! Is nothing sacred?

  • Edgar
    Reply

    We history wonks call this revisionist history. The thing about thirst types of books is that they tell us more about the revisionist than they do the original writer. Personally I think these stories come from people who cannot, because of miseducation or just plain indifference, understand what the true point of the stories were. It’s amazing how dumb our culture is becoming.

  • Sara
    Reply

    I had no idea this was happening! Oh Sherlock, my dear, dear Sherlock what have they done to you??? My stomach churns at the thought of Mr. Rochester spanking Jane Eyre! Ugh! I weep for the future of literature if this is what publishers are resorting to in order to capture the attention of readers. What seems to be worse, is that judging from the sample you were able to provide, the writing is just as cheap and demeaning as the very notion of the books themselves.

    You are most certainly right Danae, the porn industry needs to leave the great literary classics alone!!!

  • mom305
    Reply

    Well said. Sad but true. Distorting the original story is just plain lack of imagination.

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