In Competition No. 3107 you were invited to provide an extract that is a mash-up of two well-known works of literature. The germ for this challenge was the discovery that Middlemarch was originally two separate works — a novel about the townspeople (the Vincys, Bulstrode, etc) and a short story called ‘Miss Brooke’, which focused on the country folk). Neither worked on its own, so Eliot stitched them together and, hey presto! I realised, reading your entries, that the brief had been ambiguous: while some of you lifted the exact text, others went for a looser approach. Both were permissible and both produced some terrific entries. Honourable mentions to Lauren Peon and Adrian Fry. The winners take £30 each.
I saw the best daughters of my generation destroyed by lack of fortune, maternal hysteria, running naked,
being dragged through the balls of Netherfield mother-fixed on future matrimony,
who bared their shoulders to flaming candles with radiant cool eyes hallucinating Mr Bingley,
who was universally acknowledged as singular and mile-high with money to burn in waste paper baskets and in want of a wife,
angel-headed Bennets levered up for the ancient heavenly connection to property,
who hollow-eyed with passion sat up talking in the supernatural darkness of Longbourn contemplating uniforms and wild regiments of lust,
who contrived the fabulations of Darcy, secret hero of this poem, who sweetened the snatches of girls trembling in the sunset,
who fantasised Pemberley while the sirens of Lady Catherine de Bourgh wailed them down piano-playing in despair
who overturned the entailment of fathers to the end of patience.
D.A. Prince (‘Howl’ meets Pride and Prejudice)
To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman, burned-out minor-royalty groupie or not. But that came later. It all started with a mystery letter. Holmes had been coking it up for several days and was living on the ceiling.
‘’Pon my soul, Holmes!’ I exclaimed on reading it, ‘this is batshit-crazy.