With all the hoo-ha over Fifty Shades of Grey, several reprehensible writers have taken to the Classic novels with the intention of adding a bit of spice.
The idea is that sexual tension runs throughout these novels and so now, thanks to the subtle insight of these writers, we will have this spelt out for us. Corsets will be ripped, boots torn off, hair unpinned and tea spilt in a flourish of sexualised writing.
Shame on these writers. SHAME.
I have no problem with Fifty Shades of Grey. I haven’t read it, so I can’t pass judgement on it.
Surely if it means people are reading rather than playing angry birds, or constantly checking their Facebook, then we should be thankful.
But I resent the assumption that, because a sexy book is so popular, it would be a great idea to throw some sex scenes at classic novels that are out of copyright and can therefore be adapted.
I am disgusted by the idea, and on so many levels. These levels can be categorised as the following.
1) Some things are too pure and perfect to be touched. Eroticising classic fiction is like scribbling over a da Vinci with biro or playing a vuvuzela over Madame Butterfly. If I took a classic song, like ‘The Way You Look Tonight’ or ‘Isn’t She lovely’, and threw in some swear words, or distorted classic nursery rhymes, in which, for example, Mary decides she was too hungry to keep her little lamb as a faithful pet, there would be uproar. The same can be said in this situation - if it isn't broke, don't fix it.
2) The world has gone mad. A few years ago, when the world was preoccupied with a zombie apocalypse (see point 5), these same novels were adapted with terrifying active corpses confusing the beauty of Austen’s texts. Now the plan is essentially Victorian porn. Why are we as a society obsessed with horror and sex? Is this the message we want to be sending out to new readers? Who ever said zombies and sex would improve things?
3) Potential confusion between the two books. Readers new to Pride and Prejudice or Jane Eyre might get confused between the nineteenth and twenty-first century editions. This could be very awkward. Students might get confused and, like Rachel in Friends talking about cyborgs in Jane Eyre, confuse the real deal with a modern take. Parents introducing their children to BBC adaptations of these novels might accidentally purchase the wrong edition on Amazon. Utterly mortifying.
4) Literature is something our nation can be very proud of. Along with a strong navel history (do I need to remind you of the Spanish Armada?), rock music (the list here is endless) and a healthcare service (I’m not saying it’s perfect), we can be bloody proud of our literary heritage. We’re known the world over for producing Chaucer, Shakespeare, Austen, Dickens, Kipling, Virginia Woolf and J.K Rowling to name just a few. And now we’re cheapening their contributions to our heritage by injecting their novels with elements of Mills and Boon.
5)Twilight should be destroyed. Note it was after this book that vampires and zombies and werewolves really came into fashion. Note Fifty Shades of Grey was originally written as fan fiction, inspired by the Twilight series. Note Fifty Shades of Grey inspired the idea for erotic classic literature. Ergo, this is all ENTIRELY Twilight’s fault.
You might have picked up that I am not amused. I can feel the writers of our beloved novels turning in the ground beneath me, and I’m reeling on their behalf.
Which leads me onto my own small announcement.
I’ve decided to write my own erotic novel – JOKES!
Being serious now, I have landed on my feet. I’ve secured a job I am so enjoying, a job I never thought I’d get.
It has made me realise just how much I love publishing and writing and, whilst I enjoy blogging, I am setting my sights on bigger literary adventures.
As a result, I will not be blogging as regularly as I have been for this past year. I aim to blog every fortnight, or perhaps once a month, which seems more realistic with my daily commute.
Whilst you have not heard the end of my rants and reflections, therefore, A Blog with a View is going to take a slight back seat.
But I’m so very grateful to it – the journey this far has been brilliant!