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«Vampire Darcy's Desire», Regina Jeffers

 

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

 

Title Page

AUTHOR’S PREFACE

PROLOGUE

 

CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 2

CHAPTER 3

CHAPTER 4

CHAPTER 5

CHAPTER 6

CHAPTER 7

CHAPTER 8

CHAPTER 9

CHAPTER 10

CHAPTER 11

CHAPTER 12

CHAPTER 13

CHAPTER 14

CHAPTER 15

CHAPTER 16

CHAPTER 17

CHAPTER 18

CHAPTER 19

CHAPTER 20

CHAPTER 21

CHAPTER 22

CHAPTER 23

CHAPTER 24

CHAPTER 25

CHAPTER 26

CHAPTER 27

CHAPTER 28

CHAPTER 29

 

EPILOGUE

REFERENCES

OTHER ULYSSES PRESS BOOKS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Copyright Page

 

 

 

AUTHOR’S PREFACE

When the initial concept came to me from the publisher, Ulysses Press, to write a vampire version of Pride and Prejudice, my hackles immediately rose. To me, Pride and Prejudice is the most perfect novel ever written, and the thought of someone abusing that story line sent me into a state of amusement mixed with pure irritation.

As a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, I love everything to do with Jane Austen. However, unlike some hard-core Janeites, I read everything related to her works. Some of it I love, and some of it I throw across the room in disgust; but even when I angrily throw the book at the wall, I retrieve it and continue to read, looking for something in it I can enjoy. There are only a few Austen-related alternatives in which I find nothing I can accept to be possible. Most of those I deem ridiculous, however, deal with the story of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, because like many Austen readers, I hold a preconceived idea of how these two would get on in their lives once they were married. Austen gives us very specific allusions as to how the couple might achieve happiness, so when presented with the concept, I flatly refused to even consider a vampire version. However, after discussing the idea with close friends and with my editor, I conceded. It was my belief the project would go forward with or without me. At least if I was involved, I could possibly maintain some integrity in the story. In a Gothic or vampire-inspired story, undertones of sex, blood, and death are inherently present, although Jane Austen rarely even hinted at any of these elements in her novels.

Originally, the concept was that Darcy would be the vampire who seduces Elizabeth, yet I could not abide such a proposal. If vampirism was to be added to the tale, I wanted Darcy portrayed as a poetic tragic hero rather than as an embodiment of evil. I also Pride and Prejudice, Darcy needed to desire Elizabeth and to be willing to put aside his beliefs and lifestyle in order to earn her love. As Vampire Darcy’s Desire is a horror romance, a more prominent sexual tension than in the Austen version was obviously required, although any astute reader of Austen feels the sophisticated undertones present in her writing.

My story line is based on the traditional Scottish ballad known as “Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender,” which I used as the core of the curse upon Darcy’s family. The ballad has many versions. Some even call it “The Brown Girl.” It is currently listed as one of the ballads brought back into circulation by Francis J. Child, a renowned “songcatcher.” The story behind the ballad dates back to the time of Charles II. There are Irish, Scottish, and English versions of the song, as well as similar stories in Norse and European folklore. Popular folk singers, such as Jean Ritchie and Alan Lomax, have recorded versions of the song. Even the Grateful Dead has it in their discography. There is an excellent reading found on YouTube, as well. In keeping with the Scottish ballad, I chose Northumberland as the place for Wickham’s home where he is buried because of its proximity to Scotland and because of its numerous border wars. Luckily, Newcastle, where Darcy sends Wickham in the Austen original, is in Northumberland.

In merging the two diverse genres, one must remember that vampire literature springs from early Gothic tales, which ironically peppered the literature of Jane Austen’s time. Typically in early vampire stories, a respectable and virtuous woman rejects a man’s love.The woman is under the influence of a tyrannical and powerful male from whom the “hero” must save her, and that “hero” possesses a highly developed intelligence and exceptional charisma and charm. A “seduction” of sorts occurs. Are those elements not also present in each of Austen’s pieces? After all,Austen herself parodies the Gothic novel in Northanger Abbey, even mocking Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho. She uses the stereotypes of the abbey, the mysterious murder, and the evil seducer, yet Austen

I teach English and have done so for more years than I care to count, and so I am familiar with many of the original literary works dealing with vampires. For example, nearly eighty years before Bram Stoker’s Dracula became the standard by which vampire stories are judged, Lord Byron’s life and legend inspired Polidori’s The Vampyre, and even Stoker quoted Gottfried August Bürger’s narrative poem “Lenore” (1773). Samuel Coleridge’s poem “Christabel” also influenced much of the vampire literature that followed.


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