Making only minor changes, the head of the Jane Austen festival sent off chapters from three of her best known books: "Northanger Abbey," "Persuasion", and "Pride and Prejudice," which he renamed "First Impressions," to agents and editors in the UK. And he got rejection letters back.
Why is this kind of a crock?
A. The style and language of those books are not the same as the style and language of books being published today.
B. An assistant at a literary agent I know reads 100 queries a DAY. No time for thoughtful feedback.
C. At least in the US, publishers seldom look at unagented manuscripts.
Read more here, including a letter from an editor who caught on.