I have read Twilight
and admit myself a failure--I sort of liked it.
Yes, Bella is a Mary Sue. Yes, it's really fucking creepy that Edward watches her while she sleeps and then makes knowing comments about how he spent his night. Yes, I had to wait 289 pages for a really weak explanation of why immortal vampires who are described as looking older than other high school students choose to spend their days in high school (and get to skive off on hunting trips half the time without getting Social Services all over their house). Yes, the last third of the book is really choppily paced and I was astounded by the stupidity of Bella's genius alternative plan for getting out of danger at Forks.
...But then, I read romance novels for fun. Compared to lots of them, Twilight
is well-written and exciting, with a sympathetic protagonist and, believe it or not, healthier sexual politics. I seem to have developed the right sort of mindset to enjoy it as a bit of escapism. Sorry. :(
(This isn't the end of my opportunities to complain about Stephenie Meyer here, though--I liked Twilight
well enough to decide to read the other ones, whenever the 14-year-old girls at my local library loosen their grip on copies, and I hear they get progressively worse...)
As a consolation prize, I offer you AN AWFUL SCENE OF SEXUAL INNUENDO IN BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA
The first time I read Dracula
, I was in eighth grade and everything except VAMPIRES! went straight over my head. I reread it this week and--ahem!
My first theory was that Stoker, as a Repressed VictorianTM
, didn't mean to put any subtext in his book--it's just that everything he found scary and suspenseful happened to come with huge amounts of sublimated sexual baggage.
Then (because I happened to have it on my shelves) I also read Bram Stoker: A Biography of the Author of Dracula
, by Barbara Belford. (This is the most recent biography; it seems very well researched, but not terribly well written.) Now I'm not sure. On one hand, Stoker started his writing career as a drama critic and was involved with the theater almost all of his life. Discerning shades of meaning was part of his job. He also idolized Walt Whitman and was friends with Oscar Wilde. On the other hand, in his later years (but not too long after publishing Dracula
) he became a strong advocate of the moral censorship of fiction.
In any case, I'll let you be the judge of the following excerpt:( Lie back and think of EnglandCollapse )