Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

What a spankingly good idea

Classic stuff: but would Matthew MacFadyen and Keira Knightley relish a sexier Pride and Prejudice?

As we all suspected it would, one best-selling book has prompted 50 shades of commercial cashing-in on the sex factor.

This week comes news that a publishing firm is now set to give literary classics what's described as an erotic makeover.

Novels by the likes of Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen are to be "spiced up." (Shades of that New Labour work of fiction, the Dodgy Dossier.)

Reports reveal that Jane Eyre will have "explosive sex" (jeepers!) with Mr Rochester. In Wuthering Heights, Catherine will "enjoy" bondage sessions with Heathcliff and, following the same elementary logic, Sherlock Holmes will take Dr Watson as a lover.

Is nothing sacred?

Of course it could be argued that a loosening up of, say, Mr D'Arcy may be no bad thing. But where will this end?

Ebenezer Scrooge paying for high-class call girls? Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple investigating tantric sex?

It may all be written, as the publishers claim, in the 'voice' of the author. But let's just say, you wouldn't have great expectation that any of it is likely to enhance the literary genius of the original.

Will it sell, though? Short answer - probably.

Nothing succeeds like excess and given the remarkable profits being raked in by the Fifty Shades trilogy you can bet your last pair of handcuffs that the publishing industry in general, will now embrace any permutation on the "erotic romance" theme.

Even if it means taking advantage of prim classics.

Ms Austen must be turning in her grave.

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