Classics with a Twist
August 20, 2009 12:40 PM   Subscribe

What are some books similar to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies?

I'm aware of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, which drops next month, but are there more? Is this a new genre, or are there more books out there that turn classic literature into modern mayhem?
posted by Edelweiss to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
There are the Jasper Fforde books--his first, The Eyre Affair, turns Jane Eyre on its head and is just a pleasure to read.
posted by agatha_magatha at 12:44 PM on August 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

I think S&S&Z is pretty much a genre starter, but there have been any number of books that have retold classic literature in some skewed way. It's often done from the perspective of a minor character in the original in order to cast the original as a self-serving narrative warped to make the protagonist look good.

Examples include:

Rosencrantz & Guildernstern are Dead - Actually a play, by Shakespeare wonk Tom Stoppard that turns Hamlet into post-modern 20th century nihilistic angst.

Grendel - John Gardner retells Beowulf from the monster's POV

Wicked - (and sequels) revamp of the Oz mythos by Gregory Maguire

The Wind Done Gone - Gone With the Wind (obviously) as seen from the slave quarters. (This one actually brought a copyright battle from the Margaret Mitchell estate.
posted by Naberius at 1:03 PM on August 20, 2009

Damn it. That would, of course, be P&P&Z. Or S&S&SM. Which actually sounds like a much more interesting book, actually. I feel a note to my agent coming on...
posted by Naberius at 1:04 PM on August 20, 2009

Tim Powers, "The Stress of Her Regard"; the Romantic Poets as monster-hunters, and totally making you believe that this is what their poetry and prose was really all about.
posted by OolooKitty at 1:05 PM on August 20, 2009

There are not one, but two books out/about to be out that mix Pride and Prejudice with...vampires.

Dan Simmons' Drood also qualifies. (Full disclosure: I hated this novel with incendiary passion.)
posted by thomas j wise at 1:08 PM on August 20, 2009

This is from left field, but: A Humunent?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:41 PM on August 20, 2009 [1 favorite]

Also featuring the word insertion: Fucking Frankenstein.
posted by ktrey at 1:42 PM on August 20, 2009

TV Tropes and Wikipedia have some examples of retellings of classic stories.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:44 PM on August 20, 2009

something similar might be pastiche?

My favorite example is Scream for Jeeves by Peter Cannon. In it PG Wodehouse's Bertie and Jeeves are dropped into stories by HP Lovecraft.

And I imagine there is also fanfic available.
posted by pseudonick at 1:54 PM on August 20, 2009

There was a New York Times article really recently sort of about this phenomenon that has a whole bunch of suggestions like Wide Sargasso Sea (Jane Eyre), Lo's Diary (Lolita) and Gertrude and Claudius by John Updike (Hamlet).
posted by ilana at 2:08 PM on August 20, 2009

Neil Gaiman's short story"A Study In Emerald" (PDF) might fit here as well.
posted by jferg at 3:00 PM on August 20, 2009

John Kessel's Pride and Prometheus weds Pride & Prejudice to Frankenstein. Being that the books were contemporary, though, this doesn't turn it into modern mayhem.

Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen does a lot of this. A large amount of Howard Waldrop's ouevre does this, too.

Jane Espenson's "Presumption" in Tales of the Slayers already wed Pride & Prejudice with vampires.

At least vaguely related previous questions:
Wanted: Books featuring characters from other books
(X) Retold From (Y)'s Point Of View
posted by Zed at 3:04 PM on August 20, 2009

Response by poster: After looking at all of these, I'm thinking it's just too new a genre. I'm really looking for books that follow the same formula Grahame uses: well-known classic novel + supernatural monsters = hilarity.

That said, some of these do look interesting; I'm especially intrigued by The Wind Done Gone. Thanks to all for your suggestions.
posted by Edelweiss at 7:45 PM on August 20, 2009

Ahab's Wife reinterprets Moby-Dick from the view of, well, guess.
posted by spamguy at 6:37 AM on August 21, 2009

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