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The 'Twilight' Mystique: Critical…

The 'Twilight' Mystique: Critical Essays on the Novels and Films… (original 2011; edition 2010)

by Amy M. Clarke, Marijane Osborn (Editor)

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21None491,852 (3.25)1
Title:The 'Twilight' Mystique: Critical Essays on the Novels and Films (Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy)
Authors:Amy M. Clarke
Other authors:Marijane Osborn (Editor)
Info:McFarland & Co Inc (2010), Paperback, 247 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:critical essays, popular culture

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The Twilight Mystique: Critical Essays on the Novels and Films by Amy M. Clarke (2011)




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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As a librarian, I was particularly interested in this work as it promised to critically analyze the Twilight series from various perspectives (feminist; Indigenous; genre; religious; etc.). I was particularly interested in Jensen's critique, as it analyzed shapeshifting and werewolves in relation to Pacific NW Native peoples.

The essay was well-documented, included Pacific NW Native myths, and compared Meyer's work with those myths - from a non-Native perspective. This essay was disappointing for that reason, that it was not written from a Native perspective, which would have addressed the series academically and included the Indigenous viewpoint to specifically address appropriation issues and the attempts of non-Native authors to write about Native peoples. The omission of this element is glaring to any scholar in modern anthropology or Native American studies. Certainly there are enough Native academics who could have participated and infused a more rigorous analysis.

Most of the other essays were descriptive rather than critical. The book included table of contents, preface and introduction, annotated list of authors, index, bibliography, and annotated notes at the end of each chapter. The essays in this book might be useful for undergraduates, but not for graduate-level work. ( )
  brickhorse | Mar 30, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Overall I like the connections made in the articles in this book. Not exactly a fast paced read, but if I were to have this book be available for a school discussion it would be excellent. Yes I've read all the Twilight books and I've seen the current Twilight movies but I've also studied religions, cultural anthro and art history (and fairy tales!) so - for me- I enjoyed this critical aspect this collection has taken on the "Twilight" series by Stephanie Meyer. ( )
  llyramoon | Aug 31, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I found The Twilight Mystique essays to be very comprehensive and enlightening. I have only read one of the Twilight novels and was interested to learn more about the "Twilight Phenomenon." It was a slow read, but I would recommend it to lovers of the Twilight series. As for me, although it was interesting, I really wasn't sold on reading anymore of the Twilight series.
  picnicgal | Aug 8, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Yes indeed I read the Twilight series --- mostly because I teach Gothic literature and I had to know what all the fuss was about. While I am not a big fan of the series, I am a big fan of The Twilight Mystique: Critical Essays on the Novels and the Films edited by Amy M. Clarke and Marijane Osborn. This collection explores the Stephanie Meyer series through historical, autobiographical, and cultural literary lenses with such essays tackling the big question: How does the Twilight series fit into the history of vampire literature?

I am going to ask my library to order this book for its shelves --- and the next time my students want to do a literary analysis of Meyer's books (I have always said no!) I will require them to read The Twilight Mystique first. ( )
  karenweyant | Jul 8, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Go ahead. Roll your eyes. Get it out now. Yes, we're talking about Twilight. More specifically, we're talking about some critical analysis of Stephenie Meyer's blockbuster teenage vampire series that has taken the world by storm. Meyer has set the literary world spinning in a tizzy, and The Twilight Mystique explores how, and why ¹.

But first, a little backstory. For those of you who perhaps weren't bitten by the Twilight bug - perhaps you suffer from agoraphobia, or maybe you're just too wrapped up in the Casey Anthony trial ². Here's the lowdown:
Twilight tells the story of a teenage girl who falls in love with a "vegetarian" vampire, and whose life is turned upside down by her involvement with him and his veggie vamp family. There are threats to her life by an ancient group of non-veggies, attacks by a tracker and his crew, and then (not to give away too much or anything) she is killed by her human/vampire offspring while in utero (she's then turned a vampire). There are, of course, good vampires and bad vampires, werewolves, as well as your regular run of the mill, though stupendously oblivious, humans.
Meyer has gotten a lot of flack for her work of teenage angst, a work that borrows from Native American tradition, from vampire lore and fairy tales, from classic literature (Romeo & Juliet, Pride & Prejudice, Wuthering Heights ³), and even borrows some from Mormon theology. True, her writing has its flaws. Yet her stories have (here comes the pun) sucked in thousands. This isn't just YA Fiction or chick-lit, it's a kind of phenomenon.

So why? Why do these books draw in untold numbers of teenagers and middle-aged women alike? Clarke & Osborn have assembled a fairly good collection of works that help explain the fanaticism. Basically everything from it being escapist, to its roots in moral values. Surprisingly, though, only one or two of the pieces is in any way negative. With all the publicized negative criticism, you'd think they'd have been less exclusive to only writers who have something nice to say. That's what I thought at first. But when I think back to the 3 year period between the first book coming out, and my giving in to the hype, I realize that many of the anti-Meyer naysayers have either never read the books, or don't care enough to write about them.

For one, I personally liked the McElroy essay on "Eco-Gothics for the 21st Century" and how it explained the excessiveness of the veggie vampires and their irresponsible lifestyles - lazily capitalistic, exhaustive of resources, etc. And I liked it almost more than I enjoyed the essays on literary allusion and fairy tales.

As someone on the outskirts - yes, I read the books, but I'm a little ashamed - this collections is an enjoyable read. If you're like me, you might even figure out why you read them in the first place. If, however, the ticker in your mind reads something like "OMG LUV TWILIGHT TEAM EDWARD BLAH BLAH BLAH" you may not yet be mature enough (and, let's face it, you may never be mature enough) even for the lightest criticism. And if you hate/avoid the books, you can basically forget it. Read the McElroy essay, and then read the essay on the economy of Forks, WA, and then put it away. Otherwise, you might actually find something to convince you to finally read the books and see what the hype's all about ⁴.

[1] Perhaps they should have answered the question, "Does anyone actually give a crap?"
[2] If, somehow, you've avoided the unending saga that is the Casey Anthony trial, I applaud your inability to read. Of course, if you can't read, you're not really reading this, and so in fact, I don't believe you've avoided it up to this point. I mean, c'mon. It's the second article in "Latest News" on CNN.com. Right below "Maria Shriver files for divorce" and right next to "Best Viral Videos - Sleepy Kitty."
[3] And those are just some of the ones she mentions in the books.
[4] Do yourself a favor - save yourself. Go watch Buffy instead.

Lauren Cartelli
www.theliterarygothamite.com ( )
  laurscartelli | Jul 1, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0786449985, Paperback)

The 13 essays in this volume explore Stephenie Meyer's wildly popular Twilight series in the contexts of literature, religion, fairy tales, film, and the gothic. Several examine Meyer's emphasis on abstinence, considering how, why, and if the author's Mormon faith has influenced the series' worldview. Others look at fan involvement in the Twilight world, focusing on how the series' avid following has led to an economic transformation in Forks, Washington, the real town where the fictional series is set. Other topics include Meyer's use of Quileute shape-shifting legends, Twilight's literary heritage and its frequent references to classic works of literature, and the series' controversial depictions of femininity.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:14 -0400)

"The essays in this volume explore Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series in the contexts of literature, religion, fairy tales, film, and the gothic. Some look at fan involvement in the Twilight world. Topics include Meyer's use of Quileute shape-shifting legends; Twilight's literary heritage and its references to classic works of literature; and the series's controversial depictions of feminity"--Provided by publisher.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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An edition of this book was published by McFarland.

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