The author is dead. And so are her characters, it would seem.

May 2, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Posted in books, debate | Leave a comment
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You’d have to be a philistine, agoraphobic or illiterate not to have noticed the rise in vampire fiction these past few years.  Those of you who do read (and I’m not counting Heat magazine, though I know you love it, Greg and Janie) or have the pleasure to work in a bookshop will know that the lady who started the trend goes by the name of Stephanie Meyer.

Now, for those of you who don’t know, I’m an English graduate, and am therefore used to sucking the life out of literature until it ceases to mean anything ( I can’t believe people actually get paid to teach people to do this).  Yes, I enjoy this, and I also believes that sometimes dissecting a text brings you more pleasure from it.  But I also think that there is nothing better than reading a book purely to enjoy it.

That’s why those journalists and any other people (usually those who have to read a newspaper to find an opinion) who write that Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight tetralogy is merely a vessel for her Mormon beliefs are missing the point.  Alright, perhaps I am, too: if journalists only ever wrote about how much they’d enjoyed a book, there wouldn’t be much point in reading their work.  What I’m saying is, think like Barthes.  Think the author is dead.  Suspend your belief when reading about Bella and Edward, and submerge yourself in the mythology that there really are vampires in smalltown America (vegetarian ones at that).  Stop seeing the fact that the young lovers take so long to sleep together as a metaphor for the preservation of virginity, or the large Cullen clan as representative of the typical Mormon family.  Does it really matter who wrote it?  Like it or don’t like it: don’t ruin what is supposed to be a leisure activity with analysis.  Because I hate to break it to all you other English graduates, but not everything has to mean something.

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