Jane Austen is one of history’s most beloved authors, and although readers today still love indulging in classics such as Pride and Prejudice, The Austen Project aims to re-write all her most famous works.
The goal of the project is to make Austen’s work more accessible to a modern audience. For some, the lengthy sentences and outdated vocabulary make the books seem boring and ancient. But those who are fans of Austen know that her stories continue to contain meaning, truth, and beauty even in the twenty-first century. It’s time to share that with everyone!
Curtis Sittenfeld is one of six contemporary authors tasked with updating these cherished stories with a modern twist, introducing the literary world to Eligible, a Pride and Prejudice remake that takes place in 2013 Cincinnati.
As of May 2016, The Austen Project has seen the release of four Jane Austen remakes, including Eligble. The other novels are Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope, Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid and Emma by Alexander McCall Smith. The final two novels, remakes of Persuasion and Mansfield Park, are to complete the lineup of Austen’s works. The project aims to let the authors express their own styles throughout the novels, creating wholly unique takes on classic stories. The dynamics of social class, etiquette and romance have drastically changed, so the authors have more freedom to explore emotional and societal factors that complicate relationships.
Sittenfeld, the bestselling author who also wrote American Wife and Prep, is a huge fan of Jane Austen’s original novel. Although her first impulse was to refuse when asked to join the Austen Project, she reread the book and decided to dive in. Eligible features the same basic formula that draws readers into the world of Pride and Prejudice, but Jane and Elizabeth are much older than their original counterparts to make their parents’ view of them as old maids make sense in a modern context. The novel uses reality TV, hot-button issues and humor to create a fun story that holds its own while staying true to its roots.
Although some readers have mixed feelings about The Austen Project, the novels released so far have received generally positive reviews. For avid Jane Austen fans, these stories are certainly worth a closer look. To discover even more unique takes on existing stories…