Pride And Promiscuity
by Arielle Eckstut and Dennis Ashton, historical (2001)
Fireside, $12.00, ISBN 0-6848-7265-X

I understand that this book has drawn dour, humorless Jane Austen groupies out of their BBC video collection to rip this book for historical inaccuracies and bad Austen parody. Hmm, if you ask me, this book has done its job if those weirdos are so worked up. Don't they get it? This book, subtitled The Lost Sex Scenes Of Jane Austen is meant to be bad. It's a parody, and a ridiculous hoot at that.

Supposedly, our Ms Eckstut and Mr Ashton, who being American Anglophiles are always more British than the British could ever dream of becoming, discover the long lost scenes of Jane Austen's books while holidaying in some British country inn. Horror - those are actually love scenes.

Jane Austen is an erotica author, and probably great granny of Emma Holly for all we know. Gasp!

But it's er, true. This book is verified by the esteemed Professor Elfrida Drummond, an expert in all things Austen and author of the radical Austen treatise Pride And Punctuation: Dashes, Semicolons, and Inverted Commas: Austenian Punctuation Conventions And Their Meaning, says so. She isn't too fond of Anglophiles that much though, as evident from her reaction when Ms Eckstut and Mr Ashton seek her opinion on the lost scenes.

... I have grown, if not exactly inured, at least somewhat familiar with these sorts of breathless announcements from total strangers. These people who made them were usually nonprofessional, and sometimes rather deranged, Austen fanatics who after spending years rereading Pride And Prejudice (or, more likely, watching the BBC miniseries version) had decided the novel was, in fact, a disguised allegory of the Life of Christ...

And so here they are, the lost scenes, and boy are they lurid and ridiculous. Who would've thought that dim Jane "Pride And Prejudice" Bennet got trapped into a lesbian threesome with the Bingley sisters? Or that Elizabeth Bennet is such a pro at fellatio? Wow, Mr Darcy could barely walk. And bad, bad Mr Collins get a taste of Charlotte Lucas' whip.

Then there's Sense And Sensibility, where Elinor, sensible Elinor, does something really bad with Edward and the stallion, driving Marianne "I Played With Willoughby's Willow" Dashwood speechless. Sisters, tsk tsk.

Do you know that the original play in Mansfield Park is called Curious Cousins? It's that or Three Lonesome Deck-Hands, or A Romance Of The West Indies which the men balk at playing. Poor Fanny plays a French maid that everyone gets mean at and rip her clothes off in the end. Awww.

But the best, I find, is the stories from Emma. Emma, driven into frenzy by the excitement of her matchmaking successes, is lucky she didn't go blind. I don't think I can see Gwyneth Paltrow's face without going green again. And then there's Frank "Sir, would you be so kind as to show me how to manipulate this wonderfully long and admirably smooth weapon?" Churchill and Mr Knightley in a billiard game. Jeremy Northam and Ewan McGregor in a slash scene is... wow... er, never mind.

"I have been awaiting the chance to puzzle you for some time now, Mr Knightley. (This is Frankie - Mrs G) I have had so little time to compose - you see, I came here most unexpectedly, out of restlessness, not planning. I am sure you know the sort of state I am referring to."

"No, I am afraid I do not."

"Unimportant, really. Right then, here it is:

I will tell you now
for all 'tis worth
you are looking for
a patch of earth

With exclamation
to the letter
myself nor I
could do better

It is the first of three
that tells this
tail (a pun - or rather a clue, sir, that you shall see when I write it down) and completes the word
to great avail!"

Mr Knightley, though little interested or experienced in puzzles, was adept at figuring them. The first stanza was the most difficult. "A patch of earth" - was it a divot? - or was it sod? The next two lines were clearly the letter "o" and the next two could only be "me" - "o-me." Mr Knightley tried putting the three altogether: "divot-o-me." It made no sense. He replaced "divot" with his second thought and tried again.

This book isn't explicit, but there's plenty of incest, threesome, and other nasty stuff as well as the usual whitebread kinky thingies. It's all in jolly, dirty, good-natured fun. Sometimes this book isn't as smart as it tries to be, but all in all, this book is naughty and irreverent. A perfect novelty read.

Rating: 85

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