On the Twilight series

Tall, Dark, and...Thirsty?

By Ellen Steiber

As Stephenie Meyer tells us, stories of vampires have been around for centuries and have appeared in almost every culture. Although it’s hard to make definitive statements about vampires, their history, or their lore, I think it’s safe to say that vampires were not originally conceived of as romantic heroes. They were threatening and tremendously creepy, monsters who caused fear and revulsion. They were a far cry from Meyer’s Cullen family, a clan of the undead who are so dazzlingly beautiful and good that when Bella seeks to give up her own mortality to join them, this reader’s first reaction was: You go, girl! Admittedly, that’s an oversimplification. Bella’s decision is complex, and Meyer provides all sorts of interesting conflicts and potential consequences. Still, the fact that Meyer makes the vampires and their lifestyle so alluring intrigued me. I couldn’t help wondering how vampires changed from revolting parasites to the equivalent of immortal benevolent supermodels, beings with whom almost anyone would gladly spend eternity.

As soon as I began to research vampires, I realized the answer to my question could not seriously be answered in an essay. There’s just such a wealth of vampire information–it’s even become an academic subject, taught in universities–that there’s no way I can properly sum it up here. There are also countless vampire novels adding to the lore, with more showing up in the bookstores every day. Teenage vampires, thanks in part to the success of Meyer’s books, seem to have become an industry of  …

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