Posted by Alyssa Berthiaume, Marketing Coordinator
Stephanie Meyer’s epic trilogy, Twilight, whose audiences (both readers and movie-goers) either love-to-love or love-to-hate it, is the central focus of one of Ashgate’s latest titles in the series, Ashgate Studies in Childhood, 1700 to the Present: Genre, Reception, and Adaptation in the “Twilight” Series edited by Anne Morey. Though Meyer’s and Morey’s texts have much to offer and leave plenty to comment on, Morey’s work seems more consistently complimented than Meyer’s YA novels. Unlike the saga which is continuously under attack or stuck between adoration and ridicule, Morey’s collection of essays has received nothing but stellar reviews.
Annette Wannamaker, coordinator of Children’s Literature Studies at Eastern Michigan University, stated that Morey’s “collection illuminates the complex, ambiguous and significant place the Twilight novels have assumed in contemporary culture.” Furthermore, Wannamaker asserts that this collection of essays offers fresh and engaging material from an interdisciplinary perspective.
The Looking Glass: New Perspectives on Children’s Books, an electronic journal about Children’s Literature, proclaimed the text a “well-argued and thoughtful examination of the […] series as it exists now: phenomenally popular, culturally challenging, and clearly commenting on where we are now.”
Most recently, Children’s Literature Association Quarterly— arguably THE journal of journals on children’s literature, also gave it a stellar assessment. Reviewer Joseph Michael Sommers wrote:
This new volume from Ashgate is revelatory in terms of the study of Twilight…for both its breadth and its quality…[Morey’s] is one of the strongest arguments as yet proffered for academic consideration of Meyer’s work, through the simple consideration of the Saga as a relevant artifact reflecting the zeitgeist of the here and now.
Of course the review does not stop there. Sommers goes on to say that the audaciousness and clarity of Morey’s overall arguments make her text a “breath of fresh air in a cosmology of Twilight criticism.” As Sommers claims, much of Twilight scholarship is mocked or scorned for the attempt to find depth and significance in a work that often apologizes for itself. Yet, Morey has found at least three categories (as she states in her introduction) in which to analyze this literary and cultural phenomenon: genre, reception, and adaptation, as the title of her book identifies.
Morey slashes through the denunciations to show that the Twilight series is worthy of our study and significant to our cultural history. By dissecting Twilight under the scope of cultural studies she’s pried open its importance to pop culture, gender and young adult literature. Perhaps Morey’s essays will lead those loving and loyal audiences not to be ashamed of their adoration. If nothing else, Morey will at least make people reconsider that there might be more to Twilight than the superficial question of “who’s the lucky bachelor to win Bella’s heart, Edward or Jacob?”.
Anne Morey is associate professor of English at Texas A&M University. She is presently at work on a history of religious filmmaking in the United States.