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Wayne Josephson is the author of Emma and the Vampires, released last August and is a retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma.
You have the chance to win a copy of this book at the end of Wayne’s post, so don’t forget to enter!
Are Mashups Dead–or Undead?
Do mashups serve any real purpose other than to annoy the literary purists? My mashup does. Emma and the Vampires makes Jane Austen’s classic readable for young adults–and maybe for grown-up readers as well.
Up until now, mashups have merely injected zombies, werewolves, and vampires into the original prose of the classics. But read the comments on Amazon: “I loved the zombie part, but I couldn’t understand the Pride and Prejudice part.”
The fact is, most people can’t comprehend the classics without an MA in Literature. That is regrettable. There is a reason these books have been continuously published for two hundred years–they have something important to say.
The original Emma is an absolute delight, with a valuable life lesson about treating people kindly. But all this is obscured in five hundred pages of murky frustration for the modern reader.
So I rewrote Emma to make it more readable.
I gently edited the original text, word by word, sentence by sentence, and page by page. I replaced arcane words with more updated ones–approbation became approval. I streamlined the prose and rearranged passages to flow more smoothly, removing the stumbling blocks that cause a reader to stop dead in her tracks and slam the book shut in frustration.
But I retained Jane Austen’s original voice. So my Emma feels like Austen’s book–because it still is Austen’s book. I just made it more readable.
Then I turned the gentlemen of Highbury into vampires, at the suggestion of my teenage daughter, an avid fan of the Twilight series. The result is a mashup that, quite literally, invites young adults to enjoy the classics and, more importantly, not to fear them.
In high school, I feared the classics. I glazed over the pages of Moby Dick and The Scarlet Letter, read the Cliff Notes instead, and got C’s on the exams.
Recently, my high school son was assigned The Scarlet Letter. But he got an A. Why? Because I rewrote it for him. Chapter by chapter, he read my version, then the original.
I asked him how he liked it. “Pretty sick,” he replied. That means cool among today’s teenagers—another arcane word that has been replaced.
I was on a roll. I had a bone to pick with my past. So I rewrote Moby Dick—all eight hundred pages. With the brooding obsession of Captain Ahab, I conquered my nemesis, the White Whale.
Then I rewrote Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice. And now I’m halfway through The Odyssey.
Am I insane? No, because my life and world view have been broadened immeasurably. And now I can feel comfortable peppering my conversation with phrases like “to my great horror and mortification” and I can think of sunrise as “rosy-fingered Dawn, the child of morning.”
My books have been published as Readable Classics. The reviews on Amazon are glowing–even the literary purists like them. And students can use them as study aids to help them understand the originals.
So, back to my original question. Are mashups dead? No, not if they open the door to the fabulous world of literature that is just waiting to be discovered.
What is the next big trend? Perhaps the mashup of a classic with another classic. And to get the ball rolling, I have just completed Pride, Prejudice and Moby Dick. Just picture Mr. Darcy sharing a hammock and a tomahawk pipe with the savage cannibal Queequeg. Isn’t that enticing enough to make you want to read the originals?
You can read more about Wayne and his books here:
I have ONE copy of “Emma and the Vampires” to give away courtesy of Sourcebooks.
All you have to do to enter is the following:
3. Leave a comment for the author
4. One entry per person please
This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL and ends 31st Oct!