For a grey Friday: in honour of the fall movie release of Austenland (appropriately enough based on a book) about a fictional Jane Austen theme-park experience, I decided to round up the strangest iterations of Jane Austen in popular culture I could find. (Also, if Austenland doesn’t do it for you, and you want to get a non-fictional idea of what being sent back to the Regency Era might be like, there’s always the British reality show Regency House Party. It is *awesome*.)
1. Video games
A whole site dedicated to “video games inspired by the world of Jane Austen.” I have yet to try “Regency Dress-up.”
2. Hip hop
No one is quite sure why the Jane Austen hip hop movie failed. However, the announcement that it would be penned by the screenwriter of Menace II Society led to some great suggested titles, including Emma II Society and Emminemma.
3. Science Fiction & Fantasy
You may have seen Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, or Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, or Jane Bites Back. Or maybe you’ve heard of the Jane Austen with magic novels. But did you know Elton John has plans to produce Pride and Predator? According to Variety, “it veers from the traditional period costume drama when an alien crash lands and begins to butcher the mannered protags, who suddenly have more than marriage and inheritance to worry about.” This is, apparently, real (as opposed to Jane Austen’s Fight Club, which was only ever an incredibly wonderful spoof, or the more low-budget Real Housewives of Jane Austen).
4. Smartphone Aps
Apparently the “the Austen community rallied around the Kickstarter Campaign in February to help build a smartphone application devoted to tech-savvy Jane fans.” Now you can download it for free. Or you can download and read Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine. Or be old-fashioned, and buy a regular subscription.
Pride and Prejudice finger puppets by HenAnd Chick (Etsy)
Enter Jane Austen into Etsy’s system. Almost 5000 items ship to Canada, everything from an iphone case, to Austen-themed party kits, to Austen murder mystery party game instructions, to license plates. Also, lots of gowns, bonnets, mugs, t-shirts, fridge magnets, and jewelry.
7. Murder Mysteries
There are untold Austen sequels, revisions, and riffs, and more than one murder mystery. Stephanie Barron has penned a whole series featuring Austen as sleuth; Carrie Bebris’s mysteries feature the Darcys.
Given the sheer volume of Austen-inspired movies, it should be no surprise that Bollywood isn’t exempt. What makes Bollywood fun is that there are musical numbers both like and unlike anything that ever happened at Pemberley.
I don’t even have to look. I’m pretty sure all of Jane Austen’s novels and characters have their own Facebook pages. There are also Jane Austen games, a “Which Jane Austen Lady Are You” app, and more.
There are a surprising number of Austen-themed Twitter accounts. Lydia Bennet definitely has her moments: “@TheGWickham you wont answe your phone I don’t know what else to do just call me okay pleas egeorge”
You can follow up on more through the popularly unreliable Wikipedia site, but it is hardly complete. Feel free to cite others in the comments section. While you are thinking you might take this quiz and find out which Jane Austen heroine you are.
Any great ones I’m missing?