Vampire Darcy: The Impossible Romantic Hero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In recent years, two of the most popular literary fandoms of the new century have converged: the cults of Jane Austen and the vampire. No doubt spurred by the runaway commercial success of both Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series (2005–08) and Seth Grahame‐Smith's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2009), as well their cinematic adaptations, a number of paranormal Austen mash‐ups hit the market this last decade or so. Zombies, aliens, vampires, and werewolves have all invaded the previously polite and (mostly) chaste literary terrain associated with the name Jane Austen. Vampires in particular have appeared in different stories and guises: Austen's Emma Woodhouse is recast as a vampire slayer in Wayne Josephson's Emma and the Vampires (2010); John Thorpe is refashioned as a hunted vampire in Colleen Gleason's novella “Northanger Castle” (as featured in the collection Bespelling Jane Austen, 2010); Austen herself is reimagined as a Georgian vampire hunter in Janet Mullany's Jane and the Damned (2010) and as a modern vampire living in upstate New York in Michael Thomas Ford's Jane Bites Back (2010); and the imagined threat of vampires lingers in Val McDermid's rewriting of Northanger Abbey (2014). But it is the paranormal retelling of Austen's Pride and Prejudice (1813), with the irrepressibly alluring Fitzwilliam Darcy rewritten as a vampiric romantic hero, that has proven the most popular approach, as seen in Amanda Grange's Mr. Darcy, Vampyre (2009); Regina Jeffers's Vampire Darcy's Desire (2009); Susan Krinard's “Blood and Prejudice” (Bespelling Jane Austen, 2010); and Colette L. Saucier's Pulse and Prejudice (2012).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)829-849
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Popular Culture
Volume53
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Jane Austen
  • Vampires
  • Mr Darcy
  • Gothic
  • Romance

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