“The Austen Project” – three little words which, if you’re of a certain age (ahem…) take you right back to a college seminar course. But, no, this is the present day, wherein well-known authors have hoisted onto their shoulders the weighty task of literally rewriting Miss Austen’s widely beloved 19th Century classics.
This isn’t rewriting in the sense of fan fiction or a Quirk Classics’ overhaul (who’s there left in the world unaware of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? Or Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters?). Instead, HarperCollins’ idea was to re-situate the novels in the modern era. If a Shakespearean play can be temporally transposed for the stage, then why not Northanger Abbey for the printing press?
Well, there are quite a few who would beg to differ. However, let’s not forget that our entire knowledge of fairytales is based on an oral tradition of retelling. Furthermore, until the 18th Century, rehashing established stories as “new” works was commonplace. Transfer those traditions to Austen’s novels of manners and the Project’s goal can be seen to translate the author’s meaning for contemporary audiences […]
[First Published at AmReading.com; rest of article available from:]