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Old 10-22-2013, 01:33 PM   #1
HarryT
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The Austen Project rewrites Jane Austen's classics for modern readers

"The Austen Project" is setting out to rewrite Jane Austen's six classic novels for a modern readership. Each of her novels is being tackled by a different author; the first, which has just been published, is a rewrite of "Sense and Sensibility" by Joanna Trollope, with the next being "Northanger Abbey" which is being adapted by Val McDermid.

For more information, see http://theaustenproject.com/
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Old 10-22-2013, 01:56 PM   #2
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What for? I fail to see the point of this...

And why wouldn't the original texts be apropriate for "a modern readership"?
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Old 10-22-2013, 02:01 PM   #3
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What for? I fail to see the point of this...
To make money
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Old 10-22-2013, 02:03 PM   #4
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I was wondering this too. Is there really a need for it? (I know I can't judge this properly as I am not a native speaker. For me, her language doesn't sound outdated but the English might feel this otherwise.)
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Old 10-22-2013, 02:05 PM   #5
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Joanna Trollope was on this morning's BBC news talking about this. Apparently many modern readers find the Georgian literary style of Austen's novels rather heavy going. Eg the first chapter of "Sense and Sensibility" is a lengthy and rather complex discussion of Wills and Entails, which I can well imagine might be rather off putting for many.
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Old 10-22-2013, 02:45 PM   #6
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There's no need for it, but if people want to buy it that's their business. This sort of thing often gets people upset, thinking that this will replace the original, but the adaptation becomes a footnote. Especially since the original is free, and this isn't.
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Old 10-22-2013, 03:02 PM   #7
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Sounds like another marketing ploy to me. There are plenty of authors who have used Austen's plots as inspiration in all sorts of different time periods and settings.

This is just a nice neat way to market them as a set. And charge money.
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Old 10-22-2013, 03:11 PM   #8
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A ploy connotes some sort of trickery. This is just another adaptation. If people think that it adds value, they will buy it. Otherwise, they are free to download the original for free.
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Old 10-22-2013, 03:31 PM   #9
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This idea bothers me greatly - on a number of levels.

1. We revere authors and their works "as is" - not as we wished they had been written.
2. Reading older works with unfamiliar vocabulary, terms, customs allows us to discover the richness of the past - and is quite easily done now with dictionaries on board ereaders, Wikipedia available on many ereaders, - not to mention reading on a tablet, with its search capabilities.
3. Tackling 'difficult' books expands & enlarges our reading skills, not to mention our vocabularies.
4. Older plot lines simply don't translate to modern times - e.g., the husband hunt, entailment woes, etc. Lost or mislaid letters as a plot device transmuted into misunderstood twitter feeds?
5. As noted several times above, Austen in particular has been already "modernized" by many authors. Why meddle with the originals? If you want modern technology, read one of the existing "additions" based on Austen's characters.

6. The only modern author that I am aware of that can 'channel' Austen's style & sensibility is P.D. James -- her Death Comes to Pemberley was a capable homage that fit seamlessly into Austen's oeuvre.

Sigh ......
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Old 10-22-2013, 03:36 PM   #10
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Joanna Trollope was on this morning's BBC news talking about this. Apparently many modern readers find the Georgian literary style of Austen's novels rather heavy going. Eg the first chapter of "Sense and Sensibility" is a lengthy and rather complex discussion of Wills and Entails, which I can well imagine might be rather off putting for many.
I think there are film adaptation for these people already. These movies shouldn't bee too complex.
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Old 10-22-2013, 04:27 PM   #11
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After a cursory look at the site, I can't tell if they are bringing the characters into a modern setting or they're simply rewriting the book in contemporary language. The second option seems pointless. The first could be fun, like Amy Heckerling's reworking of Emma in Clueless.
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Old 10-22-2013, 04:32 PM   #12
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You know what I WOULD read: Anita Brookner's rewrite of some of Henry James' thornier books. She has his elegant style and acute psychological observation, but her prose doesn't require a chainsaw to hack your way through. It'd never happen, though.
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Old 10-22-2013, 04:36 PM   #13
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After a cursory look at the site, I can't tell if they are bringing the characters into a modern setting or they're simply rewriting the book in contemporary language. The second option seems pointless. The first could be fun, like Amy Heckerling's reworking of Emma in Clueless.
I read the excerpt of Trollope's Sense & Sensibility, and it takes place in a modern setting. It's been too long since I attempted to read the original for me to provide any sort of comparison, but I rather enjoyed the excerpt. (I was never able to enjoy Austen.) I would have pre-ordered it but decided to wait, as I've pretty much shot my entertainment budget for the rest of the year already.
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Old 10-22-2013, 04:43 PM   #14
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I would have pre-ordered it but decided to wait, as I've pretty much shot my entertainment budget for the rest of the year already.
...and it's not even Black Friday yet. Whatever will you do?
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Old 10-22-2013, 05:04 PM   #15
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...and it's not even Black Friday yet. Whatever will you do?
I don't know, but I imagine it will result in redefining "entertainment" to achieve some sort of loophole to work with.
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