There is a new assault on literature and it comes as a direct result of the garbage that passes itself off as a book series called Fifty Shades of Grey. After tremendous sales of the book series, adult fiction publishers are looking at the classic literature of the past for their way to big profits in the future. Rather than writing fully new works of fiction, the publisher will take existing classic novels such as Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights and insert numerous sex scenes where the original author had none.
I fully understand that the expression “Sex sells!” has much validity especially in a world where people can click a link on their smart phones and get a dose of Wuthering Heights with sex scenes added in seconds — but just because you can do it does not mean that you should. In this case I think that the classic works of literature should be left undisturbed, so that people can read them as they were written.
This is not the first time works of literature from the past have been modified and republished for a modern audience. Indeed, some may point to modern republications such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters as some of the reworkings that were the beginning of this trend. One of the issues that I have with these works is that they are, at their heart, completely derivative and require nearly no effort from author other than taking well written books and then inserting their own twist on the source material.
What can we expect next — Sherlock Holmes and the Werewolves? Another major issue that I find with these sorts of books are that they of course are relying on people knowing the original books. Did you like Sense and Sensibility? Well you will absolutely love it now that we have added sea monsters? Were you fond of Pride and Prejudice? It is so much better with zombies!
I can’t help but think that this is not the direction that we should be headed as far as writing goes. Taking good writing like Jane Eyre and turning it into erotica is just about as degrading as any CNN Grinding Seven Year Old performance or awards for so-called adult movies being given freely on Showtime. We need to rise above this and write good literature that elevates the spirit, not drag it down into the mud.