A lot of authors have dabbled with the ideas of Jane Austen and her books. We have had Bridget Jone’s Diary by Helen Fielding, The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler and Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rogler (not to mention Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Ben H. Winters and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith) but now publisher HarperCollins has commissioned six authors to rewrite Jane Austen’s novels putting them into a contemporary setting.
The Austen Project began last year with Sense and Sensibility written by Joanna Trollope. If you are studying the original novel by Jane Austen this year, I would recommend reading the modern version for fun and comparison after your exam, as I found the new version a light and easy read which left no lingering thoughts. The second book just published by the Austen Project is Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid , who is best known as a Scottish crime writer. The third book to appear will be a rewrite of Emma by Alexander McCall Smith. Is this a good thing do you think? Should we rewrite Jane Austen? Are we so bereft of anything new to say and think, or is this just part of a long tradition of retelling classic tales?