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7 Bizarre Re-Imaginings of Pride and Prejudice

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By Scott Meslow

It is a truth universally acknowledged that an obsessive Jane Austen fan in possession of a Macbook must eventually write their own version of Pride and Prejudice. So 200 years to the day after Austen first published the classic novel, let's take a look at the pervasive trend of "Pride and Prejudice variation" — a name for any story that takes Austen's original novel and mashes it up with the author's own work. Over the years, the lure of Pride & Prejudice has been powerful, attracting noted authors (P.D. James, who released the sequel Death Comes to Pemberly in 2011) and spawning the occasional literary sensation (2009's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which became an unlikely bestseller and earned two sequels of its own). But for every re-imagining of Pride and Prejudice that manages to break into the mainstream, there are dozens of oddities lurking in obscurity. Here, 7 bizarre literary re-imaginings of Pride and Prejudice.

1. Vampire Darcy's Desire: A Pride and Prejudice Adaptation

Twilight novel came out, we saw the release of not one, but two books that rewrite Pride and Prejudice to make Mr. Darcy a vampire. (Vampire Darcy's Desire is not to be confused with Amanda Grange's Mr. Darcy, Vampyre.) "Tormented by a 200-year-old curse and his fate as a half-human/half-vampire dhampir, Mr. Darcy vows to live forever alone rather than inflict the horrors of life as a vampire on an innocent wife," says the book's plot description. "As a man, Darcy yearns for Elizabeth, but as a vampire, he is also driven to possess her. Uncontrollably drawn to each other, they are forced to confront a 'pride and prejudice' never before imagined — while wrestling with the seductive power of forbidden love."

2. Pride, Prejudice, and Curling Rocks

Do you love Jane Austen, but wish she had written more about curling? Congratulations! You're the incredibly narrow target audience for Andrea Marie Brokaw's modern re-imagining of Pride and Prejudice, in which the teenaged Darcy Bennet crosses brooms with the infuriating (but handsome!) Lucas Fitzwilliam as she pursues her dream of being an Olympic curler.

3. Mrs. Darcy versus the Aliens

"The truth is out there, though it is not universally acknowledged," says the tagline for Jonathan Pinnock's Pride and Prejudice sequel Mrs. Darcy versus the Aliens, which submits that Elizabeth Darcy (nee Bennet) spent the years following her marriage attempting to rescue her sister Lydia — and, by extension, the rest of regency England — from an alien invasion. "Most unexpected," says a stoically polite representative from the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, England.

4. Pride and Prejudice with a Side of Grits: A Southern-fried Version of Jane Austen's classic

This re-imagining trades the stuffy British colloquialisms of Jane Austen's comedy of manners for what author Mary Calhoun Brown describes as "the dialect of the American South." The "Southern-fried" version of the original novel's famous opening line: "Jest 'bout everybody 'round here knows that if'n a feller's got two cents to rub together, he's a-lookin' fer a right-nice girl to git hitched to."

5. Pride and Prejudice: The Wild and Wanton Edition

It's safe to say that the literary Mr. Darcy has inspired a bedroom fantasy or two, but the aptly-named Michelle Pillow takes the original novel's subtext and makes it explicit — to say the least — in the "wild and wanton" rewrite of Pride & Prejudice. "From first kiss to orgasmic finish, this book is every Austen fan's dream come true — the story you love, with the heat turned up to high," promises the book's description.

6. Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star

Author Heather Lynn Ragaud's modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice recasts Darcy as the "tall, dark, and enigmatic virtuoso guitarist" of a band called Slurry, which invites a band called Long Borne Suffering — led by singer Elizabeth Bennet — to join them on their latest tour. "The music's hot, but backstage is an inferno," says the book's description.

7. Pride and Platypus: Mr. Darcy's Dreadful Secret

The synopsis of Vera Nazarian's wonderfully if puzzlingly named Pride and Platypus does not, in fact, include any platypuses — but it does include pretty much everything else. "The powerful, mysterious, handsome, and odious Mr. Darcy announces that Miss Elizabeth Bennet is not good enough to tempt him. The young lady determines to find out his one secret weakness — all the while surviving unwanted proposals, Regency balls, foolish sisters, seductive wolves, matchmaking mothers, malodorous skunks, general lunacy, and the demonic onslaught of the entire wild animal kingdom!" A "delightful illustrated edition" is also available.

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15 Powerful Quotes From Margaret Atwood
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It turns out the woman behind such eerily prescient novels as The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake is just as wise as her tales are haunting. Here are 15 of the most profound quips from author, activist, and Twitter enthusiast Margaret Atwood, who was born on this day in 1939.

1. On her personal philosophy

 “Optimism means better than reality; pessimism means worse than reality. I’m a realist.”

— From a 2004 interview with The Guardian

2. On the reality of being female

“Men often ask me, Why are your female characters so paranoid? It’s not paranoia. It’s recognition of their situation.”

— From a 1990 interview with The Paris Review

3. On limiting how her politics influence her characters

“You know the myth: Everybody had to fit into Procrustes’ bed and if they didn’t, he either stretched them or cut off their feet. I’m not interested in cutting the feet off my characters or stretching them to make them fit my certain point of view.”

— From a 1997 interview with Mother Jones

4. On so-called “pretty” works of literature

“I don’t know whether there are any really pretty novels … All of the motives a human being may have, which are mixed, that’s the novelists’ material. … We like to think of ourselves as really, really good people. But look in the mirror. Really look. Look at your own mixed motives. And then multiply that.”

— From a 2010 interview with The Progressive

5. On the artist’s relationship with her fans

“The artist doesn’t necessarily communicate. The artist evokes … [It] actually doesn’t matter what I feel. What matters is how the art makes you feel.”

— From a 2004 interview with The Guardian

6. On the challenges of writing non-fiction

“When I was young I believed that ‘nonfiction’ meant ‘true.’ But you read a history written in, say, 1920 and a history of the same events written in 1995 and they’re very different. There may not be one Truth—there may be several truths—but saying that is not to say that reality doesn’t exist.”

— From a 1997 interview with Mother Jones

7. On poetry

“The genesis of a poem for me is usually a cluster of words. The only good metaphor I can think of is a scientific one: dipping a thread into a supersaturated solution to induce crystal formation.”

— From a 1990 interview with The Paris Review

8. On being labeled an icon

“All these things set a standard of behavior that you don’t necessarily wish to live up to. If you’re put on a pedestal you’re supposed to behave like a pedestal type of person. Pedestals actually have a limited circumference. Not much room to move around.”

— From a 2013 interview with The Telegraph

9. On how we’re all born writers

“[Everyone] ‘writes’ in a way; that is, each person has a ‘story’—a personal narrative—which is constantly being replayed, revised, taken apart and put together again. The significant points in this narrative change as a person ages—what may have been tragedy at 20 is seen as comedy or nostalgia at 40.”

— From a 1990 interview with The Paris Review

10. On the oppression at the center of The Handmaid's Tale

“Nothing makes me more nervous than people who say, ‘It can’t happen here. Anything can happen anywhere, given the right circumstances.” 

— From a 2015 lecture to West Point cadets

11. On the discord between men and women

“‘Why do men feel threatened by women?’ I asked a male friend of mine. … ‘They’re afraid women will laugh at them,’ he said. ‘Undercut their world view.’ … Then I asked some women students in a poetry seminar I was giving, ‘Why do women feel threatened by men?’ ‘They’re afraid of being killed,’ they said.”

— From Atwood’s Second Words: Selected Critical Prose, 1960-1982

12. On the challenges of expressing oneself

“All writers feel struck by the limitations of language. All serious writers.”

— From a 1990 interview with The Paris Review

13. On selfies

“I say they should enjoy it while they can. You’ll be happy later to have taken pictures of yourself when you looked good. It’s human nature. And it does no good to puritanically say, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t be doing that,’ because people do.”

— From a 2013 interview with The Telegraph

14. On the value of popular kids' series (à la Harry Potter and Percy Jackson)

"It put a lot of kids onto reading; it made reading cool. I’m sure a lot of later adult book clubs came out of that experience. Let people begin where they are rather than pretending that they’re something else, or feeling that they should be something else."

— From a 2014 interview with The Huffington Post

15. On why even the bleakest post-apocalyptic novels are, deep down, full of hope

“Any novel is hopeful in that it presupposes a reader. It is, actually, a hopeful act just to write anything, really, because you’re assuming that someone will be around to [read] it.”

— From a 2011 interview with The Atlantic 

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China's New Tianjin Binhai Library is Breathtaking—and Full of Fake Books
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A massive new library in Tianjin, China, is gaining international fame among bibliophiles and design buffs alike. As Arch Daily reports, the five-story Tianjin Binhai Library has capacity for more than 1 million books, which visitors can read in a spiraling, modernist auditorium with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.

Several years ago, municipal officials in Tianjin commissioned a team of Dutch and Japanese architects to design five new buildings, including the library, for a cultural center in the city’s Binhai district. A glass-covered public corridor connects these structures, but the Tianjin Binhai Library is still striking enough to stand out on its own.

The library’s main atrium could be compared to that of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum in New York City. But there's a catch: Its swirling bookshelves don’t actually hold thousands of books. Look closer, and you’ll notice that the shelves are printed with digital book images. About 200,000 real books are available in other rooms of the library, but the jaw-dropping main room is primarily intended for socialization and reading, according to Mashable.

The “shelves”—some of which can also serve as steps or seating—ascend upward, curving around a giant mirrored sphere. Together, these elements resemble a giant eye, prompting visitors to nickname the attraction “The Eye of Binhai,” reports Newsweek. In addition to its dramatic main auditorium, the 36,000-square-foot library also contains reading rooms, lounge areas, offices, and meeting spaces, and has two rooftop patios.

Following a three-year construction period, the Tianjin Binhai Library opened on October 1, 2017. Want to visit, but can’t afford a trip to China? Take a virtual tour by checking out the photos below.

A general view of the Tianjin Binhai Library

People visiting China's Tianjin Binhai Library.

A general view of China's Tianjin Binhai Library.

A woman taking pictures at China's Tianjin Binhai Library.

A man visiting China's Tianjin Binhai Library.

A woman looking at books at China's Tianjin Binhai Library.

A general view of China's Tianjin Binhai Library.

People visiting China's Tianjin Binhai Library.

[h/t Newsweek]


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