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Over the past few years, I have seen on the shelves a growing desire to pull a Frankenstein with the literary skill of Jane Austen. A mass of writers have been capitalizing on the cleverness of Ms. Austen’s plotlines, writing their own follow ups, their own endings. Everything from earlier publications like Joan Aiken’s ‘Jane Fairfax: A Novel to Complement Emma by Jane Austen’ to ‘Mr. Darcy's Daughters,’ by Elizabeth Aston, writers everywhere are taking Austen into their own hands. As a dedicated Austen lover, I have mixed feelings about this, and I think Jane would too. For one thing, I understand the thrall of Austen and the desire to endlessly inhabit the worlds she created. I also believe strongly in the power of pastiche, and that is why I might find merit in something like Seth Grahame-Smith’s ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.’ However, a never-ending stream of tales written with a wholly adaptive voice telling stories of unoriginal characters seems like a real waste of time to me. Are these novels bringing anything new to the table? Or are they just attempts to capitalize on another woman’s genius? I am open to mimicry, but I need further convincing.




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