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Not strictly Victorian > Classics Revisioned

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message 1: by Lily (last edited Feb 22, 2011 01:01PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1289 comments Alyss in Wonderland wrote: "Has anyone read take off's of Victorian novels, or any classic novels? ..."

I read something linked to Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. Should have skipped it.

However, did see the movie "Bridget Jones's Diary" and would still like to read one of the other P&P take offs, maybe something on Darcy. Most seem to be ways to make money off Austen's popularity, but I did enjoy the movie "The Jane Austen Book Club."

Oh, I shouldn't forget Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres, based on King Lear. But, to me, a questionable or, at the least, unsympathetic, portrayal of a Midwest farm family -- too little of literary value exists about the hardworking men and women who fed our nation for so many years before being subsumed by corporate farming.


message 2: by Jackie (last edited Feb 22, 2011 02:20PM) (new)

Jackie Johnson (jrjohnson1408) Lily wrote:

I read something linked to Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. Should have skipped it.


I read that once, also: I think it was called Mrs. de Winter. I had nearly forgotten it, thankfully.

I have been considering reading Jack Maggs which is sort of a spin-off on Great Expectations. I have heard mixed reviews of it, though.



message 3: by Lily (last edited Feb 24, 2011 01:17PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1289 comments Anna wrote: "Are you thinking about sequels or re-writes or maybe both? There's Wide Sargasso Sea which is a fairly famous book and movie telling the story of Bertha Rochester before she came to be..."

Ah, yes, that too. Some object to the book, but I would recommend it to every fan of Jane Eyre in their teens or older.

PS -- would someone explain how to add the name of a book to a post?


message 4: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) Lily, you go to the book/author above the comment post (in the green highlight) and type up the name of the book title or the book cover whichever you prefer.


message 5: by Jaime (new)

Jaime (janastasiow) Anna wrote: "Are you thinking about sequels or re-writes or maybe both? There's Wide Sargasso Sea which is a fairly famous book and movie telling the story of Bertha Rochester before she came to be..."

This is a classic in itself, though.


message 6: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) I just saw the book at the bookroom, don't know if I want to get it though.


message 7: by Jaime (new)

Jaime (janastasiow) Robin wrote: "I just saw the book at the bookroom, don't know if I want to get it though."

I have the Norton critical edition and I'll read it eventually. I liked the movie. It's not too long of a read and I tend to at least buy any Norton crit I can get my hands on. When I end up re-reading Jane Eyre I'll read it after.


message 8: by [deleted user] (last edited Feb 25, 2011 12:57AM) (new)

Jaime wrote: "Robin wrote: "I just saw the book at the bookroom, don't know if I want to get it though."

I have the Norton critical edition and I'll read it eventually. I liked the movie. It's not too long of..."


Jaime, which movie did you watch? I know there are two adaptations of Wide Sargasso Sea, one filmed in 1993 and another (for TV) in 2006. I loved the book so I would really like to watch the films.
I (life-long fan of Jane Eyre) read Wide Sargasso Sea twice. First time I didn't really enjoy it and second, some months ago, I loved it. I'd personally recommend to read it thinking of it as a story for itself instead of comparing it to Jane Eyre. It's a modern book, not neo-vic or a Brontë imitation. First time I didn't like because I was expecting it to be like Jane Eyre, so I'd recommend to read it open-minded. It's just personal opinion, I'd love to hear your reaction to it anyway, it's a really complex and worth-reading book.


message 9: by Jaime (new)

Jaime (janastasiow) The made for TV version. I'm sure I'll be reading it soon and I'll let you know :)


message 10: by Silver (last edited Feb 25, 2011 09:38PM) (new)

Silver I have not yet read any such novels, but there are a few that I have and want to read. I am interested in the Looking Glass Wars and I have ordered a copy of Alice I Have Been. I also have been wanting to read Wide Sargasso Sea for a long time. And I have Jack MaggsI also have a book called Heathcliff: The Return to Wuthering Heights


message 11: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) the Heathcliff one sounds fascinating, Silver. Haven't come across that one on my scouring bookstores.


message 12: by Silver (new)

Silver I just by chance came acorss it at a book sale.


message 13: by Robin (new)

Robin (goodreadscomtriviagoddessl) nice, I reserved another book titled Heathcliff, and will probably read that once I get it.


message 14: by Silver (new)

Silver I have heard about a book Jane that is a Young Adult book, of a modern retelling of Jane Eyre. I cannot decide if it would be interesting and worth reading or too much along the lines of Twilight, as far as just being an obnoxious teen romance.


message 15: by Andreea (last edited Mar 04, 2011 10:09AM) (new)

Andreea (andyyy) | 58 comments Oh I love books which rewrite other books. I've read:
Mr Pip which is based on Great Expectations and is wonderful
On Beauty based on Howards End and not that good
Flaubert's Parrot about Flaubert's life and books and absolutely brilliant
The Penelopiad based on The Odyssey also quite good
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead based on Hamlet and mildly interesting
The Hours based on Mrs Dalloway too wonderful for words
Specimen Days based on Walt Whitman's poetry first two parts really good, last bit just creepy
The Master of Petersburg based on Dostoyevsky's life and his novel Demons.


message 16: by Scott (new)

Scott (Karlstadt) | 123 comments Silver wrote: "I have not yet read any such novels, but there are a few that I have and want to read. I am interested in the Looking Glass Wars and I have ordered a copy of Alice I Have Been. I al..."


message 17: by Scott (new)

Scott (Karlstadt) | 123 comments I first read Great Expectations in high school. Biddy's speech on acceptance and life stayed with me, though I forgot the exact words. Thirty years later, I re-read the speech and was able to both understand it and take it to heart again. I figure that I must matured somewhat in those 30 years.


message 18: by Robert (new)

Robert Clear (robertclear) | 10 comments The Looking Glass Wars sounds interesting. I might have to look out for it.


message 19: by Ellen (new)

Ellen (karenvirginiaflaxman) | 139 comments OK, this is going to sound rather rude, but I hope no one takes this comment personally. For some reason I rather resent writers who create "sequels" or "prequels" that take characters from a classic, say perhaps a Jane Austen novel, and write their own novels using these characters. I have a hard time understand why it seems so difficult for writers to create original characters these days. I would much rather read a novel with original characters than to read a writer's interpretation of a character from a classic, you know what I mean. Mr. Darcy is Mr. Darcy as Austen created him, and in these take-off novels the authors alter his character to their own needs, guessing at what his reactions and thoughts might be given a new situation and so on. Just not my cup of tea, I guess. I'm sure other readers don't have my issues with these books...


message 20: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Ellen I feel the same way. I often wonder if they would be horrified to see what we have done to their originals. Maybe it's well they are deceased and don't know about it.


message 21: by Silver (new)

Silver Or perhaps they would be amused to see the ways in which others have perceived their characters, and flattered at how immortal there works to come, and the way in which they have been integrated into the modern culture.

Most of these writers were seeking change within their society and so perhaps they would be intrigued by the evolution of their own characters.


message 22: by Lily (last edited May 16, 2011 05:16PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1289 comments Learned today of Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair .

See also: www.thursdaynext.com


message 23: by Deanne (new)

Deanne | 83 comments The original authors would also base their characters reactions on what life was like, what was socially acceptable and how people thought based on their own experiences. Do feel that these new sequels are money making schemes, although to be fair to Wide Sargasso Sea some do stand the passage of time, wonder if Pride and prejudice and zombies, or Mr Darcy's daughter will still be in print in 50 years.


message 24: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1289 comments I don't see Mario Vargas Llosa's The Bad Girl among these notes yet. It is a take-off from Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary .

Llosa has a particular love for Flaubert's work and has written an excellent critique of Madame Bovary in his The Perpetual Orgy: Flaubert and Madame Bovary . Bad Girl is still on my TBR.


message 25: by Sara (new)

Sara | 24 comments Ellen wrote: "OK, this is going to sound rather rude, but I hope no one takes this comment personally. For some reason I rather resent writers who create "sequels" or "prequels" that take characters from a class..."

I agree with you completely. Writing sequels or prequels to another author's work just seems lazy. I also find the idea of re-interpretations like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies rather distasteful.


message 26: by Silver (new)

Silver For me it really depends upon the nature of the spin off and just what I think the author is trying to achieve. I do not think it is fair to paint all authors under the same brush and presume they are all operating under ill intended motivations or out that they are all trying to just by copy cats and don't want to think of ideas of their own.

Such books as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies are stupid I agree and do not add anything to the works and are purely meant to appeal to a certain demographic of people.

But these types of stories should not be seen in the same light as something like Wide Sargasso Sea, in which I hardly think Jean Rhys was just out to make money nor was she simply being lazy and unimaginative. But she was trying to expand the minds of her readers and get them to the see the story and its characters in a different perspective. Her story does serve as a sort of critical analysis in novel form and explores issues of feminism and race within the period in which Jane Eyre was written.

I think that some prequels/Sequels can be written as a way for an author to expand the opinions readers may have of the original works and get them to look at things in a different way and reconsidering their own views and offer interesting possible alterative views. Because the average every day reader does not read critical essays generally speaking and so taking those thoughts and impressions and putting them into novel form can be a way to appeal to a greater number of people as well as presenting the ideas in a much more entertaining form and offering a new exploration of the characters.


message 27: by Alex (new)

Alex Well, I liked Clueless...


message 28: by Sara (new)

Sara | 24 comments Anna wrote: "BUT if anyone is interested, The Doctor's Wife is Mary Braddon's re-interpretation of Madame Bovary. Definitely worth a read and goes to show that this rewriting of others'..."
Indeed it isn't. For instance, there were two sequels to Poe's Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. One by Jules Verne in 1887 and one by Charles Romeyn Drake in 1899.


message 29: by Deanne (new)

Deanne | 83 comments Is Mary Braddon able to decide what colour eyes Emma Bovary has, Flaubert described them as both blue and brown apparantly.


message 30: by Andreea (last edited May 20, 2011 03:29AM) (new)

Andreea (andyyy) | 58 comments Deanne wrote: "Is Mary Braddon able to decide what colour eyes Emma Bovary has, Flaubert described them as both blue and brown apparantly."

There's a whole chapter on Emma's eyes in Flaubert's Parrot and Barnes says (among a lot of other clever things) that according to Maxime du Camp's Souvenirs littéraires, the woman on which Emma Bovary was based had eyes which changed colour depending on the light.


message 31: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1289 comments Anna wrote: "Lily wrote: "Learned today of Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair.

See also: www.thursdaynext.com"

I really hate this series. Fforde is one of those authors who is so 'clev..."


I'm in the middle of the Jane Eyre discussion on another board, so the Fforde book caught my eye. I haven't even looked at the reviews closely, so thanks for the heads up. My TBR is deep enough that I probably won't even bother unless I trip across it again.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) Lily wrote: "Anna wrote: "Lily wrote: "Learned today of Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair.

See also: www.thursdaynext.com"

I really hate this series. Fforde is one of those authors wh..."


You really should read Fforde's "the Eyre Affair", Lily, it is quite good.


message 33: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 495 comments I quite liked The Eyre Affair and the sequel Lost in a Good Book; I didn't like Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife: Pride and Prejudice Continues at all, as a spin off of Pride and prejudice.


message 34: by Sara (new)

Sara | 24 comments I do love Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, but it is done so brilliantly that one cannot help but admire it.


message 35: by Ellen (new)

Ellen (karenvirginiaflaxman) | 139 comments Sara wrote: "Ellen wrote: "OK, this is going to sound rather rude, but I hope no one takes this comment personally. For some reason I rather resent writers who create "sequels" or "prequels" that take character..."

Yes, Sara, it's as though these authors are just not able to create their own characters or something. Just not my cup of tea... Thanks!


message 36: by Ellen (new)

Ellen (karenvirginiaflaxman) | 139 comments Rebecca wrote: "Ellen I feel the same way. I often wonder if they would be horrified to see what we have done to their originals. Maybe it's well they are deceased and don't know about it."

I think the authors would be a bit sad, actually. A great many of these new books are written by writers who aren't going to be considered top rate in the future, whereas the original authors are definitely in the top 100 in history. Oh, well... what can we do, right? ;o)


message 37: by Ellen (new)

Ellen (karenvirginiaflaxman) | 139 comments Silver wrote: "For me it really depends upon the nature of the spin off and just what I think the author is trying to achieve. I do not think it is fair to paint all authors under the same brush and presume they ..."

I most definitely agree with you, Silver. Just as in literature in general, there are good books and poor books in this category as well. But from what I've seen so far, the good ones are few and far between. "The Wild Sargasso Sea" is a book of quality, and I believe it will still be read 50 years from now, whereas I can't say the same for most of these take-offs. Thanks!!


message 38: by Ellen (new)

Ellen (karenvirginiaflaxman) | 139 comments Christopher wrote: "Lily wrote: "Anna wrote: "Lily wrote: "Learned today of Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair.

See also: www.thursdaynext.com"

I really hate this series. Fforde is one of tho..."


Christopher, I agree with you about "The Eyre Affair" and other early Fforde books in the Thursday Next series, such as "Lost in a Good Book" or "The Well of Lost Plots". But of late his work seems to be of less quality, and the prequels and sequels haven't been as interesting to me as the early books were. I do get a kick out his humor, though, and his allusions to other books are sometimes fun to find. Thanks!!


message 39: by Ellen (new)

Ellen (karenvirginiaflaxman) | 139 comments LauraT wrote: "I quite liked The Eyre Affair and the sequel Lost in a Good Book; I didn't like Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife: Pride and Prejudice Continues at all, as a spin off o..."

Laura, for me the difference is that Thursday Next is an original character created by Fforde himself, rather than another author's character that the new writer has co-opted. I think this is what makes the difference to me - I don't care for the books in which the writer imagines what a character from another book might be like, but I do enjoy those in which the writer has created his/her lead character around which the book is built. Thanks so much!


message 40: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2507 comments Sara wrote: "Ellen wrote: "OK, this is going to sound rather rude, but I hope no one takes this comment personally. For some reason I rather resent writers who create "sequels" or "prequels" that take character...
I agree with you completely. Writing sequels or prequels to another author's work just seems lazy. I also find the idea of re-interpretations like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies rather distasteful. ."


Count me in on that group also in terms of prequels or sequels. But I don't so much mind works that build on others works in creative ways. Tennyson's poem Ulysses is a magnificent example. Bernstein West Side Story is another. After all, virtually all of Shakespeare's non-historical plays, and even his great poems, were based on earlier works, particularly Ovid.


message 41: by Alex (last edited May 21, 2011 06:04PM) (new)

Alex Good point bringing in the history, Everyman: so many of our classics - like much of Shakespeare, as you point out - are retellings of earlier stories. There's also Racine's Phèdre, a terrific reinterpretation of Euripides' Hippolytos - better in some ways, not as good in others - and another Tennyson, Idylls of the King, which is just like Morte D'Arthur except way shorter and less awful.

I wonder if people hated Phedre when Racine wrote it...and if, 300 years from now, people will agree that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a classic.

...I'm gonna go with "no" on that last.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) Alex wrote: "Good point bringing in the history, Everyman: so many of our classics - like much of Shakespeare, as you point out - are retellings of earlier stories. There's also Racine's Phèdre, a terri..."

Alex, I think that people 300 years from now won't even know that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was even written (thank god).


message 43: by Alex (new)

Alex It'll be a question on Trivial Pursuit: 21st Century Nostalgia Edition, and everyone will get it wrong.

I suppose I should caveat that I haven't read it and some actual readers claim to think it's sortof okay, but...eh, whatever.


message 44: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1289 comments Everyman wrote: "...I don't so much mind works that build on others works in creative ways. Tennyson's poem Ulysses is a magnificent example...."

LOL! What about James Joyce's Ulysses , whether one likes the book or no?


message 45: by Ellen (new)

Ellen (karenvirginiaflaxman) | 139 comments Everyman wrote: "Sara wrote: "Ellen wrote: "OK, this is going to sound rather rude, but I hope no one takes this comment personally. For some reason I rather resent writers who create "sequels" or "prequels" that t..."

Oh, I agree, Everyman. I feel it's different when a writer takes a plot from a previously written work and uses that plot to create a new novel, renaming the characters and changing the setting. To me this is different from taking characters from a book and writing a novel which places those characters in a modern setting and assumes how they'd behave, think, and feel. I think there are only so many plots a writer can create, and that these plots are repeated over and over again; the creativity comes in describing the settings, and modifying the characters. Thanks for the comment!


message 46: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2507 comments Marjorie wrote: "I'm thinking there is a difference between works like Racine's Phèdre or Anouilh's Antigone, and the endless sequels, pre-quels, and re-writes of Austen (Mr Darcy's diary, Captain Wentworth's viewp..."

I agree. Good observation.


message 47: by Ellen (new)

Ellen (karenvirginiaflaxman) | 139 comments I usually don't read these kinds of books; I know that it takes some imagination to write them, but I always feel that authors should be able to create their own characters "from scratch", you know what I mean? Where's creativity gone? ;o)


message 48: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2507 comments Ellen wrote: "I usually don't read these kinds of books; I know that it takes some imagination to write them, but I always feel that authors should be able to create their own characters "from scratch", you know..."

Ditto. I also feel that it's a bit off somehow to take a character somebody else has created and given life to and take it over for your own purposes. I know that with books out of copyright there's no long any protection for the author, but that doesn't, for me at least, make it right.

But the popularity of these books shows that we're in the minority. :(


message 49: by Ellen (new)

Ellen (karenvirginiaflaxman) | 139 comments Everyman wrote: "Ellen wrote: "I usually don't read these kinds of books; I know that it takes some imagination to write them, but I always feel that authors should be able to create their own characters "from scra..."

Amen, Everyman. Unfortunately, these kinds of books continue to proliferate and many people do read them. It seems to me to be a form of cheating, because the authors don't even have to bother creating characters, settings, and so on. I hadn't thought about it, but you're right: There's no copyright protection for the original writers, and that's really too bad. Thanks!


message 50: by Ellen (new)

Ellen (karenvirginiaflaxman) | 139 comments Anna wrote: "Its especially frustrating when it seems like they ARE creating new characters through having Austen's characters do things that are out of character or out of the scope of the Regency world, but, ..."

I couldn't agree more, Anna. When these writers cause the already established characters to act against their original characters it really is annoying. And you're right, of course, that as soon as some readers see "Jane Austen" they'll grab those books. It's seems pretty shady indeed! Thanks!


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