no frail flowers

In case you missed the noise: erotic-romance publisher Total E-Bound introduced their new series Clandestine Classics, in which the original texts of several classic and free of copyrights have been spiced up with erotic scenes.

And oh boy, there’s quite a bit of controversy there, and as far as I’ve read the reactions, much, perhaps even most, of it is downright negative. How dare those writers dirty such beloved stories like Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre with sex? Murder might have been just forgiveable, but sex??? The writers who committed such a crime must all be talentless hacks who never wrote an original piece in their lives.

As for the writers, the four who’ve written the first in the series have, between them, published dozens and dozens of original romantic/erotic titles, from short stories to novels. Whether or not you enjoy their books is a matter of  personal taste, but Clandestine Classics is by far not the first time they put pen to paper.

But, there’s still the not-s0-small detail of what they actually did with those precious historical works. Shouldn’t we, lovers of our literary world heritage, protect the classics against the grubby paws of those who only want to make a cheap buck, because surely no way any of those authors is doing this out of affection for the original stories?

Well, no, we shouldn’t. Those works don’t need our protection. Seriously, they don’t. They survived time and many changes in taste and morals, bad translations and indifferent publishers, terrible fanfiction and what else creative humanity managed to throw at them. And the stories are still there, and will be there long after the next shocking new interpretation of Sherlock Holmes has been forgotten.

Good stories that stood the test of time are no frail flowers; they are alive with possibilities, they inspire and almost openly invite you to have fun with them. And after all is said and done, those stories will still be there, in their original form, untouched by all the noise.

Curious? The first four titles will be available on the 30th of July, and to be sure: the writers only get paid for the number of words they’ve actually written, not for someone else’s work.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “no frail flowers

  1. Amy Valenti

    Amen! Well said. 🙂

  2. Amanda

    But clearly you have no respect for the original classics.

    • Hi Amanda,

      Whatever my personal taste or opinion, I for one wouldn’t want to be the one to decide which writers/artists/film makers etc get my seal of approval and which not when it comes to using already existing (but of course free of copyright) material.
      Would you? Or do you trust the master pieces to be quite able to survive this treatment just as easily as they survived any treatment before? My respect doesn’t play any role in this and neither does yours, I’m afraid.

      But I do understand the gesture and I appreciate the thought behind it.

      • Amanda

        If just one person thinks Pride & Prejudice as an erotic sex novel and not a romantic satire, that is bad enough as a whole generation thinking that way. You shouldn’t take advantage of the classics’ ability to survive the test of time to do something like this.

  3. I personally wouldn’t write it, but that’s because I know my limits as a writer. I couldn’t imitate the style of the classics convincingly, with or without sex.

    Readers will have their interpretations no matter the writer’s intentions, that’s the first thing I learned after publishing my first (non S. Dora) novel. And I’m pretty much a nobody, so you can imagine what will happen with books that have been loved for many generations.

    You may not like it, often I don’t like it, but the alternative is too horrible to even contemplate.

  4. arella3173

    Well Said!

    I don’t mind it at all. I am so excited for them! I big Booyah~ to the authors that were daring enough to give it a shot!
    I mean.. .hello? Just like you said, HOW MANY classics have been butchered? How many times has Romeo and Juliet been told, re-written, and slaughtered? Jules Verne books? for crying out loud the stupid Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter crap… lol…
    I find people that are.. “Oh! How dare they! Have they no shame?!” are full of crap and just need something else to fight about. Just because “sex” and/or eroticism has been put into the story, It’s not gonna ruin it. Just don’t read it. If it “touches your sensibilities”
    As for the coming M/M themed ones, I bet people will and are throwing colossal fits about it. But again I say, Get over it. People have been writing M/M themes about them for a LONG time. The only difference is now someone has published them. lol…

    • I can understand that for some readers this is one step too far, but in the end classic works probably survived partly because every new generation creates new works (good or bad) inspired by the existing material. And yes, it often enough happens that what is one writer’s honestly intended tribute to a beloved work, is sacrilege in another’s eyes.

      You don’t want classic works to be protected against what you feel is wrong? Then forbid any kind of re-working or re-interpretation in any form and (I’m afraid) see them die within a generation or two.

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