These things we know: Fifty Shades of Grey is an insane cultural phenomenon that has spawned a bazillion parodies, rumors are surfacing about casting for a film adaptation and sequels are in the works. Naturally, the next step, as with any gangbusters literary franchise, is an insane amount of merchandising. If you want to aesthetically please your domineering business-type romantic partner like Anastasia Steele, E.L. James and her agent have signed a deal with boutique UK agency Caroline Mickler Ltd. for an upcoming line of Fifty Shades-related cosmetics, apparel, lingerie home furnishings and more. Call it Fifty Shades of Lingerie. Or don’t.
And James isn’t the only one cashing in on the success of the book for sexy merchandise. Massachusetts-based home-lingerie party group UndercoverWear has created a line of products called the “Shades of UndercoverWear” line, also inspired by the books, and some home parties are adopting the book as a theme.
Elsewhere, the Fifty Shades parodies have spread not just on the Internet (or in Neil Patrick Harris’ Tony performance), but to actual books. Introducing anonymous scribe L.M. (Louisa May) Anonymous, who has written 50 Shades of Louisa May, a “literotica” novel concerning the sexcapades of Little Women author Louisa May Alcott.
As the author tells GalleyCat:
“Well, it’s clear that the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon has hit a literary g-spot by revealing the inner desires of fictional characters. Fifty Shades of Louisa May just takes it further, revealing the sexual secrets of literary figures—Melville, Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, and more. Luckily, all are too dead to sue. So call it lewditure. Call it literotica. Call it an antidote to mommy porn.”
Call it what you want, but it sounds like this is going to open the floodgates for a whole swath of literary-figure erotica. Soon, all the kids on Tumblr are going to start shipping Emerson/Thoreau.