This week I'm taking my opening from the Dancing with Mr. Darcy: Stories Inspired by Jane Austen and Chawton House. I decided to go with the start of both the Forward and the Introduction.
Forward by Sarah Waters:
From Bridget Jones's Diary to Bollywood's Bride and Prejudice. from the Regency-honor mash-up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to the forthcoming sci-fi film Pride and Predator, it seems that Jane Austen's work is being appropriated by contemporary culture in ever more playful and creative ways. The fact that most of the modern interest in Austen converges on just one of her novels, however, suggest that the role she plays for us might actually be dwindling, even as her presence around us seems to be on the increase.Introduction by Rebecca Smith:
I fell in love with the novels of Jane Austen when I was thirteen. I remember sitting in a 1950s prefab that was more greenhouse than classroom. ... The school was in Dorking, and the view from the playing fields was of Box Hill. ... There was no Mr Darcy. I don't know if the boys were reluctant to dance I didn't go to the discos.
Traumatized by her parents’ decision to give up the rectory in Hampshire where she grew up, Austen had been unable to write for ten years. During that time she moved from one rented property to another and it was only when her brother Edward offered her a permanent home in his Chawton House Estate that she had the peace and security to pick up her pen again. All of her novels were written or published while she lived there.
Dancing with Mr. Darcy is the very best short fiction inspired by Jane Austen or Chawton House as judged by Sarah Waters, bestselling author of Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith. In addition to featuring the winning piece of fiction and nineteen other stories, this anthology contains introductions from Sarah Waters, as well as from Rebecca Smith, the great-great-great-great-great niece of Jane Austen.