Friday, February 6, 2009
Purple Prose or Making Pride and Prejudice X-Rated
I'd love to know why, oh why, new authors have decided to sex up Pride and Prejudice. I really don't want to read about 'Darcy's quivering member' or 'Elizabeth's swelling bosom.' To me I want what Cristina and Owen Hunt have on "Grey's Anatomy": The Victorian Love Story or be it as it really is: the Regency Love Story. Side-long glances. Hands barely touching. A spoken word. A dance. A look. A kiss on the palm, which was considered quite intimate.
I don't know how much you know about Regency times, but they were quite different as to male/female relations. Single men and women could not correspond. They could not be alone for any length of time. Forget even a chaste kiss or perhaps a quick feel; these, if seen by anyone else, would surely get you engaged with a quick special license wedding sure to make people talk and make you a nine-month wonder. Plus if you danced with a man more than three times in a night you were practically engaged. I shudder to think of the men I would have had to marry because of some junior high dances! Rules had to be obeyed else you faced ostracism. So why have modern day authors taken to sexing up Pride and Prejudice?
The new "Seducing Mr. Darcy" has a little Jasper Fforde ala Eyre Affair about it where a woman who seduces Darcy while dreaming about him in a special massage parlour changes the ending of Pride and Prejudice. Then there's "Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife" and yes I realize they are married, but I still don't want to read about how Lizzie won't take a bath because she doesn't want to 'wash Darcy off her' or how she wants Darcy to make love to her after a rape attempt and Darcy is all 'Honey, I just killed three men; I really can't get it up right now.' It's so not what the whole point is. I realize they have an amazing love and connection and that would leave to an amazing physical connection, but please leave the throbbing bratwurst in your pants and in your brains. Let us use our own imagination instead of spelling it out for us!
Currently I am reading "Affinity and Affection" by Susan Adriani. The opening scene is a lustful dream of Darcy's involving Elizabeth, which then turns into an awful scene where Elizabeth catches Darcy aroused. Now I know that in the 1995 Colin Firth Jennifer Ehle version of Pride and Prejudice, which is the best, I apologize David Rintoul lovers, when Darcy comes across Elizabeth as she's walking to Netherfield the stage directions read "pretend you have an erection", but I don't see that. In fact most people don't even know that's what Darcy is thinking.
Take this section for example: 'An engaging smile overspread his handsome features as he beheld her -- her cheeks aglow from the exertion of her morning exercise. It took less than an instant for his mind to begin contemplating how she might look after having partaken of another form of exercise -- that of writhing beneath him in ecstasy as he plundered her enticing lips and pleasured in her inviting body; claiming her -- no, branding her -- as he so fervently wished to do, forever as his own.' I don't know about you, but don't people normally writhe in agony? Also isn't plundering considered a bad thing? Vikings and Genghis Khan did it and we don't look on them with favoritism. Finally, I have never been branded, but shoving a hot poker on my skin to claim me as yours? That sounds like it hurts! I'm not so sure I'm fond of this.
'The Bingley's and the Darcy's" by Marsha Altman handles it the best. The book takes place after the sisters' marriages and involves a lovely book we know as the Kama Sutra. While this could get very dirty very quickly, it doesn't. It only hints at what happens. The book is actually quite funny and very tongue in cheek. It has a wit that even I admire.
So future writers of Pride and Prejudice sequels I ask of you this: let readers use their imaginations and in no way shape or form let me read about the one-eyed purple-headed yogurt slinging monster of Darcy's or Elizabeth's dewy flower of a woman's pleasure and pain.(Pain because of Eve....even in sex scenes she haunts us. !) Really if I want that I'll get a subscription to Playboy, which I would only read for the articles!