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Sun Dec 04 22:26:43 SAST 2016

Prejudice in marketing Pride

Andrew Donaldson | 2013-08-14 07:43:47.0
Andrew Donaldson

Short, sharp guidance and observations from a journalist with attitude. All books available from Exclusives

IF YOU READ ONE BOOK THIS WEEK

'Dead Man's Time', by Peter James (Orion) R220

THE ninth in the Detective Superintendent Roy Grace series offers more evidence why James's Brighton-based detective is the most popular cop in modern British police procedurals after Ian Rankin's John Rebus. This is solid, deep-into-the-night page-turning stuff: an old woman is left dying in a vicious robbery in which millions of pounds of valuables have been taken, but her powerful family only want one item returned, a wristwatch, and will stop at nothing to get it back, even murder.

THE ISSUE

The Pride and Prejudice bicentenary year has not been without incident. Last month the Bank of England announced it would be featuring Jane Austen on the £10 note, which sparked a barrage of hate on Twitter, including rape and death threats. There was also the matter of the gold and turquoise ring owned by Austen which US singer and actress Kelly Clarkson bought at an auction last year, but has been prevented from taking out of the UK by the British government.

The bookshelves have also been seeing action. There are two new cultural studies - Among the Janeites: A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom, by Deborah Yaffe, and Global Jane Austen: Pleasure, Passion, and Possessiveness in the Jane Austen Community, edited by Laurence Raw and Robert G Dryden. Forthcoming fiction includes Jo Baker's Longbourn, which is a P&P from the perspective of the servants, and, of course, Mad About the Boy, Helen Fielding's new Bridget Jones novel, which is - obviously - a modern-day adaptation of P&P with added booze, fags and gormless texting.

Also coming is rom-com Austenland, the film based on the 2007 Shannon Hale novel of the same name, which is about a single American woman obsessed with P&P who travels to a British resort called Austenland in which the Regency era is recreated. The film's producers have reportedly taken Austen heroine Emma's immortal words to heart - "One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other" - and have excluded men from their marketing plans altogether.

CRASH COURSE

Those men who feel left out by the above may wish to console themselves with another new P&P-themed title - Emily Brand's Mr Darcy's Guide to Courtship: The Secrets of Seduction from Jane Austen's Most Eligible Bachelor.

THE BOTTOM LINE

"Children who grow up understanding that their mother's world doesn't solely revolve around theirs are much the better for it. In my opinion. That is to say, I think it makes them less self-centred, more self-reliant and, well, better feminists." - I Don't Know Why She Bothers: Guilt-Free Motherhood For Thoroughly Modern Women, by Daisy Waugh (W&N)

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