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Fanpire: The Twilight Saga and the Women Who Love Itby Tanya Erzen
Synopses & Reviews
Fanpire: The Twilight Saga and the Women Who Love It is a mixture of journalism and cultural analysis that looks at one of the most successful cultural franchises in recent memory, Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. Over 110 million copies of the books have sold worldwide, with translations into 37 languages. The release of New Moon in November 2009 was the third largest box-office opening ever. Millions check websites like the Twilight Lexicon and Twilight Moms for up-to-the minute information about the books and films. MTV even has a Twilight correspondent.
Erzen investigates how the series, which appeals to a great extent to conservative Christian girls and women, sheds light on the yearnings and dissatisfactions of its readers. She also explores what obsessive interest in the Twilight romance among middle-aged women says about the failure of marriage as a romantic institution, how it affects the thinking of young women faced with sexual decision-making in their own lives, and how it embodies the idea that women are already empowered and thus in no need of feminism.
This book is written in an entertaining and accessible style to appeal to parents, teachers, and friends of Twilight fans who earnestly wish to understand why their daughters and peers are so obsessed. While the book is a critical assessment of Twilight's ideas of romance, relationships, sexuality, religion, and the commerce surrounding the franchise, Erzen is respectful of fans' experiences and the pleasures they take in the books and fandom. With wit and candor, Erzen explores how she herself is appalled by the series' ideology and yet irresistably drawn in by its over-the-top romantic appeal.
Twi-hards, as obsessed fans call themselves, are an active community, both online and in-person. Erzen's research for Fanpire has involved not only long hours in chat rooms, but has taken her to Twilight conventions, to movie premieres put on by the fans, to Forks, the small Washington town that serves as the setting of the saga, and has involved interviews with dozens of fans. She will be able to do a lot of Internet-based promotion to all the fans she has met in her research--as well as to the relgious studies and women's studies worlds, online and in academia.
"The sociopolitical implications of the Twilight saga and the 'fanpire' it's spawned are given the scholarly treatment by Erzen (Straight to Jesus: Sexual and Christian Conversions in the Ex-Gay Movement), an associate professor of comparative religious studies at Ohio State University. Erzen offers an engaging analysis of the intensity of fan response, as well as entertaining descriptions of her research: she attends conventions, a symposium, tours, a 'Bella's Self Defense Class' and a Twi-themed aerobic class. In the process, she introduces readers to a parade of 'twi-hards': the mostly Mormon Twilight Moms, Twilight Guy, Krisbians (lesbian fans of actress Kristen Stewart, who plays heroine Bella Swan in the movie adaptations), and church groups that plumb the series for 'biblical intent.' Erzen's most compelling argument is her analysis of Twilight as 'postfeminist fantasy.' Erzen was struck by how many female fans were drawn to the way Bella 'relinquishes her autonomy... weary of making decisions... they expressed a craving to have someone else-specifically, a boy-do it.' While Erzen aims more for breadth than depth, the book is a thought-provoking and entertaining take on the Twilight phenomenon. "
Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
An author immerses herself in the frenzied fandom of Twilight, the young-adult vampire romance series that has captivated women of all ages
Why have the Twilight saga’s representations of romance and relationships enchanted millions of fans and generated millions in revenue, selling everything from Barbie-type dolls to blockbuster films? Tanya Erzen—herself no stranger to the allure of the series—explores the phenomenon of Twilight, books and films influenced by conservative Mormon religious ideas, by immersing herself in the vibrant and diverse subculture of “Twi-hards” to understand why so many love the series (sometimes in spite of themselves). She attends Edward-addiction groups, Twi-rock concerts, and fan conventions, and looks at the vast world of online fandom that Twilight has generated. Part journalistic investigation and part cultural analysis, Fanpire will appeal to obsessed fans and haters alike.
About the Author
Tanya Erzen is an associate professor of comparative religious studies at Ohio State University. Her work has appeared in the Nation, the Boston Globe, and the Washington Post. She is the author of Straight to Jesus: Sexual and Christian Conversions in the Ex-Gay Movement, which won the Gustave O. Arlt Award and the Ruth Benedict Prize. She is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship and a visiting scholar at the Simpson Center for the Humanities at the University of Washington. She lives in Seattle.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Welcome to the Twilight Zone
Chapter 1: I'm in Love with a Fictional Character
Cheat Sheet: Twilight
Chapter 2: Sparkle, You Fool, Sparkle!
Cheat Sheet: New Moon
Chapter 3: Families That Prey Together, Stay Together
Cheat Sheet: Eclipse
Chapter 4: The Forbidden Fruit Tastes the Sweetest
Cheat Sheet: Breaking Dawn
Chapter 5: Where to Spend Those Twilight Dollars
Afterward: The Fog of Twilight
What Our Readers Are Saying