Monday, May 16, 2016

The Cozy Book Corner No. 7: Twilight-Inspired Book Covers for Classics

Welcome to my Monday 
bookish feature!

In each weekly post, I explore 
my thoughts on several 
book-related topics.

There is a series of five classics -- four novels and one play -- with covers that were 
supposedly inspired
by those of The Twilight Saga.
They were produced by Harper Teen, beginning 
from 2009 to 2011. They were meant to attract 
young adult audiences to the 
perennial classics of English Literature.

Some people were not very happy 
when these editions were published.
They somehow considered it insulting
that time-honored classics should have to be promoted under the Twilight banner.

I honestly don't see what all the fuss is about.
These covers are absolutely gorgeous!

So here they are -- "The Twilight Classics"!

These covers are very, very beautiful!!  
I can't say it enough!
The colors are indeed similar to those in 
The Twilight Saga's four volumes,
except for the rather obvious fact that 
the color green is not much in evidence
on the Twilight covers. 
If the same artist designed these,
as well as the Twilight ones, 
then it stands to reason that there would be 
some similarity of style.  
Well, there's nothing wrong with that!

If the publishers wanted a "similar look"
when they commissioned the covers 
for the classic novels, 
with the purpose of attracting a teen audience, 
I for one think this is a wonderful idea!
After all, these five books are love stories,
with the sole exception of Wuthering Heights,
which is really a tale of misplaced revenge. 
(The only thing I love about that book is the cover...)
Does putting such covers on these classics
mean that Twilight is on an equal 
literary footing with them?
Well, that's a loaded question...
If one looks at the writing styles in which 
the listed classics were written,
and compares them with the prose 
of The Twilight Saga, then obviously not.
However, if one looks at the dynamics of the plots
of these books, and the Twilight books,
one can't help but notice that 
the characters and events in all of them 
evoke some very, very similar
emotions.  They all touch the heart.  They all provide
that powerful catharsis present in all 
great literature, the grand drama that stirs the 
emotions, thus changing the reader forever.
These books all possess that elusive quality
that makes them timeless.
Is The Twilight Saga already a timeless classic?
Without a doubt.

So I am very pleased and happy that these 
five classic novels now have cover
 designed in this style.
Whether or not it's similar to that
of the Twilight books, it's still quite fitting.
Love, after all, has always been linked 
to the color red,
especially in such flowers as roses and tulips.

Of course, I am collecting all of these books, 
not only for the covers, but 
for what is contained within each book.
(This is not the case with Wuthering Heights,
however. I only like the cover of this book.)

The only classic I'm missing at this point is
Sense and Sensibility, but it won't be 
for long... it's in my Amazon 
Wish List, waiting for me to bring it home
with one swift click! 

What are your thoughts 
on this topic?
What do you think of these covers?
Please leave a comment
and let me know!


Brian Joseph said...

This is a very interesting subject Maria.

I know of at least one person who vigorously objected to one of these covers.

I tend to agree with you that these are really nice covers and anything that draws interest to the classics is a good thing.

On the other hand, I have not read the Twilight Saga, but I do not have a bad impression of it. I tend to think that it is a fanciful, young adult story that is infused with a lot of good characteristics. But that is just an educated guess on my part. If I had a negative impression of the series, I might not be so positive about these designs.

Maria Behar said...

Hey, Brian!

I really do think it's silly for anyone to complain about these designs being related to the Twilight books. These covers are GORGEOUS, and if they have served to attract teens and young adults to the classics, then whoever thought of this project did a very good deed for classic literature!

As for The Twilight Saga, well, it's a complicated issue..... Even though it's so very popular (of course, you already know that I count myself among its ardent fans) not everyone likes the books. People who are conservative Christians object to the fact that Bella is so obsessed with Edward, on the grounds that she practically 'worships' him. This is SO ridiculous! Edward is just as obsessed with Bella as she is with him. These Christians also object to some 'occultic' elements in the story. Well, ALL fantasy has such elements. That doesn't necessarily mean readers are going to go and put them into practice!

Feminists criticize Bella's 'passivity', saying that she lets Edward get away with 'stalker behavior', for example. Well, Bella is caught in the throes of love. And she becomes VERY powerful toward the end of the series!

Other women and girls think these books are much too 'cheesy' because of certain scenes and dialogues. Please. These books are HIGHLY romantic. Obviously, they appeal mostly to the female gender. In fact, in my opinion, they fulfill a woman's most basic fantasies of true love. With these books, Stephenie Meyer has really touched the depths of the female soul, which yearns for Love, more than anything else.

And yes, feminists DO need love, too.

All of these criticisms totally miss the point. And this point was brilliantly made in an online article I read several years ago (gotta see if I can find it again) about the use of vampires as metaphors. The author of this article stated that ALL men are 'vampires'. He meant that all men have a dark side that can potentially hurt women, and the beauty of Twilight is that Edward does his utmost to protect Bella from himself. Because, at the same time that he feels attracted to her as a woman, he also feels attracted to her blood. So he's in a constant inner battle to NOT hurt her. In fact, at one point, he saves her from being raped.

The interesting thing is that Bella saves Edward at one point, too -- in the second book, "New Moon". Thinking she had died, he attempts to commit suicide, and she saves him in the nick of time.

It might seem strange that vampires would be portrayed in a positive light, but this is not the first time they have been. Another paranormal romance author whose books I love is Amanda Ashley. Although her vampires are of the more 'traditional' kind, she, too, uses the vampire metaphor. Like Edward, her heroes don't want to be monsters. And they yearn to be loved and accepted for themselves.

I certainly do NOT like "Dracula-type" vampires, who are indeed evil monsters. Such are the Volturi, in The Twilight Saga. And Edward's family, the Cullens, are NOTHING like them. In fact, they prey on animals, so as to avoid killing humans.

It especially rankles for someone like Stephen King (whose work I detest) to DARE to say that Stephenie Meyer is not a good writer. How WRONG he is!

You might try reading the first book in the series -- "Twilight" -- and see what you think. You will see right away why these novels are so popular with many women and young girls!

Thanks for the thought-provoking comment!! :)

Brian Joseph said...

You make the books sound so interesting!

I would just like to mention, that even if some of the actions of the protagonist are questionable, I would not hold that against the series. For instance , If one thinks a character is too passive it is only a reflection of real life. Sometimes people are too passive. I think that this is also true for sympathetic characters. People are not perfect, I would not expect characters to be.

I know that these books is very popular with woman and young girls. I have run into a lot of men who like them too.

Maria Behar said...

Hey, Brian!

Oh, I had not seen this latest comment....sorry about that!

You are absolutely right -- if a literary character is too passive, it's a reflection of real life.

What happened, in the case of The Twilight Saga, was that some feminists were of the opinion that Bella should have been a much stronger character, that she shouldn't have been as obsessed with Edward as she was. However, they TOTALLY missed two very important points: 1.)When you fall in love, you DO become obsessed with the person you've fallen in love with. That's what falling in love is all about, after all! And this happens to men, as well. Edward is just as obsessed with Bella as she is with him. 2.)Bella grows to become a much stronger character later on in the series. For instance, in "New Moon", she actually saves Edward in the nick of time; he had been about to commit suicide because he thought she had died. (They had been separated, in this book, so he got second-hand news that he misinterpreted.) Going back to point 1, this clearly shows how very obsessed Edward was. You don't try to commit suicide when you think your "former" romantic partner has died, UNLESS you are totally obsessed with them!

All in all, some feminists (I don't think all of them have disapproved of these books; I certainly haven't!) just seem to have missed the very important themes of these novels: the power of love, the importance of human life, the importance and power of loyalty, and so many other beautiful things inherent in these stories.

Now that you mention men liking these books, the other day I met a guy at the beauty salon where I get my hair done. He was a member of the staff. We got to talking, and he told me that he LOVES The Twilight Saga, but his wife doesn't! How about that?! I couldn't believe it!! But yes, he does indeed love it. He said his wife is Colombian, so he thinks it must be a cultural thing. I don't know about that, because these books are VERY popular, worldwide.

Anyway.....let me go ahead and get off my little soapbox

Thanks for commenting again!! Hope you have a GREAT holiday weekend!! :)