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Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Twilight Series and Jane Eyre

Stephanie Meyers' popular teen vampire novels have a surprising connection to the Brontes, it turns out. This article from The Courier Mail contains an interview with the author who claims Jane Eyre as an influence, although not an inspiration, for her work:

Speaking to me over the phone from her home in rural Arizona, Meyer, 34, revealed that Twilight's vampire Edward Cullen, a literary creation set to rival Harry Potter, is a subconscious combination of her three favourite leading men _ Jane Eyre's Edward Rochester, Pride and Prejudice's Fitzwilliam D'arcy and Anne of Green Gables' Gilbert Blythe.


Meyer says it was only when she finished Twilight that she realised there were similarities with Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. And that Edward Cullen was a combination of her favourite romantic protagonists, especially Jane Eyre's Edward Rochester, because the two Edwards see themselves as ``monsters''.

I am actually more surprised at the idea of a vampire with elements of Gilbert Blythe's character, and I do wonder what Lucy Maud Montgomery would think of it all!


heidenkind said...

This is actually a great post, because I never would have connected Jane Eyre and Twilight, but they both definitely have that same theme of a girl who views herself as an "ugly duckling" and outsider.

elena said...

I have not read "twilight" but I have seen severe reviews about it. I also have read that Wuthering Heights are mentioned. And I wonder is Meyer a little confused about her inspirational sourses or she just mentions famous classic books as related with her's to gain audience and acceptance? Because if she is and her production is so far below the limit as they say, maybe it isn't such a good idea. She won't attract classic readers by it, but she may try to give justification to those who unwittingly adore them.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely see the Gilbert Blythe inspiration. In Anne of Green Gables, Gilbert is playfully antagonistic of Anne, and she is always getting into scrapes and has her pride wounded by Gilbert witnessing them. Also, Anne said she would like to marry a man who "could be wicked, but wouldn't." That's Edward to a tee.

Anonymous said...

As an enthusiast of the works Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, I'm rather appalled at the minor connections. Though Meyer herself has claimed to have been "inspired" by elements in specifically Wuthering Heights, the Twilight series is a bastardization of anything remotely close to Wuthering Heights!

I can understand how the works of the Bronte sisters have made an impact on pop culture. However, for me, one of the underlining themes of Wuthering Heights is the severe consequence of severe passions. Even though I view Wuthering Heights's character of Heathcliff an interpretation of the Byronic anti-hero, he does serve the purpose of the overall theme. In defying our true natures, challenging God and Fate, we damn ourselves. Twilight is a teenage vampire romance that caters to the idea of an ideal love that has no resolve or consequence. No dark endings or growth from the protagonists involved within it. It is an overrated romance novel with very little depth outside the absurd ideals of "love".

The commonalities between Twilight and Wuthering Heights is limited to its brooding Byronic character of Edward Cullen. The narrative voice of Bella Swan is shallow and bares no comparison to Cathy other than their impeccable pallor. Whereas Wuthering Heights is an examination of what can be considered "love gone wrong", Twilight is a series of books which capture none of the important themes, and gloomy atmosphere immortalized in Wuthering Heights.

Then we have Jane Eyre, and once again Bella only shares the superficial basic profile of Jane but does not consist of the strength and determination. The books are not written in a manner to provide its readers depth. It's fast-food finished writing written for mass appeal with very little sustenance. And there's nothing too horrible about the occassional junk food...unless it's packaged to look like some gourmet meal with a steep price.

In other words, Twilight does nothing but patronize the ideals and themes of both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.

It captures the most highly intense and romanticized elements but fails to bring to the forefront the PURPOSE the Bronte Sisters established within the premise. There are always consequences, and these elements move the story and highlight the protagonists' cause.

We don't get that at the end of any of the books. There are so many plot holes and problematic character development, I find it highly suspect that Meyer actually read the books at all...unless she got the cliff note versions.

So, if one would love the read the Twilight series out of curiosity? Do it with the mindset of being entertained because if you into reading them with high expectations from overzealous fans, you'll regret it.

Laura's Reviews said...

One of the major elements of the Twilight series that I enjoyed the most were the parallels to classic literature that I love. It was very evident that the author had the same love for the same stories and characters that I did.

I think some people need to get off their high horse that something as "common" as the Twilight series could have anything in common with classic works of literature. If Twilight can get teens to think about reading Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights, it's done a good job. Also Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights were not themselves considered classics when they were written. Relax people.

La Coccinelle said...

Hmmm... I don't see the connection. Maybe between Edward and Heathcliff, because they're so creepy, dysfunctional, and obsessed. But Gilbert Blythe and Mr. Darcy? No way.

It sounds like Mrs. Meyer is trying to make a connection where there really isn't one.

(And when I see Twilight editions of these classics, it makes me wonder if she wasn't told to say these things, just so the publishers could make some more money selling classics to kids who are probably going to get bored after 20 pages).

Anonymous said...

This book has had a makeover...

'There was no possibility of taking a walk that day since a number of shallow graves containing the undead had been discovered in the grounds and the gardener would be required to stake, decapitate and burn the corpses before tea-time. We had been wandering, indeed, in the leafless shrubbery an hour in the morning; but since dinner (Mrs. Reed, when there was no company, dined early) the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so sombre, and a rain so penetrating, that further out-door exercise was now out of the question.

I was glad of it: In addition to the foul stench of burning flesh I never liked long walks,...'

watch the film at www.indiegogo.com/Vampyre

Free Elf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Free Elf said...

Yeah..but if they don't like reading anyways, then don't read. If people aren't into reading, there are alot of other productive things they can do like swim or dance or hike or something. I don't understand this view "As long as it gets people reading, its good enough." Nope! It just means those people aren't into reading. It doesn't say anything about the book,just says alot about its audience. And those audience for Twilight are women seeking wish fulfilment through Edward and Jacob. Now that is ok, but it does nothing for self growth. I doubt they will ever read a classic, the best that can happen is another wish fulfilment fan fiction, then what is the purpose of reading here if its only enjoyment and not intellectual, not providing any self growth?