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Now Read This! 50 Shades of Satire

Posted By Bethanne Patrick On March 26, 2013 @ 4:01 pm In Entertainment | Comments Disabled

Secret Life of A Submissive [1]The spoofs of E. L. James have been coming hard and fast: 50 Shades of Gay50 Shades of Black and Blue…even 50 Shames of Earl Grey. But last week I received a knockoff with a difference: Tucked inside my review copy of The Secret Life of a Submissive by Sarah K was a silken cord of the variety not intended for home repairs. Yup, publisher HarperCollins had sent this suburban blogger a sex toy.

This isn’t the first time a book-publishing company has sent along such a provocative bit of swag. In the past, however, these novel devices promoted do-it-yourself books about “her pleasure” and “gaining sexual knowledge.” They were not paraphernalia used to publicize “the true story” of “a writer and level-headed single mother by day” who becomes a submissive by night, “performing acts that E. L. James would blush at.”

Too bad Wuthering Nights, [2] due out from Grand Central Publishing next month, didn’t come with its own souvenir item. Subtitled An Erotic Retelling of Wuthering Heights, this pastiche – in which Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff graphically unleash their suppressed desires – would lend itself perfectly to a T-shirt emblazoned with the cover’s scarlet silk wrist restraints.

Given the publishing industry’s recent mania for mixing monsters and masterpieces – see, for example, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - who knows what heights, or depths, this new mashup of classics and coitus might reach? Will we soon see Middlemarch to My Will? Or A Passage to India’s Pleasure Zones? Or The Corrections? (Some titles need no tweaking.)

Shadows of 50 Shades have even fallen across the once-prim world of academic publishing. Last month the Johns Hopkins University Press brought out The Thrill of the Chaste: The Allure of Amish Romance Novels [3] by cultural writer and active Mennonite Valerie Weaver-Zercher. It examines the still-smoldering subset of “herotica” that is all about unripped bodices.

I’m surprised JHU Press didn’t include a prayer bonnet in the press packet. Hmm, those long bonnet ties…


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[1] Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Secret-Life-of-A-Submissive.jpg

[2] Wuthering Nights,: http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/emily-bronte/wuthering-nights/9781478978206/

[3] The Thrill of the Chaste: The Allure of Amish Romance Novels: http://jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/ecom/MasterServlet/GetItemDetailsHandler?iN=9781421408910&qty=1&viewMode=3&loggedIN=false&JavaScript=y

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