Remix Culture: Zombification

For those who cannot stand reading Jane Austen’s 1813 novel, Pride and Prejudice, but are forced into drudging through the muck that is Elizabeth Bennet’s life, Seth Grahame-Smith has a remedy for their pain and suffering!

What better way to experience the life and times of 19th century England? Who cares that zombies aren’t real? They’re zombies! In England! He even spruces up Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy by making them zombie-fighting ninjas!

Consider the mash-up a pound of sugar in an otherwise bitter cup of motor oil that your grandpa swears is coffee.

Smith uses Pride and Prejudice in a totally new and unexpected way! Who would have ever thought to use this boring old novel for something so exciting? Zombies! Ninjas! 19th century British literature!

Good thing Pride and Prejudice is copyright-free. Otherwise, this dude would probably be in a lot of trouble. The majority of the novel remains completely unchanged except the whole zombie thing that actually fits quite nicely with Austen’s plot. He basically piggy backed on Jane Austen’s success as a novelist to perpetuate his own financial gain. Seriously, if the original novel was not as immensely popular as it is, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies would have bombed. Who would want to read about two Victorian ninjas fighting zombies in 19th century England while their tumultuous relationship blossoms into a beautiful marriage? Too bad Jane Austen isn’t alive today to reap the benefits of her revamped novel. She’s probably turning in her grave…. AS A ZOMBIE!

According to the article “Understanding Fair Use” on the University of Minnesota website, the “fifth-factor” is called transformative use. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is transformative use because Seth Grahame-Smith uses “existing content to do unexpected and new things.” The laws are open to argumentation and interpretation, so I suppose if Jane Austen was to rise from her grave she could file a lawsuit. Unfortunately, she would probably lose because of the nature of Fair Use, and her work is clearly cited. Grahame-Smith doesn’t try to trick anyone into thinking he created the original work. He has merely updated it and transformed it for the zombie loving culture. I like to think of it like I think of cover bands. They try to update previous works and end up ruining it and making everyone irritated. On the bright side, Pride and Prejudice couldn’t be more boring for some audiences, so the zombie addition is welcome!

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