cura librorum

Open Letter to Quirk Books
January 20, 2010, 01:30
Filed under: Thoughts | Tags: , ,

January 20, 2010

Dear Quirk Books,

I would like to take the time to express my dismay and disappointment at the treatment of invaluable literary titles who now lie suffering and blasphemed in your hands. These books and authors have done nothing to you, nor have their readers caused anything that could merit derision of this sort. Satire is a tricky genre, and as the traditional satirists such as Jonathan Swift and Alexander Pope would know, it is a sort of mockery of both the reading public and the literature itself. It is done with education; complexity, exploration in mind.

But you, dear sirs and ma’ams, have gone too far. You have slandered the name of author and brought low entire centuries of readers who have treated these texts with respect and love, and stripped them of their elegance and social relevance. But perhaps, this is exactly what makes it socially relevant. Perhaps it’s a gesture at its applicability to the period when it was written or its applicability now, or to grotesque humanoid imaginings. Then, now, and future… but still, I cannot bring myself to respect the project as a whole. The worst for me is that it makes literary sensibility nothing but irony and parody; a chance to be mocked. Is this the future of literary tradition?

So please, I beg of you. No more Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Cease the Sense & Sensibility and Sea Monsters. And refrain, if it is at all within your power, from Android Karenina. The day that such volumes dominate the market is indeed a doomsday. Pray that it does not foretell a darker shadow to come; a day when there is naught but irony, attempted humor and originality, and utter disregard…



2 Comments so far
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I haven’t read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, although I did enjoy reading Stefanie’s commentary (from So Many Books) when she read it last year, I think. I saw Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters on the shelf at my local bookstore the other day and my only thought was, “Like it isn’t hard enough to get good lit in English in Switzerland sometimes and they spent the money to import such a waste of ink.”

Your letter made me laugh, however, so thank you.

Comment by verbivore

I won’t deny that I find the idea of doing it amusing. But what I find sort of… weird is this strange cultural displacement of Jane Austen. Nowadays she’s just sort of placed into the genre of either “chick flick” what with Mr. Darcy and all, or “wow cool, they courted back then?” There’s sort of a “how cute” factor in there. Either way, we’ll see what the future holds for Austen lovers? Thanks for commenting!

Comment by itssaars

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