Saturday, June 30, 2012

Too Young for Old Stuff?

 Today my friend Hanna and I rode bikes to the library. I was looking for a copy of Northanger Abbey. You know, that book Jane Austen wrote that isn't Pride and Prejudice. I checked in the adult section because they never put classics on the YA shelves, even The Catcher in the Rye, where the main character is a sixteen year old boy. They didn't have Northanger Abbey, but I found Mansfield Park (Fanny Price, age 18), Sense and Sensibility (Marianne and Elinor, 17 and 19 respectively), and seven copies of Pride and Prejudice (Elizabeth Bennett, age 20).
I gave up and went to see if a copy of Laurie Halse Anderson's Wintergirls had been checked in. It hadn't, so I searched the nearby shelves for anything interesting. I noticed a book with the name Austen on the spine. Wondering what an author would write if they thought they might be shelved next to Pride and Prejudice, I pulled it off to look at the cover.

Anne Elliot, age 27. The oldest of Jane Austen's heroines by several years. The cover usually looks more like this:

According to the internet, HarperCollins thought that teenage girls are far more likely to read the Twilight Saga and ignore classics. So they took Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, and even Shakespeare and created new covers specifically designed to resemble Stephanie Meyer's.
Twilight Series Covers Stephanie Meyer Bella Edward

HarperCollins Twilight Inspired Classics Book Covers Romeo Juliet Pride Prejudice Jane Eyre Wuthering Heights Bronte Austen Shakespeare
They have new taglines, too. I can't make the picture any bigger.
The Original  Forbidden Love...
The Love That Started It All
Love Conquers All
Love Never Dies (Bella and Edward's Favorite Book)

HarperCollins Twilight Inspired Classics Book Covers William Shakespeare Jane Austen Austen Midsummer's Night Dream Persuasion Emma Sense Sensibility
And here they branch out and explore species of flower that aren't roses. Love Casts A Spell, A Love Beyond Measure again, Love Is A Game, and Love is Blind.
So apparently, Love is some kind of immortal, playful, all-powerful, visually challenged wizard.
And you wonder why your mother warned you.
 So how did Persuasion end up in the teen section, and why was it alone? It could have been a shelving error. Or perhaps a troop of Twilight fangirls were crawling across the library floor on their stomachs and decided to liberate all the other flowery classics from the bottom shelf. They stopped to read the summaries, of course, and left Anne Elliot behind because she's the oldest. They learned from this that they were classics, but the flowers were still too alluring to resist.
We actually are capable of reading classics unprompted. As I mentioned in my last post, I have four friends who read Les Miserables, unabridged.
A couple of weeks ago I was at a pizza party with eleven girls. Now, all you boys out there who are dying to know what happens at an all girl party, we ate two slices of pizza each, put Pandora on as background music, and spent the next hour and a half talking. Somehow we got on the subject of books-Les Miserables, To Kill A Mockingbird, Hunger Games, and Pride and Prejudice.
For the sake of provoking interesting conversation (and because many girls had expressed displeasure that we were discussing books instead of boys) I gave them a question.
"Who's the hottest male character, Mr. Darcy or-" I stopped to think of another guy who could go up against Darcy. Gale, Peeta, or Jacob would divide them even further, and Edward would provoke feeling of disgust.
"Mr. Darcy!" My friend shouted. "No contest."
I don't doubt that the Twilight Saga is still big, but nobody cared about it much until the first movie came out. I probably knew about it before you. I haven't read about it yet, but I've known about it for years. A friend of mine mentioned the title, so I googled it. I remember I had to go through multiple pages before finding the website because all the top results were about the Twilight Zone.
But a lot of teenagers have read it. And we don't all worship it either. Mainly, Bella's the person we make fun of when we're tired of jokes about Justin Bieber and Obama (come on, you do it too. The bigger the fan club, the bigger the hate club).
Teenagers are capable of reading and appreciating classics, or any quality literature really.

1 comment:

  1. Darling, thank you ever-so for having all of the "Twilight-inspired" book covers in one place,and your post was terribly helpful in an article I just wrote for my school paper. All the best to you!