Fifty Shades Further: How “Mommy Porn” is Screwing with Literature

My friend and top-Beta, Laura, posted this link on her Facebook tonight:

Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice and Sherlock Holmes to be Republished with ‘Explosive Sex Scenes’

Part of me, a large part, really hopes this is some horrible, horrible prank. The article itself induces feelings from extreme rage, the desire to cry in a corner and rage-quitting life. I am undecided, so I blog.

I know why this happening: Fifty Shades was such an unprecedented success that the pub world wants in on the cash cow, and what better means than to take public domain Classics and add ‘missing’ scenes.

Here’s the real kicker for me:

Some original fans of Jane Eyre might be unhappy to discover that the female protagonist has “explosive sex with Mr Rochester” in the publisher’s erotic edition.

In Wuthering Heights, heroine Catherine Earnshaw “enjoys bondage sessions” with Heathcliff while sleuth Sherlock Holmes has a sexual relationship with his sidekick Dr Watson in the new e-book.

I’m angry about a number of points regarding all statements:

1) These books don’t NEED sex; it’s already there.

If you read them, really read them, you’ll see that Jane Austen using the dancing as metaphors for sex. Where else do you see characters interacting, touching, conversing freely? How about Wuthering Heights, where there’s practically necrophilia in addition to an emotionally and physically abusive relationship? How’s that to satisfy your twisted desires?

In Jane Eyre‘s case, THE ENTIRE POINT is that she wants Rochester, but STILL SAYS NO because she’s unwilling to take part in an immoral union. He offers her mere companionship and she still says no. Honestly, I can’t believe there would be any raunchy sex after what happens to him at the novel’s end.

2) “Erotic” sex scenes are historically inaccurate.

Theses scenes aren’t “missing” because there were never originally there. In Regency England, that sort of thing wasn’t discussed. Why do you think there were two endings to the Kyra Knightly version of Pride and Prejudice?  Even in England, in 2005, the film ended with Darcy asking for Elizabeth’s hand. They added the ending where they kiss on the roof of Pemberly in America to appeal to this demographic. Sex happens. It’s just not widely publicized. See point #1. Also, there wouldn’t be bondage on the moors. Though depicted in paintings as early as the 1630s, bondage didn’t become a widely-known sexual thing until 1930, at least as far as research has shown me. If wrong, please enlighten.

3) It’s basically bastardizing these novels, especially for the Brontes.

The Sisters B originally had their manuscripts published under the names Currer Bell, Ellis Bell and Acton Bell. Why? Because the books they wrote were too “dark, erotic and unseemly” for women to have penned. They then had a hell of time proving three women, in fact, wrote those books.

Bronte Sisters Power Dolls, anyone?

Sure, if the Brontes were alive today, I’m sure they’d be all over the erotic fiction. For the 19th century, they were. They were some truly badass bitches.

4) It’s a cheap way to promote Classics people already read.

It’s basically fan fiction. Again. And it’s not even the whole story. They claim they won’t alter the author’s voice or the text, but that’s exactly what they’re doing! The original author never wrote these scenes. Adding them in changes the text. You honestly expect me to belive you can write 19th century bondage? Does that mean you’ll be painstakingly researching the lexicon of that era? Guess what, words you think are 19th century probably aren’t. I’d be interested to see exactly how one describes auto-erotic asphyxiation like a proper lady.

“But I’d like to see some naked Mr. Darcy!” Wouldn’t we all? You know that’s why there’s that Colin-Firth-swimming-in-lake-and-emerging-soaking-wet scene in the BBC film.

 And guess what. You can! Darcy Takes a Wife, by Linda Berdoll, is  basically nonstop Darcy/Liz sexcapades. There are plenty of “erotic” novels. How about The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber? It’s a daunting 900-page read, but the story centers around a 19-year-old prostitute named Sugar, and let me tell you, it’s not shy.

If there’s anything that should be fic’ed and reproduced, I’m going Jane Austen’s Fight Club.

“We were no longer good society.”

EDIT: Oh god, it gets worse. The Sun released this article, naming other books to be fucked up fuckedwith… ruined.

Northanger Abbey and 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea have also been given a racy rewrite with Dracula, Treasure Island, Wuthering Heights, The Three Musketeers and the Phantom Of The Opera set to be released too.

I’m going to die now. Don’t even get me started on Phantom of the Opera and the endless burning of buildings that will ensue if there is Erik/Christine. There sure as hell better not be Erik/Raoul. A disaster beyond your imagination will, undoubtedly, occur.

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5 Comments

Filed under Writing

5 responses to “Fifty Shades Further: How “Mommy Porn” is Screwing with Literature

  1. Ug this is horrible. Why do so many readers having to have it all spelled out for them so they can avoid thinking and imagining. This is really taking things to a new low.

    • onegirlvaudeville

      I agree. It’s taking good literature and dumbing it down and marketing the sex. It’s not about the sex. ACD never paired Watson and Sherlock together. I’m sure Liz had the upper hand in Darcy’s bedroom, but that isn’t the point of the story. It was never the point. Adding sex because sex sells is basically throwing dirt on stories that have lasted generations, burying the reason they endured.

      • It’s such a shame that they are even allowed to do this. I totally agree with you.

      • onegirlvaudeville

        Sadly, all the books are now public domain. There’s no legal way to stop someone from adding things. What bothers me most is the audacity to take the original story and ADD these scenes in, rather than making a modern adaptation. Of course, I’d still be against it, but it would make more scene than throwing in anachronistic BDSM relationships. Things like this encourage people to read for the wrong reasons.

  2. This is awful. Those books have become classics because they are well-written, timeless tales. If someone wants to write an erotic novel based on those characters (like Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife), then fine. But to rewrite the books and release them under the same name is a shame. I’m sure Jane would have some choice words to say on the subject. She was, after all, an apt observer of human folly.

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