'Twilight' is here, and it's... queer? The 'Twilight' Renaissance explained.
Ten years after its film release, Stephenie Meyer's paranormal romance 'Twilight' has gained traction once more, trending on Tumblr despite the long lack of new content. The unprompted hype has brought us some hilarious posts and hot takes—let's have a look.
In the summer of 2016 I had a decision to make. What, the heck, was I going to write my senior thesis about?
I had been an English major for the past three years, and without tooting my own horn too loudly, I was doing pretty darn well. I had gotten exceptional grades in my literature classes, had been appointed a teaching apprentice, and was well on my way to graduating a semester early cum laude. I’m not bragging (well, not a lot), but rather trying to communicate that I did actually care about my thesis and I wasn’t just trying to troll academia.
Image via Giphy
Due to extenuating circumstances, I had to apply to take my senior capstone as an independent study, rather than a traditional class in which I would be surrounded by my peers. This is important, because I do not know if my thesis would have taken the same shape had I been made to face the judgement of my classmates every week. Instead of meeting with other students and my professor for three hours a week, I instead met with my professor for about two hours every other week. This left me with an abundance of time in which to write my paper, and also gave me very valuable one-on-one review time with my professor, to whom I owe many thanks for making the time to meet with me twice a month and put up with my trackless trains of thought.
Because independent studies take time to apply for, I began preparing for my thesis in the spring. That spring, I had been taking a class on postmodernism, and one of the tenets of postmodernism is the blending of high and low cultures. That is, taking material that “should not” belong in high art, and making high art out of it anyway. Partially out of intellectual intrigue, partially out of spite. The more I mulled over the possibility of taking the objects of my middle school literary obsessions and using them to summate the entirety of my undergraduate study, the more justified I began to feel, as I thought of writers and artists who had made incredible work out of crude material.
Image via Giphy
So I went whole hog. I came to my professor and I told her that I wanted to write about mid-2000s young adult fiction and the misfit complex. My original thesis was going to be about how this era of young adult fiction presented us with all of these strikingly beautiful white people and then tried to pass them off as hopeless misfits that just didn’t belong anywhere, which, of course, meant that they were the “chosen one” of whatever fictional universe they resided in. I still think this would be a great paper, but my professor quickly and kindly informed me that to read every young adult fiction novel published in that era and then write a comprehensive analysis of protagonists in each would be, um, a lot for a paper I needed to finish in three months.
So I had to whittle. Then one day, a cursed thought, perhaps long burrowed in my gray matter, expressed itself.
what if i just wrote about twilight lol
But then of course I had to ask myself, “What if I wrote my thesis about Twilight?” And then the prospect was simply too enticing not to pursue.
I altered my thesis to now be about Twilight and… something postcolonial. I hadn’t quite figured out that second part yet. Postcolonial theory had become, pretty much by accident, my bread and butter. Almost every single class on literature I had taken had been “______ and Postcolonial Theory” and I loved it. By the time I was a senior, I was reading everything through the lens of “how did the colonists fuck this up?” and for those of you wondering: yes, I am that Matt McGorry-type of white person that I encourage you to cringe at.
Image via @mattmcgorry on Instagram
At my school, you were permitted to write your senior thesis about anything you wanted to, however, the senior capstone classes were always themed, so as to guide students struggling with writer’s block. In my senior year, the class was on Gothic Literature. The first text on my professor’s syllabus was Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and as per the agreement made by me and my professor, I would follow the syllabus she was teaching the main class until my thesis was fully conceptualized.
I found, while reading Frankenstein, that there was a lot in there that I could make comparisons to in Twilight. As I was reading Frankenstein and Sigmund Freud’s “The Uncanny,” my professor was reading Twilight for the first time, and while I wish I could say I feel guilty about that, I still get a thrill from the fact that someone with a PhD read Twilight because of me.
Image via Hypable
Through discussion, my professor and I realized that while written for and published in a very different era, the content and general aura of Twilight is not terribly dissimilar from classic Gothic literature, like the works of Ann Radcliffe and, of course, Frankenstein. Gothic literature in its early life was massively popular, yet not taken very seriously by literary critics; a fact to which I immediately latched on and clutched for dear life as I wrote this paper.
Ultimately, I used Twilight, Frankenstein, and Freud’s theory of the uncanny to develop a theory of the definition and construction of home in literature. Here’s an excerpt from my thesis statement:
One could think of gothic literature as a kind of experiment: you take an average (or seemingly so) person, add a few paranormal motifs, and play out the logical conclusion of that combination. Gothic literature is a vehicle for exploring how human beings behave in uncanny settings; it is a way for us to understand the way we construct our reality by showing us what we do when faced with the degradation of that reality.
Yeah, it morphed quite a lot from the postcolonial screed I had set out to write. But the paper I ended up with is one I’m still quite proud of. And I graduated! With this paper! As far as I remember I got an A, but honestly I’m not sure, that last semester was something of a blurred smear on my hippocampus.
Featured image via GeekTyrant and Popcultcha.
If there’s one thing you can say about writers, it is that they certainly aren’t afraid to let loose. They are naturally creative and when that creativity meets paper, bizarre lines can spew out of writers’ minds.
Here are eight lines that made readers say, “WTF?”
Warning: NSFW Language
“I kissed her, a long hard kiss. Because baby didn’t know it, but baby was dead, and in a way I couldn’t have loved her more.”
— Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me
“All women love semi-rape. They love to be taken. It was his sweet brutality against my bruised body that made his act of love so piercingly wonderful.”
— Ian Fleming, The Spy Who Loved Me
“And suddenly his cock was out, jutting upward from his breeches like a fat pink mast.”
— George R.R. Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire: A Feast for Crows
“The dragon grinned at her before bringing his nose down and sniffing her cloth-covered pussy. ‘And you are turned on, my pretty.'”
— Alice Brown, Sapphamire
“Sunset found her squatting in the grass, groaning. Every stool was looser than the one before, and smelled fouler. By the time the moon came up she was shitting brown water. The more she drank, the more she shat, but the more she shat, the thirstier she grew.”
— George R.R. Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire: A Dance With Dragons
“I just beheaded and dismembered a sentient creature not twenty yards from you. That doesn’t bother you?”
— Stephanie Meyer, Twilight
“An image of her shackled to my bench, peeled gingerroot inserted in her ass so she can’t clench her buttocks,
comes to mind.”
— E.L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey
“There I am, drunk on a spring night, yanking my tampon out and hurling it into a bush outside the church.”
— Lena Dunham, Not That Kind of Girl
Did these lines make you say WTF? Let us know, and tell us which lines you’ve recently read that made you say “WTF.”
Me reading all of these lines | via GIPHY
Featured Image Via Warner Bros.
Dreams have long been a fascinating phenomenon, eliciting intrigue, confusion, angst, and much debate between individuals. Dreams have a significant impact on dreamers everywhere and no one knows that better than creative minds.
Writers have often found inspiration and guidance from their dreams, as their own creative imaginations and inclinations towards capturing stories and experiences mirror dreams’ created allusions. Here are 4 famous books that were inspired by dreams.
1. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Image via Amazon
Mary Shelley penned Frankenstein, a quintessentially classic novel, as a result of challenging herself and a group of fellow writers including Lord Byron, to write a horror story after the group of pals found themselves relating haunting ghost stories one night at a party. Soon afterwards, Shelley reportedly had a bizarre dream about a creature created by a scientist. That dream later led to what is now Frankenstein.
“I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion.” – Mary Shelley, Frankenstein Preface
2. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
Image via Amazon
Margaret Atwood’s historical fiction tale, Alias Grace, was largely inspired by her appreciation of Canadian author, Susanna Moodie, who had written about the bizarre murder mystery surrounding the real Grace Marks. Atwood experienced an “empathetic” dream about Moodie, which led her to closely study Moodie’s work, particularly her coverage of Marks.
“The best writing dream I ever had was in the mid-Sixties. I dreamt I’d written an opera about a nineteenth-century English emigrant called Susanna Moodie, whose account of her awful experiences, Roughing It In The Bush, was among my parents’ books. It was a very emphatic dream, so I researched Mrs. Moodie, and eventually wrote a poem sequence, a television play, and a novel—Alias Grace—all based on material found in her work. But that sort of dream experience is rare.” – Margaret Atwood, NY Review
3. Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
Image via Amazon
If there’s one author who finds writing inspiration from their dreams (or their nightmares), it’s Stephen King. The Master of Horror has been vocal about his belief that dreaming, whether lucid or not, is an integral part of the creative process. One eerie dream in particular during his childhood proved so haunting and Stephen King-esque that it would be used as an outline for Salem’s Lot decades later.
“It was a dream where I came up a hill and there was a gallows on top of this hill with birds all flying around it. There was a hang man there. He had died, not by having his neck broken, but by strangulation. I could tell because his face was all puffy and purple. And as I came close to him he opened his eyes, reached his hands out and grabbed me.
Years later I began to work on Salem’s Lot… as I was looking around for a spooky house, a guy who works in the creative department of my brain said, ‘Well what about this nightmare you had when you were eight or nine years old? Will that work?’ And I remembered the nightmare, and I thought, yes, it’s perfect.”- Stephen King, Writers Dreaming
4. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Image via Amazon
Say what you want about Twilight, but the YA phenomenon has been one of the most successful book series in history and earned Stephanie Meyers a pretty impressive paycheck as well as cultural recognition. Interestingly enough, this cultural phenomenon came to the author in a dream.
“It was two people in kind of a little circular meadow with really bright sunlight, and one of them was a beautiful, sparkly boy and one was just a girl who was human and normal, and they were having this conversation. The boy was a vampire, which is so bizarre that I’d be dreaming about vampires, and he was trying to explain to her how much he cared about her and yet at the same time how much he wanted to kill her.” – Stephanie Meyers, CNN
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash