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Project for six of Jane Austen's works to be "re-interpreted"...

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Project for six of Jane Austen's works to be "re-interpreted"...

Old 10-04-13, 04:24 AM
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Project for six of Jane Austen's works to be "re-interpreted"...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainm...C news article
Crime writer Alexander McCall Smith has become the latest contemporary writer invited to reinterpret the work of Jane Austen for a modern audience.

The Edinburgh-based author said being asked to write a 21st Century version of Emma was "like being asked to eat a box of delicious chocolates".

McCall Smith's take on Emma will be published next autumn, 199 years after the original's debut.

Joanna Trollope's version of Sense and Sensibility is due out this month.

Val McDermid's interpretation of Northanger Abbey will follow next year, while a new version of Pride and Prejudice by US writer Curtis Sittenfeld comes out in 2015.

The names of two more writers who are taking part in the six-book Austen Project will be announced later this year.

"Writing a contemporary version of Emma is both a privilege and a real challenge," said McCall Smith, best known as the author of The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.

"Not only is Emma one of the finest novels in the English language, but it is possibly Jane Austen's most thought-provoking and interesting book."

Trollope said it was "wonderful to hear" that McCall Smith was taking on Emma, a heroine she said would "benefit" from being "handled by a man".

The project's authors have to stick with their individual novel's existing plot and characters, but are free to make some changes.

Emma tells of an immature young woman whose attempts to play matchmaker backfire both on herself and those she attempts to bring together.
I can understand adding, say, to the James Bond or Sherlock Holmes canon of tales but actually cold-bloodedly contracting for a process of re-writing the classics like this seems to be a wrong-headed idea.

Maybe prequels/sequels are OK, or writing from another point of view. Likewise with something done for fun, like the recent Zombie-fication that we've seen. And, to be honest, I'm not expecting to read any of those any time soon.

While I was looking into this I encountered a list of original-author sequels, one or two of which I'd not known about: http://www.abebooks.co.uk/books/foll...-sequels.shtml
Clearly, although the originator has the absolute right to revisit their work, one may wonder whether this is always wise. And that is probably another thread!
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