Is Twilight literature…?

8 Mar

Ok, I know everyone says Stephenie Meyer’s series isn’t literature. It’s stupid, it’s juvenile…so on and so forth. This is much like the argument questioning whether or not Harry Potter is literature.

So what is literature? Is it something Sparknotes and Cliffnotes have picked up? Does it have to be quizzable? Boring? Since I’m merely a twenty-something English major, I do not truly know what constitutes literature. Sure there’s a canon, but if we always went according to that the darling confeThe cover of the first novel from the Twilight Series.ssional poets of post-modernism would never even be touched in academia.

Edward, Bella and Jacob…where do they all fit into this? Well, here are the facts. Stephenie Meyer went to Brigham Young University for literature, graduating in 1997. So if she studied literature can she really ignore her literary education in her writing?

I’m going to say that the Twilight series itself (aka NOT the film, sorry R Patz) makes outright allusions to traditional, canonical romantic texts. During the first portion of Twilight, Meyer has Bella reading Wuthering Heights, outright references to Romeo & Juliet ensue throughout the series. I’m not saying these are good allusions, but as somewhat of a fan and a literature major, I have to find some redeeming quality.

I think the series boarders literature. I mean, at least this is getting people to read. Perhaps the reason that most people are instantaneously dismissing these books as “unliterature” is that it is now so mainstream. Shakespeare never got the chance to manufacture Romeo t-shirts, yet Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner have been photographed and copied on to as many surfaces as humanly possible.

All in all, I think, in general, people have to take it down a notch. So what if the Twilight series isn’t literature? Millions of people read Nicholas Sparks and Danielle Steel; those books, for sure, are NOT literature. In television, people would watch the Bachelor before they would watch 20/20. For films, they prefer mind-numbing comedies over a serious social commentary. So maybe for a beach read, some prefer Meyer over Austen.

What’s your opinion on the issue? Feel free to participate in the poll I created, featured below.

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2 Responses to “Is Twilight literature…?”

  1. Christina March 9, 2010 at 12:55 am #

    I haven’t read any of the Twilight series; however, I think any book that is able to get large masses of people reading– especially in the mind-numbingly technological 21st Century– deserves applause.

  2. mraczkowski March 9, 2010 at 2:43 am #

    I agree that the hype around Twilight makes it hard to approach as literature. I don’t know if I will ever be able to take it seriously as literature, but its only because I am not a fan of vampires and the like. I can’t discredit it entirely, i think that you’re right. Most writers only receive credit for their work long after they die. how can we really criticize meyer in the same way as we have the classics when so much has changed?

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