The Precarious Existence of Jane Austen’s Charlotte Lucas Across Time and Text


  • Olgahan Baksi Yalcin Bolu Abant Izzet Baysal University



Appropriation, Charlotte Lucas, Mash-up novel, Salvaging, Zombie Apocalypse


Rewritings of Jane Austen’s works are produced following particular literary conventions, philosophies, creative imaginations, and interpretations, which present new readers with fresh stories featuring distinct images. The journey of her works across centuries and continents, as well as their presence in such disparate cultures and historical periods, may well attest to the similarities as well as the important differences among various peoples across the world, despite the social, cultural, and ideological differences between countries. In the American author Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2009), a mash-up of nineteenth-century author Jane Austen’s still-popular novel, Charlotte Lucas is indisputably in a difficult situation, not only because of the socio-economic realities of her precarious existence in the novel but also because of the zombie bite she receives. Although Charlotte’s decision to marry Mr. Collins is justified, the mash-up version of the novel still turns her into a zombie, as if indicating a punishment for her marriage to Mr. Collins. However, in his movie adaptation, Pride and Prejudice + Zombies (2016), the American director Burr Steers lets Charlotte survive and remain contentedly married to Mr. Collins, although she is still presented as a vulnerable figure without combat skills who needs the protection of both her husband and Lady Catherine de Bourgh. By following Linda Hutcheon’s adaptation theory, particularly the process of “appropriation and salvaging” (2006), this paper aims to explore the representation of Charlotte Lucas in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and its film adaptation, Pride and Prejudice + Zombies, thereby contributing to the field of adaptation studies with a gender focus.