The Twilight Saga as an Adaptation of Shakespeare and Austen

  • Heta Pyrhönen


This chapter closely examines the Twilight saga as an adaptation of Austen’s and Shakespeare’s texts. In particular, my essay argues that the main focus of Meyer’s act of appropriation is Austen’s and Shakespeare’s treatments of love and compares how each uses the conventions of the romance novel genre. I show that all invoke what is called enchanted love. The authors depict love as simultaneously perilous and enchanting, thereby connecting love and fascination. In this chapter, I examine such moment of enthrallment in the works of the three authors.

Although Meyer borrows from Shakespeare and Austen, she also illustrates a way in which the romance novel conventions no longer work. Consequently, her saga provides an example of Lauren Berlant’s cruel optimism. I employ Berlant’s analysis of the waning of genre conventions in order to argue that Meyer’s treatment of love is infused with the anxieties concerning intimacy and love in contemporary culture. What is more, Meyer succeeds in safeguarding her version of enchanted love only by making her heroine enter into a new ontological realm, that of the vampire. It is only in the supernatural realm that the Twilight saga can sustain a version of enchanted love based on fascination.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heta Pyrhönen
    • 1
  1. 1.University of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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