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Will Twi-seduction rub off on Bronte, Shakespeare, and Austen?

December 14, 2009

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Dowaditty of What the Forks reported she saw a new Twilight-esque cover of Wuthering Heights at Borders. She reports: “On the cover… it says, Bella and Edward’s favorite book!’”

I have yet to see this cover, but I am wondering if the attempt to “cash in” on Twilight will pay off.  The classic books referred to intertextually in the series may drive more people to buy them in the current Twi-frenzy, but will they actually read them? If so, will they enjoy them? Romeo and Juliet is quite a different read to New Moon!

The literature scholar in me wants to believe that Twilight will encourage more reading of these classics, but the realist in me doubts there is any “Team Jane” on the horizon.

Though Bella and Jane, Juliet, Catherine, Elizabeth share certain similarities as female characters, the content of these earlier books is radically different – mainly in that they involve a lot more societal critique than Twilight.
I do think Twilight has certain elements of social critique, but this is not what inspires readers’ devotion. And, social critique is certainly not at the core of the saga. Sorry, but Meyer is no Austen.

Will Twilight stand the test of time like the predecessors that are now being re-packaged in hopes they can win the hearts of young readers? I doubt it. I am not so sure Twilight is weighty enough to be around 100 years plus from its debut.

Will people in the 22nd century still be reading it? What do you think?

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