Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Personalised novels

Brontë blog has announced that U Star Novels is publishing personalised novels where you tell them your names and they put in your names in classic novels instead that of the original characters. They let me put in a free excerpt, and so I put in some names in Pride and Prejudice. Here they are:

When is your next ball to be, Roast?”

“Tomorrow fortnight.”

“Aye, so it is,” cried her mother, “and Mrs. Long does not come back till the day before; so it will be impossible for her to introduce him, for she will not know him herself.”

“Then, my dear, you may have the advantage of your friend, and introduce Mr. Turniphead to her.”

“Impossible, Mr. Potato, impossible, when I am not acquainted with him myself; how can you be so teasing?”

“I honour your circumspection. A fortnight’s acquaintance is certainly very little. One cannot know what a man really is by the end of a fortnight. But if we do not venture somebody else will; and after all, Mrs. Long and her daughters must stand their chance; and, therefore, as she will think it an act of kindness, if you decline the office, I will take it on myself.”

The girls stared at their father. Mrs. Potato said only, “Nonsense, nonsense!”

“What can be the meaning of that emphatic exclamation?” cried he. “Do you consider the forms of introduction, and the stress that is laid on them, as nonsense? I cannot quite agree with you there. What say you, Mary? For you are a young lady of deep reflection, I know, and read great books and make extracts.”

Mary wished to say something sensible, but knew not how.

“While Mary is adjusting her ideas,” he continued, “let us return to Mr. Turniphead.”

“I am sick of Mr. Turniphead,” cried his wife.

“I am sorry to hear that; but why did not you tell me that before? If I had known as much this morning I certainly would not have called on him. It is very unlucky; but as I have actually paid the visit, we cannot escape the acquaintance now.”

The astonishment of the ladies was just what he wished; that of Mrs. Potatoperhaps surpassing the rest; though, when the first tumult of joy was over, she began to declare that it was what she had expected all the while.

“How good it was in you, my dear Mr. Potato! But I knew I should persuade you at last. I was sure you loved your girls too well to neglect such an acquaintance. Well, how pleased I am! and it is such a good joke, too, that you should have gone this morning and never said a word about it till now.”

“Now, Kitty, you may cough as much as you choose,” said Mr. Potato; and, as he spoke, he left the room, fatigued with the raptures of his wife.

“What an excellent father you have, girls!” said she, when the door was shut. “I do not know how you will ever make him amends for his kindness; or me, either, for that matter. At our time of life it is not so pleasant, I can tell you, to be making new acquaintances every day; but for your sakes, we would do anything. Carrots, my love, though you are the youngest, I dare say Mr. Turniphead will dance with you at the next ball.”

“Oh!” said Carrots stoutly, “I am not afraid; for though I am the youngest, I’m the tallest.”

The rest of the evening was spent in conjecturing how soon he would return Mr. Potato’s visit, and determining when they should ask him to dinner.
For Jane Eyre, something a little steamier:

Mr. Masochist, as he sat in his damask-covered chair, looked different to what I had seen him look before; not quite so stern--much less gloomy. There was a smile on his lips, and his eyes sparkled, whether with wine or not, I am not sure; but I think it very probable.  He was, in short, in his after-dinner mood; more expanded and genial, and also more self- indulgent than the frigid and rigid temper of the morning; still he looked preciously grim, cushioning his massive head against the swelling back of his chair, and receiving the light of the fire on his granite- hewn features, and in his great, dark eyes; for he had great, dark eyes, and very fine eyes, too--not without a certain change in their depths sometimes, which, if it was not softness, reminded you, at least, of that feeling.

He had been looking two minutes at the fire, and I had been looking the same length of time at him, when, turning suddenly, he caught my gaze fastened on his physiognomy.

“You examine me, Miss Dominatrix,” said he: “do you think me handsome?”

I should, if I had deliberated, have replied to this question by something conventionally vague and polite; but the answer somehow slipped from my tongue before I was aware--“No, sir.”

“Ah!  By my word! there is something singular about you,” said he: “you have the air of a little nonnette; quaint, quiet, grave, and simple, as you sit with your hands before you, and your eyes generally bent on the carpet (except, by-the-bye, when they are directed piercingly to my face; as just now, for instance); and when one asks you a question, or makes a remark to which you are obliged to reply, you rap out a round rejoinder, which, if not blunt, is at least brusque.  What do you mean by it?”

“Sir, I was too plain; I beg your pardon.  I ought to have replied that it was not easy to give an impromptu answer to a question about appearances; that tastes mostly differ; and that beauty is of little consequence, or something of that sort.”

“You ought to have replied no such thing.  Beauty of little consequence, indeed!  And so, under pretence of softening the previous outrage, of stroking and soothing me into placidity, you stick a sly penknife under my ear!  Go on: what fault do you find with me, pray?  I suppose I have all my limbs and all my features like any other man?”

Mr. Masochist, allow me to disown my first answer: I intended no pointed repartee: it was only a blunder.”

“Just so: I think so: and you shall be answerable for it.  Criticise me: does my forehead not please you?”

He lifted up the sable waves of hair which lay horizontally over his brow, and showed a solid enough mass of intellectual organs, but an abrupt deficiency where the suave sign of benevolence should have risen.

“Now, ma’am, am I a fool?”

“Far from it, sir.  You would, perhaps, think me rude if I inquired in return whether you are a philanthropist?”

“There again!  Another stick of the penknife, when she pretended to pat my head: and that is because I said I did not like the society of children and old women (low be it spoken!).  No, young lady, I am not a general philanthropist; but I bear a conscience;” and he pointed to the prominences which are said to indicate that faculty, and which, fortunately for him, were sufficiently conspicuous; giving, indeed, a marked breadth to the upper part of his head: “and, besides, I once had a kind of rude tenderness of heart.  When I was as old as you, I was a feeling fellow enough, partial to the unfledged, unfostered, and unlucky; but Fortune has knocked me about since: she has even kneaded me with her knuckles, and now I flatter myself I am hard and tough as an India-rubber ball; pervious, though, through a chink or two still, and with one sentient point in the middle of the lump.  Yes: does that leave hope for me?”

“Hope of what, sir?”

“Of my final re-transformation from India-rubber back to flesh?”

“Decidedly he has had too much wine,” I thought; and I did not know what answer to make to his queer question: how could I tell whether he was capable of being re-transformed?

“You looked very much puzzled, Miss Dominatrix; and though you are not pretty any more than I am handsome, yet a puzzled air becomes you; besides, it is convenient, for it keeps those searching eyes of yours away from my physiognomy, and busies them with the worsted flowers of the rug; so puzzle on.  Young lady, I am disposed to be gregarious and communicative to-night.”

With this announcement he rose from his chair, and stood, leaning his arm on the marble mantelpiece: in that attitude his shape was seen plainly as well as his face; his unusual breadth of chest, disproportionate almost to his length of limb.  I am sure most people would have thought him an ugly man; yet there was so much unconscious pride in his port; so much ease in his demeanour; such a look of complete indifference to his own external appearance; so haughty a reliance on the power of other qualities, intrinsic or adventitious, to atone for the lack of mere personal attractiveness, that, in looking at him, one inevitably shared the indifference, and, even in a blind, imperfect sense, put faith in the confidence.

“I am disposed to be gregarious and communicative to-night,” he repeated, “and that is why I sent for you: the fire and the chandelier were not sufficient company for me; nor would Pilot have been, for none of these can talk.  Adele is a degree better, but still far below the mark; Mrs. Fairfax ditto; you, I am persuaded, can suit me if you will: you puzzled me the first evening I invited you down here.  I have almost forgotten you since: other ideas have driven yours from my head; but to-night I am resolved to be at ease; to dismiss what importunes, and recall what pleases.  It would please me now to draw you out--to learn more of you--therefore speak.”

Instead of speaking, I smiled; and not a very complacent or submissive smile either.

This is hilarious.

Mr. Winnie The Pooh, as he sat in his damask-covered chair, looked different to what I had seen him look before; not quite so stern--much less gloomy. There was a smile on his lips, and his eyes sparkled, whether with wine or not, I am not sure; but I think it very probable.  He was, in short, in his after-dinner mood; more expanded and genial, and also more self- indulgent than the frigid and rigid temper of the morning; still he looked preciously grim, cushioning his massive head against the swelling back of his chair, and receiving the light of the fire on his granite- hewn features, and in his great, dark eyes; for he had great, dark eyes, and very fine eyes, too--not without a certain change in their depths sometimes, which, if it was not softness, reminded you, at least, of that feeling.

He had been looking two minutes at the fire, and I had been looking the same length of time at him, when, turning suddenly, he caught my gaze fastened on his physiognomy.

“You examine me, Miss Piglet,” said he: “do you think me handsome?”

I should, if I had deliberated, have replied to this question by something conventionally vague and polite; but the answer somehow slipped from my tongue before I was aware--“No, sir.”

“Ah!  By my word! there is something singular about you,” said he: “you have the air of a little nonnette; quaint, quiet, grave, and simple, as you sit with your hands before you, and your eyes generally bent on the carpet (except, by-the-bye, when they are directed piercingly to my face; as just now, for instance); and when one asks you a question, or makes a remark to which you are obliged to reply, you rap out a round rejoinder, which, if not blunt, is at least brusque.  What do you mean by it?”

“Sir, I was too plain; I beg your pardon.  I ought to have replied that it was not easy to give an impromptu answer to a question about appearances; that tastes mostly differ; and that beauty is of little consequence, or something of that sort.”

“You ought to have replied no such thing.  Beauty of little consequence, indeed!  And so, under pretence of softening the previous outrage, of stroking and soothing me into placidity, you stick a sly penknife under my ear!  Go on: what fault do you find with me, pray?  I suppose I have all my limbs and all my features like any other man?”

Mr. Winnie The Pooh, allow me to disown my first answer: I intended no pointed repartee: it was only a blunder.”

“Just so: I think so: and you shall be answerable for it.  Criticise me: does my forehead not please you?”

He lifted up the sable waves of hair which lay horizontally over his brow, and showed a solid enough mass of intellectual organs, but an abrupt deficiency where the suave sign of benevolence should have risen.

“Now, ma’am, am I a fool?”

“Far from it, sir.  You would, perhaps, think me rude if I inquired in return whether you are a philanthropist?”

“There again!  Another stick of the penknife, when she pretended to pat my head: and that is because I said I did not like the society of children and old women (low be it spoken!).  No, young lady, I am not a general philanthropist; but I bear a conscience;” and he pointed to the prominences which are said to indicate that faculty, and which, fortunately for him, were sufficiently conspicuous; giving, indeed, a marked breadth to the upper part of his head: “and, besides, I once had a kind of rude tenderness of heart.  When I was as old as you, I was a feeling fellow enough, partial to the unfledged, unfostered, and unlucky; but Fortune has knocked me about since: she has even kneaded me with her knuckles, and now I flatter myself I am hard and tough as an India-rubber ball; pervious, though, through a chink or two still, and with one sentient point in the middle of the lump.  Yes: does that leave hope for me?”

“Hope of what, sir?”

“Of my final re-transformation from India-rubber back to flesh?”

“Decidedly he has had too much wine,” I thought; and I did not know what answer to make to his queer question: how could I tell whether he was capable of being re-transformed?

“You looked very much puzzled, Miss Piglet; and though you are not pretty any more than I am handsome, yet a puzzled air becomes you; besides, it is convenient, for it keeps those searching eyes of yours away from my physiognomy, and busies them with the worsted flowers of the rug; so puzzle on.  Young lady, I am disposed to be gregarious and communicative to-night.”

With this announcement he rose from his chair, and stood, leaning his arm on the marble mantelpiece: in that attitude his shape was seen plainly as well as his face; his unusual breadth of chest, disproportionate almost to his length of limb.  I am sure most people would have thought him an ugly man; yet there was so much unconscious pride in his port; so much ease in his demeanour; such a look of complete indifference to his own external appearance; so haughty a reliance on the power of other qualities, intrinsic or adventitious, to atone for the lack of mere personal attractiveness, that, in looking at him, one inevitably shared the indifference, and, even in a blind, imperfect sense, put faith in the confidence.

“I am disposed to be gregarious and communicative to-night,” he repeated, “and that is why I sent for you: the fire and the chandelier were not sufficient company for me; nor would Pilot have been, for none of these can talk.  Adele is a degree better, but still far below the mark; Mrs. Fairfax ditto; you, I am persuaded, can suit me if you will: you puzzled me the first evening I invited you down here.  I have almost forgotten you since: other ideas have driven yours from my head; but to-night I am resolved to be at ease; to dismiss what importunes, and recall what pleases.  It would please me now to draw you out--to learn more of you--therefore speak.”

Instead of speaking, I smiled; and not a very complacent or submissive smile either. 

1 comment:

  1. ROFL especially at the Winnie the Pooh and Piglet. However, it does show an increase in the disturbing tendency to think classic novels (like JE and P&P) are romances meant merely to gratify the reader's desire for a romantic hero, don't you think?

    ReplyDelete