Of all the authors chosen to be part of One Book, One Chicago, no other can match Jane Austen in terms of the number of spin-offs, fan fiction, sequels, prequels and takeoffs that her books have inspired. Indeed, true Austen fans have no problem identifying themselves as “Janeites,” referring to “the self-consciously idolatrous enthusiasm for ‘Jane’ and every detail relative to her.” There is even a Jane Austen Society, with an active Chicago chapter.
Why is Jane Austen so popular? Eudora Welty once wrote that Austen’s novels withstand time because “they pertain not to the outside world but to the interior, to what goes on perpetually in the mind and heart.” Perhaps, for these reasons, Austen’s work continues to fascinate, entertain and inspire us.
For example, let’s just look at the fan fiction that has been inspired by Pride and Prejudice.
There are many examples of sequels to Pride and Prejudice, including: Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife , Nights and Days at Pemberly, or Two Shall Become One.
Darcy’s Story and The Private Diary of Mr. Darcy are Pride and Prejudice told from a whole new perspective.
Anyone prefer to read mysteries? There are a few of those as well. Check out The Phantom of Pemberlyor the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery Series by Carrie Bebris.
And then there is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, examples of the newest genre popping up in fan fiction - parody fiction.
Lastly let’s not forget the film adaptations! The BBC mini-series from 1995, starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle is a faithful adaptation; as is Pride and Prejudice (2005), starring Keira Knightley, Donald Sutherland, and Matthew MacFadyen; and Bride and Prejudice (2004) is based on Pride and Prejudice with a Bollywood twist!
Many of these spin-offs, fan fiction, and film adaptations can be found at your local branch of the Chicago Public Library.