Maybe youâ€™re sick of Twilight by now; maybe youâ€™re not.
Or maybe youâ€™re just indifferent.
Whatever the case, I donâ€™t think Stephenie Meyerâ€™s going away any time soon; and with the highly anticipated release of Summit Entertainmentâ€™s Filmâ€”coming tomorrow to a theater near you!â€”itâ€™s increasingly difficult to escape the hype.
In mid-September, Ellen Degeneres had Meyer on her show to talk Twilight (though they didnâ€™t discuss anything that hadnâ€™t already been said and thatâ€™s not readily available on Meyerâ€™s website). Last week, Entertainment Weekly dubbed Meyer â€œEntertainer of the Yearâ€ and roughly two weeks before that, they headlined an in-depth interview with the writer â€œabout the Rob Pattinson casting controversy, Breaking Dawn‘s mixed reception, the deal with Edward and Bella’s big [onscreen] kiss, and what she’s working on next.â€ And this past weekend, USA Weekendâ€™s featured story was â€œTwilight: The Story Behind this Seasonâ€™s Biggest Page-to-Screen Sensationâ€ in which Brian Truitt calls Meyer â€œpublishingâ€™s newest literary superstar.â€
As a student of (Mormon) literature and culture, as a cultural/literary critic, and in my capacity as creator and editor (with Laura) of Reading Until Dawn, an online literary journal devoted to discussing Meyer and her work (still soliciting submissions, by the way!), this cultural excitement/investment/passion (however you choose to see it) intriguesâ€”and bafflesâ€”me. Hence, when Truitt asks, â€œWhat [â€¦] is the appeal of [Meyerâ€™s] [â€¦] dark vampire tales?â€, I canâ€™t be completely content with the answer he gives us (right from Meyerâ€™s mouth): â€œWe love to be scared,â€ she says. â€œBut most of the monsters that you see are disgusting. They are usually oozing something. Vampires are the only ones who are dangerous and scary, and, at the same time, they’re hot.â€
Aside from vampires being, in Meyerâ€™s eyes, non-disgusting, non-oozing monsters that are, at the same time, dangerous, scary, and hot, what rests beneath our cultural fascination with Twilight? In my introduction to the first edition of Reading Until Dawn, I point to the realism of the novelsâ€™ world and to their â€œnarcotic effectâ€ on readersâ€”on the â€œphysiological responseâ€ they seem to evoke. And in a short article thatâ€™s docketed for the Summer â€™09 issue of Dialogue, I intimate the storyâ€™s ties to the always popular Gothic tradition, briefly reading Meyerâ€™s vampires against Freudâ€™s notion of the uncanny, a psychological concept that ties deeply to our experiences with the literarily sublime and the emotion of terror. In addition, William points to the erotic attraction of the books.
In honor (as it were) of Twilightâ€™s birth into cinematic reality, what do you AMV readers think? What rests beneath the incessant appeal of Meyerâ€™s world?