Theorizing Twilight

Monday, 15 August 2011

endless coffee

mini desk

my desk, currently

As the piles of paper and books increase on my desk, as I'm forced to bring in further desks into my 'study' to accommodate my rising pile of work, as my lists of deadlines span over a few pages in my notebooks, as my emails with editors rise to the hundreds, as I collect things from the garden (a habit I have when I'm stressed) and decorate my desk(s) with numerous cups of coffee, days old, I'm reminded, every once in a while, that there is a reward for all these hours consumed by research and work: a published book. Not entirely my own, but I contributed to a book collection of critical essays. Let me put on my 'academic' hat for a while and tell you all about this book.

Theorizing Twilight is a collection of 15 essays on Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Saga. They are scholarly, critical essays that seek to explore the cultural meanings within her books. Examining aspects such as gender, sexuality, love, religion, race and literary inheritance, these essays not only take Meyer's novels seriously, but seek to explore why they are so exceptionally popular. I think it's so easy to dismiss such books, but I don't really see the point in doing so. After all, if something is extremely popular, cultural theorists should explore why, and try to understand the social impact of such a popularity.

My essay in the collection is called 'A Post-Feminist Romance: Love, Gender and Intertextuality in Stephenie Meyer’s Saga'. In my essay, I analyse the Twilight saga by contextualising it within the history of the romance genre (from the middle ages to the present times), and I focus on issues of gender as they relate to contemporary feminism. I'm particularly interested in what these types of popular novels, marketed toward teen girls, say about the current state of gender politics and the role of feminism in modern culture. But if you want to read more, you'll have to buy the book ...

Thanks to Maggie and Natalie for being such great editors. I've worked with, and I'm still working with, numerous great editors. But I have to admit to having a soft spot for these two lovely and intelligent ladies.

You can pick up a copy of the book here ... (and numerous other places):

:: McFarland :: Amazon :: Book Depository ::


SJ said...

I completely agree that such popular books shouldn't be dismissed. They're not my cup of tea but it would be incredibly snobby (and stupid) of me to dismiss a large number of people as being less intelligent than me just because they read the Twilight books.

I was a teenage girl once and I know what it's like to jump into this sort of escapist literature because the reality is, sometimes being a teenager really sucks and that's what you want to do.

Sounds like a really interesting essay, I might just have to read the whole thing! said...

Oh your essay sounds really interesting! In fact, the whole book sounds interesting....I kind of hate the Twilight series, because it's so badly written, but I do have a somewhat morbid fascination with it at the same time, as I try to figure out why it's so huge!

jessica/ jimmy vo said...

some great shots there! i love a post that is personal and reflects a persons life which in some way connects with others.. My desk similar stacked with magazines, text books for my last subject before I graduate and the biggest teapot created filled with green tea!!

peace x

Amelia said...

I have a complete and utter dislike for the Twilight saga which I have read just to understand why everyone was loving it so much; to me, the Twilight series reflect a very bleak reality of society and the place of women in it. I think theorizing twilight is going on my to read list because I think it would be a very interesting read.

naomemandeflores said...

Congratulations on the essay Hila! I have to say I'm not a big fan of "fantasy/supernatural" literature, so I've never read any of Stephenie Meyer's books. But somehow I'm dying to read your essay. :)

Camila Faria

Jennifer said...

I'm interested in reading this collection of essays. As much as I dislike the series, I can't deny that I find its popularity terribly fascinating.

Sundari said...

Congratulations, Hila on getting published yet again. That is always exciting. I know how you feel with the deadlines. I thought I would be having all year to just enjoy making my work for honours but it's not the way it panned out.
It's really interesting what you say about Twilight. I haven't read it and I am just as guilty as dismissing it as a teen fad but I was reading an exhibition catalogue yesterday as part of my own research and it's interesting how there really appears to be a Romantic/Gothic revival in all 'high' culture and popular culture.

etre-soi said...

congratulations on this Hila :)Hard work always pays ;-)

hila said...

sj: I think when people outright dismiss something like the twilight books, they're sort of shutting themselves off from understanding contemporary culture, which is a shame. no, well, it isn't the best-written thing :) But I can understand its appeal for young girls.

jessica/jimmy-vo: thanks, I actually think my photos are pretty crappy, but hey, glad you dig.

amelia: I dislike what it implies, but on the other hand, I understand why so many people love it.

camila: I'm not a huge fan of the genre either, but ironically, it's fascinating to critique and research.

jennifer: me too - I just have a curiosity about why we love certain things.

sundari: oh totally! there does seem to be a revival happening, and I wonder if it's tinged with nostalgia ... anyway, good luck with all your deadlines too. I remember my honours year being crazy busy and stressful, even more so than the first year of my PhD (although the last year was pure stress of epic proportions).

etre-soi/sofia: yes, it's nice to see tangible proof of hard work :) thank you sofia. xx