Pride and Promiscuity: The Lost Sex Scenes of Jane Austen
By Arielle Eckstut
Hardcover, 145 pages
2003, Canongate Books Ltd
From the back of the book: In 2002, an amateur Jane Austen scholar, while staying at Hertfordshire estate, stumbled upon a hidden cache of manuscript pages and made an extraordinary literary discovery – lost scenes from Jane Austen’s novels that reveal an altogether different dimension of her oeuvre.
This book, much like The Princess Bride, would have you believe that it’s contents are legitimate; except that William Goldman really tricked me into thinking his story was real 😐 . Eckstut proves that her findings of Auten’s lost manuscripts are legitimate by including a letter of approval from English professor, Elfrida Drummond, authoress of splendid works, such as Pride in Punctuation and Proof and Prejudice. Alas, dear readers, Jane Austen didn’t hide away sex scenes that her publisher refused to allow into all six of her novels, but this book was still a quick, quirky little read.
There’s nothing erotic (in my opinion) about this novel, so if you’re looking for detailed intimate moments between Elizabeth and Darcy, per say, you should probably look elsewhere. The best thing about this book is that Eckstut did her best to stick to the language of Austen’s time and the scenes felt almost authentic. I say almost for two reasons: the writing doesn’t really have Austen’s voice, and some of the scenarios are too ridiculous to be believed. Re: Miss Bingley and Hurst involved in a threesome with Jane Bennett to test her marital suitability to Bingley. Again, there’s nothing vulgar or overly explicit in the details, but the themes are intended for adult readers.
Some scenes made me roll my eyes – primarily the one mentioned above, but others did make me chuckle. Re: Emma pleasuring herself to the thought of how useful she is to everyone in her life and “how essential she was to the flawless running of the household.” At 145 pages I didn’t feel like I wasted my time, and I actually wished it were a little longer. Eckstut had some very clever moments and I would have loved to see them further developed, especially the comedic aspects. This book didn’t blow me away, but if you’re open-minded and in the mood for a chuckle or two, check it out! If you’re looking for hot and heavy Regency-era action, I’d say look elsewhere.
Bonus? When photographing this book for the review, I did notice the lovely detail in the cover illustration – it’s really quite intricate! Then I noticed…breasts! Then I looked even closer, and I realize there are definitely phalluses coming out of the flowers in the border. This little detail gave me an extra chuckle – props to Chris Brown on his cover illustration!