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Bitten by Twilight

Youth Culture, Media, and the Vampire Franchise


Edited By Melissa A. Click, Jennifer Stevens Aubrey and Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz

Focusing on the wildly successful Twilight series, this collection of scholarly essays examines the phenomenon from diverse theoretical and methodological perspectives. Particular attention is paid to cultural, social, and economic aspects of the series and to the recurrent messages about youth, gender roles, romance, and sexuality. Essays discuss race and religion, and provide audience analyses of young adult, adult, anti-, and international fans. Other chapters are political-economic examinations into celebrity, tourism, and publishing. With new research by established and rising scholars, this volume is a significant contribution to the growing field of youth studies and complements existing feminist cultural analyses of media texts.


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Introduction - Melissa A. Click, Jennifer Stevens Aubrey, & Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz 1


Introduction Melissa A. Click, Jennifer Stevens Aubrey, & Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz In 2005, Little, Brown Publishing released Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight with an initial printing of 75,000 copies (“Stephenie Meyer,” 2008). The novel, the first of a four-book series about the unlikely romance between high school student Bella Swan and vampire Edward Cullen, became wildly popular. The story came to Meyer in a dream in which an average girl was discussing a budding affair with her love interest, a vampire, who was having difficulty fighting the urge to kill her (Grossman, 2008). This dream became the infamous “meadow scene” in Chapter 13 of Twilight. Though the novels are situated in a fantasy about vampires and shape-shifting werewolves, at its heart Twilight is a story of true love prevailing against all odds. Using classic tales, such as Romeo and Juliet and Wuthering Heights, as inspiration, Meyer’s books intertwine romance, fantasy, and suspense to communicate messages about love, family, and morality. The Twilight Narrative Readers experience Bella’s journey of love and loss through her eyes2 as she comes to find love and a home in Edward and his family of vampires (the Cullens). A product of middle class divorced parents, 17-year-old Bella has spent her childhood living with (and raising) her flighty mother, Renée Dwyer. At the beginning of Twilight, during the middle of her junior year of high school, Bella moves from Phoenix, Arizona, to Forks, Washington, to live with her father, Charlie Swan, who has had very little involvement in her...

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