Bella and the Beast: When Vampires Fall in Love, or the Twilight of a Genre

by Marko Lukić and Ljubica Matek

Note: Page numbers from the print version are indicated in brackets and should not be considered part of the text of the article.

[page 80] The early twenty-first century saw an enormous rise of both production of and interest in vampire-related books, series and movies. As Gelder pointed out, while the vampires’ nature is fundamentally conservative because they cannot stop doing what they do, that is, drink blood, culturally they are highly adaptable, which is why the overuse of the vampire motif is not that surprising. They can signify a range of meanings and positions in the culture and simultaneously appeal to or create fundamental urges such as desire, anxiety and fear (141). Gordon and Hollinger believe that it is this rich metaphorical usefulness what kept the vampires “undead” in contemporary popular culture (3) and, accordingly, it would be reasonable to expect that such “pliability” would enable the postmodern vampires, who seem to be an excellent means for enticing mass consumption, to address a wide range of topics in order to satisfy the interests of the contemporary audience.

It seems as if the consumption-compulsion that drives the culture of late capitalism, where the bloodsucking factory owners of the nineteenth century have been replaced by the vampiric self-replication of the brand, may indicate that Western consumers are, as a group, possessed; that Gothic may offer a particularly suggestive mode for expressing the zeitgeist (Spooner 127).

The great popularity of Stephenie Meyer’s novels and their adaptations to film created a domino effect resulting in rapid production of numerous vampire books, movies and series (Klosterman 1).1 While Twilight and its sequels may seem to promote the vampire story, they are for the most part not interested in vampires as complex and perverse creatures at all. According to Klosterman, the Twilight series is not about vampirism anyway, but about the nostalgia for teenage chastity. Its success is based on the attractiveness of its film cast and the fact that contemporary fiction consumers tend to prefer long serialized novels that can be read rapidly (1). What is more, the Twilight saga and its movie adaptations do not imply an increased interest in the elements and narratives belonging to the Gothic literary tradition, and they do not contribute to the development or revival of the vampire genre in the literary sense.

From its beginnings, the Gothic genre served as an outlet for contemporary anxieties connected with complex issues such as sexuality, gender, race and class as well as a means to cope with continuous social distress and fluctuations caused by urbanization and scientific, [page 81] technological and industrial progress. The cause of the anxiety was typically depicted as some sort of monster that threatens our placid and comfortable existence. The monstrous being, knowledge or place was typically rich in metaphoric potential (think, for example, of Frankenstein’s and Jekyll’s laboratories that embody all this in one) and its main purpose is to entice critical thinking and unsettle the readers. The same purpose and effect were preserved in contemporary notions of the monstrous embodied into creative opuses such as, for example, Thomas Harris’s novels Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs which depict a serial killer or in the numerous post-apocalyptic visions of a world overrun by walking corpses, starting in 1968 with George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead to the latest sub-genre evolutions such as 28 Days Later (dir. Danny Boyle) and Frank Darabont’s TV series The Walking Dead, to name just these few. But Meyer’s story betrays the most basic intention of the genre.2 It relies on the attraction of the vampire as a supernatural creature that provokes both interest and fear, but not with the intention to promote the Gothic genre or challenge traditional practices. Meyer uses Gothic motives merely to create attractive main protagonists in – what turn out to be – romantic love stories that can be “consumed” quickly by a wide, predominantly female, audience. The attraction of vampire narratives lies in the fact that they depict love stories between a distinctly handsome vampire and a beautiful female protagonist. According to Backstein, stories such as Twilight, True Blood, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Vampire Diaries

are female-centered narratives that strive for audience identification with the heroine—with her strength, her extraordinary capabilities, her status as an object of desire, or a combination of all these traits. … [They] all have their origins in young adult novels aimed specifically at girls. They then crossed over to capture a huge audience of older women, who lapped up their Gothic atmosphere, dreamy heroes, and romantic focus. (38)

Instead of posing important questions about contemporary life, the author wants to make us believe that everything will be all right as long as we follow the established social practices.

Sexuality is a topic that is at the very essence of many Gothic texts. But the Gothic genre deals with sexuality as a raw and untamed facet of human lives, connects it with transgression and reveals how dark and uncontrollable human passions really are. John William Polidori’s Lord Ruthven is the first vampire that is no longer a “mindless peasant of legend” (Punter and Byron 157), but an aristocrat closely resembling Polidori’s close friend and patient – Lord Byron, and a vampire who [page 82] seduces and corrupts only the most innocent of women and men. With Ruthven, Polidori has created an iconic character whose sexual appeal tends to defy the social norms of the period. He functions as a prototype, offering the reader both the cultural and social appeal of a haunted aristocrat (a theme greatly appreciated by the early Gothic writers). Thus, the original image of the vampire, together with his alternative forms (rats, wolves and bats), that symbolized the carrier and threat of the plague, believed since the Middle Ages to be originating from the East (Botting 95) is enriched by a new element of “disease”, that is moral corruption which ensues after the vampire seduces his victim into any kind of transgression (sexual, moral, financial). Bram Stoker’s vampire antagonist, Dracula, remains a true Gothic antihero, complex and brooding, yet still somehow irresistible. In Dracula, Stoker successfully merges some of the contemporary Victorian issues with a strong folkloristic subtext overflowing from the still unexplored European East. Stoker opposes two spaces in all of their cultural and social complexity: the West is epitomized in the form of the highly developed Victorian England, and the East seems to be a space of inferior civilization values.3 But he also shows that the almost sterile Victorian imagination is completely oriented towards the booming scientific advancements, and is therefore unable to deal with anything that defies the strict boundaries of rational thought, whether this is something supernatural or something quite natural, such as human passions. Thus, he creates a complex subtext that will characterize the rest of the novel and allow for the possibility of multiple readings and interpretations, one of which is surely an independent social critique. Moreover, the vampire continues to be both a real and a symbolic threat to the social order and life as we know it.

In his essay “Metaphor into Metonymy: The Vampire Next Door,” Jules Zanger proposes a premise that the construction and popularity of the “new” vampire represents the process of transformation of the metaphoric vampire as Anti-Christ, magical, metaphysical “other”, into the metonymic vampire as social deviant. This process erodes many qualities that generated the vampire’s, that is, Count Dracula’s, original appeal resulting in entropic reductivism. The cause is, unsurprisingly, the commercial proliferation of vampires in a variety of media which requires the protagonists to appeal to a wide range of audience – readers and viewers of diverse ages, education and levels of literacy (17-18). The result is a humanized, socialized and secularized vampire deprived of many of his folkloric attributes, who murders for “human” reasons – either personal survival or personal pleasure (22-23) which permits the existence of both “good” and bad vampires (18-19). Meyer draws heavily on the idea that there can be good and bad vampires, creating a black and white world of one-dimensional fairy-tale characters, which have nothing to do [page 83] with the Gothic tradition and complexity. Meyer’s vampires correspond to Zanger’s paradigm of the “new” vampire in the sense that the vampire has attained many human characteristics (22-23). Meyer’s vampire protagonists are in fact made out to seem ideal, and consequently the dangerous Gothic “other” becomes a sort of a role model for teenagers – not a social deviant as Zanger suggests, but literally a superhuman being with remarkable physical characteristics (speed, strength and beauty) and moral virtues. Unlike Lord Ruthven or Dracula, Edward Cullen is far from being a threat to anyone.

Vampire fiction, although flexible in many ways, depends on the recollection and acting out of certain “lore” – “facts” widely known about vampires: they are repelled by garlic and crucifixes, they cannot enter the house unless they are invited, they need their own land to sleep on, and so on. Contemporary vampire fiction uses this “lore” as a point of reference, either taking it very seriously (exaggerating its use and effects), parodying it or modifying it (Gelder 35). Stephenie Meyer modifies the folkloric attributes of vampires in order to create characters that depart significantly from the long-ago established image of dark, sensuous blood-suckers. Her intention is not to write a Gothic novel, or even a Gothic romance; she simply (ab)uses the elements of a popular genre in order to produce a bestselling teenage love story. The vampires are deprived of their vampire traits and the possibility to interpret them in more ways than one is cancelled out. Her hugely popular novels, as well as their film adaptations, therefore seem to embody the erosion of both the vampire character and the genre in general as they are marketed, viewed and perceived as nothing other than a teenage romance.

The Cullens, “startlingly beautiful and supremely standoffish” (Backstein 39), with their fair hair, superhuman abilities and a distinct interest in classical music and nature, seem to represent a family of Renaissance men and women the readers (and the viewers of the movie adaptations) should look up to, rather than Gothic villains who should be shunned for their dangerous perversity. This kind of mutation does not seem to be a part of a natural evolution of a genre, since it rejects the genre’s very basic postulates. As Gothic fiction evolved, the archaic atmosphere and setting of the early Gothic fiction had to be adapted to the contemporary time by abstracting certain leading features of Gothic setting. It was no longer restricted to medieval castles, because it had to correspond to the imaginative world of the audience, but the enclosed spaces of the old building that carries the associations of the destructive past were retained (Baldick xv-xvi) as basic Gothic features. Meyer, however, leaves out the decayed, old buildings from Twilight, suggesting in a way that her vampire fiction is not a part of the Gothic tradition at all, [page 84] but, as it turns out, a combination of a coming-of-age novel4 and a (teenage) romance “with a paranormal twist” (Backsten 39).

Instead of living in a decaying Gothic castle, the Cullens live in a glass house with ample daylight. The vampires are no longer the creatures of the dark; the sunlight cannot destroy them. However, they are still forced to avoid it, if they do not wish to attract too much attention to themselves. Namely, sunlight literally makes the vampires’ skin shine like diamonds. Consequently, the Cullens chose to live in Forks, a small town “under a near-constant cover of clouds” (Meyer 3), as cloudy weather enables them to participate in the community’s everyday life by obscuring their sparkly nature. Their commitment to become a part of the (human) community is emphasised by the fact that the head of the Cullen family is a medical doctor. His integrity and loyalty to the human race is thus confirmed on daily basis, as he helps the sick and wounded never taking advantage of the helpless, bleeding humans – an easy vampire pray. Moreover, none of the members of the Cullen family drink human blood, but feed on the blood of animals instead. This gives their eyes a golden gleam (unlike the terrifying read glow that the eyes of those who feed on people have) and testifies to their “enlightenment” and “humaneness” which enables the vampires to become a part of the mainstream society and live among the humans. The contemporary vampires no longer wish to exist without the system, but to integrate and become accepted members of the community, which is why they must (and are willing to) blend in.

Additional evidence suggests that Meyer resorted to the use of Gothic characters in her romance simply for decorative purposes. First of all, the Cullen’s home – a word one would not normally use to designate the vampires’ dwelling place, but one that suits the Cullens’ place perfectly, is outside of town, on a secluded spot. This, however, is not because they (symbolically) represent a constant threat from afar. Their dislocated house rather serves to reinforce their “air of nobility,” and so does their European destination of choice, which is no longer the dark and brooding East, that is Romania, but bella Italia, the country which, in the mind of every Westerner, invokes associations connected with culture, art, music and beauty. Meyer alludes thus that the vampire is not just like us, but better than us, so much so that the vampire, in fact, turns out to be a guardian angel. Edward’s angelic nature and his protectiveness of Bella are, quite unsubtly, made clear in a particular scene in Hardwicke’s movie Twilight (2008) as Edward sits at his desk in science class next to a stuffed white owl with spread wings. As Bella approaches him, and the camera shows Edward from a different angle, it seems that the spread white wings belong to him, suggesting that he is, in fact, an angel5 (10’48’’). As the story of the young couple develops, this will prove to be [page 85] true: Edward’s main mission is to protect Bella from whatever harm may come her way.

The exemplary nature of the family makes them desirable in-laws for the insecure heroine scarred by the failure of her parents’ marriage and entices the teenage reader to root for the vampire. Edward is the only one who can give Bella the kind of love she deserves: timeless and never-ending, and it is through his love that she will finally transform into a woman. From an insecure girl hardly able to make eye-contact with people, she will gain self-esteem through her relationship with Edward. Once married and a mother, Bella becomes a strong, determined woman who fights for her child and for her happy ending. The Twilght saga upholds the patriarchal notion of marriage and family relations, proving that a woman needs to be defined by her man and that she can only find her full realization within the confines of the domestic life and motherhood. Of course, it is hardly a crime to write a teenage love story which upholds patriarchy, but it is far from anything Gothic. Meyer’s narrative is in its core and intent clearly not influenced by the transgressive – and in many ways avant-garde – nature of the Gothic but by what Phyllis Rose refers to as the narrative tradition of romance (7). The narrative of romance and the myth of true love that underlies it have the most significant role in the Western social practice. Our lives are governed by the mechanics of love stories that abound in literary narratives not simply because we inherently desire to have and live a perfect love story, but also because we are taught to desire and live one. According to Rose, we limit our lives with different plots, and the most banal and sterile ones are the plots of love and marriage (7-8). The reason is that we “filter our experience through the romantic clichés with which popular culture bombards us” which is nothing short of “a betrayal of our inner richness and complexity” (Rose 8). This is precisely what occurs in Twilight and any connection between the novels about Edward and Bella and the Gothic genre would mean the betrayal of the Gothic richness and complexity.

Another interesting departure of the modern vampire from its origins can be observed through an analysis of the multilayered social discourses characteristic for the early vampire narratives. While Polidori comments on all kinds of social vice, such as substance abuse, promiscuity, and gambling, Stoker tackles the issue of colonization and the metaphoric revolt of the “inferior” East visible through Count Dracula’s desire to become a part of the English society. But his blending-in is not motivated by the desire to become human or to help humans in any way. Rather, it signifies an “inverted-colonization.” The fear of the invisible monster becomes the fear of the threat of racial pollution, with the East, once a colony, metaphorically and actually colonizing the British Empire.6 [page 86] Furthermore, Stoker comments on the issues of gender as well. By making Dracula target women, emphasizing them as the “weak link” of Victorian society, he responds to the emergence of the idea of the “New Woman.” As Lyn Pykett states, the New Woman was “the embodiment of a complex of social tendencies” (139), a social phenomenon whose title “named a beacon of progress or beast of regression, depending on who was doing the naming” (139). It represented the attempt of women to claim a portion of the cultural and social life of the Victorian society, regardless of the potential threat to the established social order. Through the sexually liberal character of Lucy Westenra, Stoker depicts the fear of his contemporaries concerning the increasingly dangerous familiarity of women with their sexuality which threatened the destruction of the established male-centered social order. At the time, “Many doctors believed that the development of a woman’s brain induced infertility by causing the womb to atrophy, and hence jeopardized the survival of the race” (Pykett 140) which is why a passive and submissive female represented the ideal, whereas the emancipated women prone to question social boundaries, such as Lucy, had to be punished by death in order to preserve the status quo. Although Meyer has a similar agenda – the promotion of monogamy and patriarchal order, her novels lack the complexity that lies at the heart of the Gothic.

In Stoker’s novel, Lucy is the New Woman. The peak of her rebellious behavior comes forth in a particular moment when she is retelling her interaction with numerous suitors to her friend Mina Murray. Describing three different courtships in a single day, Lucy concludes her story to Mina with a thought – “Why can’t they let a girl marry three men, or as many as want her, and save all this trouble? But this is heresy, and I must not say it” (Stoker 76). However, Lucy’s actual defiance occurs only after her encounter with the vampire. Just like a sexual disease, the vampire is metaphorically invited by the victim through the lascivious desires of the female character. The change in Lucy’s appearance after her return from the dead is, from the perspective of her hunters, almost dramatic. The once shy and “pure” young woman, naïve in her beliefs and attitudes was now replaced by a creature whose presence now emanated a raw, almost animal sexuality. At first, while still lying in the coffin, Lucy does not resemble a dead person. Instead she is even “more radiantly beautiful than ever” (Stoker 240). But the situation drastically changes the next time the group of hunters encounter her, and Lucy instead of resembling the innocent (and non-threatening) girl they once knew, becomes something not only dangerous but also explicitly alluring: “The sweetness was turned to adamantine, heartless cruelty, and the purity to voluptuous wantonness” (252-253). The narrator continues with the description of the newly awoken “monstrous” sexuality – “She still advanced, however, [page 87] and with a languorous, voluptuous grace, said: ‘Come to me, Arthur. Leave these others and come to me. My arms are hungry for you. Come, and we can rest together. Come, my husband, come!’” (253). Arthur’s reaction, and the reaction of the rest of the party is almost comic manifesting itself in their horror not concerning so much the supernatural occurrence that was taking place in front of their eyes as much as with the continuously emphasized “voluptuousness” of the Un-dead.

Contrary to the forbidden passions embodied in Stoker’s Lucy and the men who first attempt to seduce and then to kill her, Bella’s encounter with Edward resembles, as Backstein remarked, far more – both in name and in idea – Disney’s story of the beauty and the beast who turns out to be a prince (41). “The Gothic abounds in sensational affects, anomalous perceptions, and astonishing concepts” (Powell 96) all of which are unavailable in Meyer’s fiction. According to Morris, Gothic sublimity arises from the complex relationship between our intimate (suppressed) desires and the feeling of terror that, for the most part, results from “dangers of an uncontrollable release from restraint” (306). Such dangers seem to be minimized in the Twilight series, where the vampire, typically the provocateur, one who lusts after the blood (and sex) of young women, is not only the guardian angel but also the keeper of the main female protagonist’s virginity. Their innocence is continuously emphasized as they embody the types of the beautiful virgin and her destined prince. In Eclipse (2010), the movie adaptation of Meyer’s novel of the same name, Bella informs her father that Edward is “old school,” which means he abstains from extramarital sex, and that she is still a virgin, which, clearly, results in the father’s approval: “Virgin? I’m liking Edward a little bit more now” (72’ 40’’). Instead of representing the lure of the sexual, of what is desired, yet forbidden, he represents an ideal son-in-law and, as Backsten notices, an ideal romantic hero – tormented by his past and protective of the woman he loves (39).

Meyer’s focus on a chaste love story results in the total absence of the Gothic sublime and her novels become in effect romanced advice on sexual abstinence for contemporary teenagers and serves as an affirmation of the notion that there is an ideal soul mate for everyone and that the proper way to consume love (not passion!) is within the confines of marriage and, consequently, a traditional nuclear family. In his article “‘I Shall Be with You on Your Wedding Night’: Lacan and the Uncanny,” Dolar claims that ideology will continuously try to integrate the uncanny, make it familiar to itself in order to contain it, or, more precisely, to dispense with it (19). The Twilight series is a case in point. Although it exploits the vampire motif heavily, it is hardly representative of the Gothic genre. According to Backstein, “the modern vampire story is one about self-control, about man struggling to master his worst impulses – [page 88] perhaps even his essential nature – through whatever means necessary” (38), and so Bella and Edward fight their carnal impulses until they can be sanctified by matrimony. Vampire films typically have a strong sexual inflexion and they focus on youth primarily because it is then that sexuality is at its most formative moment (Gelder 93). Meyer’s fiction and its movie adaptations target this particular demographic group, more precisely young women, but not because there is the intention to cause fear and anxiety in relation to what is forbidden, although desired, but because there is a strong intention to teach and promote the values of sexual abstinence.

Although Edward is a vampire, he is void of any of the demonic aspects characteristic for vampires. In fact, he is very politically correct and quite bland, retaining the vampire aspect of his nature only as an incentive for achieving sexual or emotional appeal. The dangerous Gothic “other” therefore becomes a role model for teenagers and not a social deviant and outcast. Thus, Twilight seems to simultaneously erode the traditional vampire character postulates, and to conform to the contemporary financial and market requirements of the entertainment industry. For the most part, these requirements imply a love romance with a happy ending that includes traditional family bliss. In his analysis of stardom and public acceptance, John Belton concludes that stars answer “a particular need that the public either consciously or unconsciously has at a particular time for a particular figure of identification” (100). In this way, the enormous popularity of Meyer’s characters and of the movie stars that play them, as well as of other romance stories and heroes, prove that the vast majority of public, or, more precisely, Meyer’s target audience, is continuously haunted by the desire of finding true love and the anxiety that accompanies it, rather than by more complex social issues. Consequently, the relationship between Bella and Edward epitomizes the Western contemporary myth of star-crossed lovers, whose ill fate, unlike the one of Romeo and Juliet, is in the end overcome. The lovers who are destined to be together, regardless of the many differences (racial, ethnic, religious, and so on) manage to stay together and, in Breaking Dawn, book four of the series, finally get married and have a child. Apart from the obvious tensions that may occur in “interspecies” relationships, the protagonists actually lack real complexity of motivation. Instead of being puzzled and excited by the perverse and complicated nature of Gothic protagonists, the contemporary reader (and viewer) is served with “flat earnestness” (Klosterman 1) of the main vampire protagonist. Edward is not a monster nor does he represent a threat to Bella in any way. While the monster, according to Dolar, “can stand for everything that our culture has to repress – the proletariat, sexuality, other cultures, alternative ways of living, heterogeneity, the Other” (19), Edward represents the very [page 89] values that the dominant ideology wishes to promote: chastity, loyalty, romantic love and complete devotion to the loved one. The forbidden, out-of-wedlock eroticism of the old European tradition of vampire stories was exchanged for American mainstream Puritanism and “an affirmation of a powerful love that transcends the limits of human life” (Backstein 40) constituting thus Twilight not as a Gothic novel, but a typical love story with a happy ending. The system assimilated the genre depriving it thus of its original task – the critique of the dominant ideology. The vampire story has become a means for commercializing the dominant values at the expense of quality. The subversive nature of the genre has been revoked and replaced with a market-oriented one: “With this level of exposure, it would seem that there is a danger of the vampire narrative falling prey to its own central metaphor and being sucked dry of invigorating life, doomed to replicate itself as empty cliché” (Spooner 51-52).

While Gordon and Hollinger’s collection of essays on the vampire as metaphor in contemporary culture goes to show that up to the late 1990s the vampire could indeed have been read as a metaphor for various aspects of life (5), after Coppola’s 1992 movie adaptation entitled Bram Stoker’s Dracula this no longer seems to be the case. Coppola’s adaptation is one of the most famous instances of romanticizing the Gothic, and it is probably one that had most influence on all subsequent vampire love stories. Despite flaunting the connection with the novel in the very title of the film, Coppola departs significantly from the original in that he opts for a romantic reading of the story, ignoring numerous other interpretative possibilities (Lukić and Matek 138). Pressed by the demands of Hollywood movie industry, Coppola’s romance “tries to transform, even ennoble, violent gothic energies […] it recuperates gothic excesses in the name of the heterosexual couple, occluding the homosocial tensions and cultural anxieties of Stoker’s novel” (Botting, Gothic Romanced 1). Thus, the vampire characters’ potential to deal with a variety of relevant social and psychological issues becomes secondary in the market race. The vampire becomes an ideal lover; the allure of the “bloodsucker,” and of the Gothic in general, is used merely as a twist which gives romance novels and series a market advantage. Moreover, the story of the happy couple does not end with their wedding as it once did. Today, we get to see them become involved parents emphasizing thus the traditional nuclear family as the proper mode of life. Vampires display a wide range of emotions (including guilt and remorse!) and a developed network of social connections. They are no longer solitary types; they live in “families” and have both human and vampire friends. For this reason, Botting marked Coppola’s movie as the starting point for what Meyer’s novels brought to a terrible zenith: “With Coppola’s Dracula, then, Gothic dies, divested of its excesses, of its transgressions, horrors and diabolical [page 90] laughter, of its brilliant gloom and rich darkness, of its artificial and suggestive forms” (Gothic 117).

With Twilight, the vampire story has failed the requirements of the Gothic genre and crossed over into the mainstream by giving “fresh blood” to the overused, but always popular, character of a romantic hero. Instead of representing a threat from the East, the plague that will destroy the Western man and his civilization by preying on his women, the vampire today seems to be highly protective both of women and the traditional (patriarchal) Western culture. Stories such as Twilight, that (ab)use the Gothic for cosmetic purposes, stripping it of its natural complexity, do not even attempt to be a part of the genre nor do they aim toward literary quality. Their goal is mass readership and they seem to have achieved that much. As Backstein noted, “Twilight is remarkably poorly written and astonishingly repetitive, [but] clearly Meyer has her finger on the pulse of young female America” (39). In other words, Twilight is simply a marketable didactic love story for young girls, and not only in America.


1. For example, TV series True Blood and The Gates, the American remake of the 2008 Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In, or Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series, among others.

2. The authors will only focus on how the story and meanings behind Meyer’s ultra-popular (and trivial) texts betray the genre, and not on the serious deficiency in the author’s literary expression (poor diction and repetitiveness, to start with).

3. This spatial opposition starts at the beginning of the novel with one of the protagonists, Jonathan Harker, traveling to Romania, the native land of (in)famous Count Dracula. Traveling by train, Harker is not only exposed to a new visual experience, but is also metaphorically traveling back through time, experiencing a cultural inversion ranging from an annoying lack of British (European) punctuality to a visually unappealing local population. “[T]here are no maps of this country as yet to compare with our own Ordnance Survey Maps” (Stoker 10) states Harker, continuing his descriptive narration by first observing the “appalling” lack of order and diligence - “It seems to me that the further East we go the more unpunctual are the trains” (11), and finally concluding and resigning himself to the predicament he was subject to by making one final statement about the local women he was able to observe – “The women looked pretty, except when you got near them, but they were very clumsy about the waist” (11).

4. This especially refers to Jacob’s adolescent transformation: from a shy, long-haired boy, he symbolically transforms into a wolf, that is, grows up to become a man. He, and the rest of his “pack,” flaunt their newly discovered masculinity by parading around with their tops off, showing off their muscles. In Meyer’s novels, even the werewolves have been distilled into good-natured wolves, protective of the human race. Unlike the werewolves, who transform on the night of the full moon to do harm, and either have no recollection of what they did or feel remorse [page 91] and fear, Meyer’s wolves can transform at will and enjoy their shape shifting abilities as they are intended for good.

5. This echoes the TV series Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is in love with Angel (David Boreanaz), a vampire with a soul. Just like Edward, he is tormented by his sins and tries to help people in order to make amends.

6. Such fear of a racial (and even a possible economic) destabilization can be observed not only from the relationship between the Victorian society/the group of vampire hunters and the vampire, but also between the hunters themselves.It is not surprising therefore to observe the latent, but nevertheless present segregation of the character of Quincey Morris, a rich American from Texas, and also one of the suitors of Lucy Westenra. By symbolizing an economic threat to the British Empire the American character is in many ways neglected through the narrative, and finally killed towards the end of the novel. An additional colonial accentuation is visible in the final act of killing the vampire count. Harker, an Englishman, slashes the Count’s throat with a Kukri knife, a standard weapon of the British officers and a long lasting symbol of the British imperial power.

Works Cited

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Pykett, Lynn. The “Improper” Feminine - The Women’s Sensation Novel and the New Woman Writing. New York: Routledge, 1992. Print. [page 92]

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MLA citation (print):

Lukić, Marko , and Ljubica Matek. "Bella and the Beast: When Vampires Fall in Love, or the Twilight of a Genre." Supernatural Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, 2013, pp. 80-92.