The first paragraph of Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance – Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem! is hard not to love, even if its first sentence butchers Jane Austen’s:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains. Never was this truth more plain than during the recent attacks at Netherfield Park, in which a household of eighteen was slaughtered and consumed by a horde of the living dead.
The second sentence is hilarious for its dissonance from the original. Its high-brow formal tone combined with its low-brow horror resonance is sweet, but the first sentence is more nonsensical than anything else: wouldn’t a zombie not not in possession of brains be in more want of brains, given that it would be hungry? Maybe the word “brains” also grates too harshly to be repeated: in Austen’s famous original, the maxim goes, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” No weird repetitions in it. The comma is a bit awkward by modern standards, but the sentence is far more melodious: none of the extended “-aine” from “brain” to muck up one’s hearing.
Still, I’m excited to continue reading, and even more excited to be done moving: part of Thursday and virtually all of Friday and Saturday were spent moving Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and its 400 and something compatriots, along with everything else I own, to a new place. The downside is that my shelves have been totally jostled because authors and subject matters were (loosely) clumped together at my old place, but moving efficiently requires that one pack books by their size. If I were more disciplined, I would’ve reassembled books in their previous order as they came out of boxes, but by yesterday evening I just wanted to get rid of the boxes more than I wanted to be organized. Consequently, when I searched for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies for an essay I wrote, I couldn’t find it. The good news is that, now that I have, I’m ready to read it.