Despite being a work of fanfiction in the most literal sense of the term, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies isn’t quite a labor of love. The book actually originated from an editor going through a list of classic literary titles and matching them to genre buzzword characters like ninjas, zombies and pirates. This editor then called Seth Grahame-Smith to write the book, inserting zombie references into Jane Austen’s text.
It feels a little silly to criticize a zombie movie on its treatment of Jane Austen characterization, a detail that won’t matter to most viewers. But in the context of two centuries of Pride & Prejudice fandom, it’s worth mentioning.
Along with the Sherlock Holmes stories, Pride & Prejudice (and Jane Austen in general) is probably the longest-running literary fandom in the modern sense of the term. Fans have been analyzing the novel for 200 years, and there are dozens of published sequels and spinoffs. Crucially, this community of Austen fans has always been predominantly female and with a few exceptions like P.D. James’s Death Comes to Pemberley, it rarely receives mainstream recognition. Meanwhile Pride and Prejudice and Zombies won immediate commercial success.