When I think of Jane Austen, I think of tea parties, manners, etiquette. Oh yes, and Colin Firth,the most perfect Mr. Darcy, amen and amen. Jane Austen invokes this glorious femininity, the elegance of high society, the beauty of romance.
Yet, something was missing.
At first, I didn’t realize this oversight. I mean how could one notice anything with Miss Woodhouse matching her friends to the nearest eligible bachelors. Or Mrs Bennett’s not so subtle gossiping about her daughters and their fine marriage prospects. Maybe, we have fallen down too many hills and must be persuaded to try again. We listen to the litany of woes of Fannie or read too many gothic novels and now imagine horrors unspeakable. Silently, we tell Marianne to put a damn coat on before she traipses about the countryside, or we want to console Elinor and tell her Edward will marry her in the end.
Yet, something was missing….what could it be? Oh yes, I know…
How ever did Jane Austen and Zombies become bedfellows? Perhaps, the answer comes from our desperate need to escape reality. Since 2007, our faith in the realistic, the familiar has been shattered. Our economy tanked. Our confidence and ego wounded. We needed a world in which we could vanquish our fears. But Jane Austen’s novels didn’t help us slay our inner demons.
This is why we awakened the undead Jane.
Of course, this does beg the question—why not just write a new Zombie thriller? Why Jane Austen? I think Jane Austen’s novels allows us to keep the familiar near—what we know is stable, comfortable. Then, we can fight out demons in this playground of Victorian England. These revamped Zombie-fied novels allow us to escape into a world of clearly defined roles. Jane’s world, both in her novels and the Zombie packed ones, operates with a sense of order, goodness, and a clear enemy. There is good and evil, and we know it by its foul smell and eating of brains.
Tell us what you think: Why so many Jane Austen and monster novels?
* Photo: Mist in Queensbury churchyard 31.10.2010 by Tim Green aka atoach, obtained through Flickr.