On Twilight, dangerous love, romantic poetry and voyeurism

The following blog post, ‘Love is Dangerous’, appeared on my Facebook news feed. I read it and the post which it is reacting to (which you can read here) with interest. Whilst the original post on ‘What Happens Next: A Gallimaufry’ dealt with romantic depictions of Kylo Ren, a dark and tortured individual from the latest Star Wars film, in fanfiction, I think many of the questions raised pertain to themes surrounding YA Gothic and in particular Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. In particular we return, almost inevitably, to whether or not the portrayal of problematic romantic relationships can have negative effect on a young female readership. Do novels such as Meyer’s inculcate in young women an unhealthy attitude towards their personal relationships? Are they a conservative back lash to the strides that feminism has made over the past decades? In the wide context of the Gothic, this debate engages with the issue of whether literature has, or should have, a didactic, moral purpose.

I have blogged about other ways of framing this debate as well as expressing concern with the unproblematic assumption that literature has a degenerative effect on the reader – specifically young female authors. However, it was when reviewing ‘Reimagining the Gothic’ that I was reminded again of the use of the blazon and the female gaze in Meyer’s texts. I think by engaging with how Edward Cullen is presented in the novels, there is a way of complicating the idea that Bella is entirely passive. It may also explain some of the pleasure that can be found in the text and the manner in which it allows the reader to view safely. So I have dug out my MA thesis and found the section which pertains to this. I hope you enjoy it and are forgiving of the many faults to be found in such early research.

(You may also notice that some of the ideas about the gaze are similar to Sara Wasson and Sarah Artt’s article ‘The Twilight Saga and the pleasures of spectatorship: the broken body and the shining body’, in the Open Graves, Open Minds book which Bill and Sam edited. They expand, far more articulately, some of the ideas which I was trying to express. If you haven’t read their article Open Graves, Open Minds is now available as a paperback from Manchester University Press).

The Female Gaze and Edward Cullen (an excerpt from

“The sudden influx of Gothic literature, especially female gothic literature, as a new and invasive form of literary fashion was seen to reflect the sudden interest in commodity culture; E.J. Clery suggests that ‘rise in supernatural fictions must be understood in relation to the contemporary rise of consumerism’.[1] Readers were consumers with the power to affect the market.  If the eighteenth century was a time when the fears of consumerism came to the fore and was absorbed into the Gothic tradition, then contemporary Gothic literature must be as equally affected by the twenty-first century’s obsession with commercialism, advertising and celebrity culture. In this section, I will explore the ways in which Meyer’s vampires are commodified through their representation which is an amalgamation of celebrity culture and consumer society using close-reading of the text in order to immerse ourselves in the language of the author and not the language of the critics. Once again the role of Bella, as Gothic heroine, is used to show the ambivalent status of consumerism surrounding and inundating the Twilight series as contemporary Gothic.

On first viewing the Cullens, Bella describes their physiognomies as ‘faces you never expected to see except perhaps on the airbrushed pages of a fashion magazine’ (Twilight, p. 17). Her analogy for the beauty of the Cullens takes its power from the fashion world; they then become living art as she describes them as ‘painted by an old master as the face of an angel’ (Twilight, p. 17). The two comparisons, one contemporary and the other ancient, suggest the timeless quality of the vampire’s beauty: one which mirrors the eternal aesthetic of a piece of art as well as that of the celebrity, who through plastic surgery and lifestyle seemingly defies age. Patrick Day has suggested that Anne Rice ‘took the step of asserting that the vampire is a kind of celebrity [in Interview with the Vampire].[2] What Anne Rice started Meyer perfects: her vampires live their lives as though they are continually within an advert. Bella’s father Charlie sees the children as being ‘well behaved and polite’ while the Cullens ‘stick together the way a family should’ (both Twilight, p. 31). Though he accepts that they seem to be different, Charlie picks up on the idealised family image that the Cullens attempt to portray to the world. The Cullens appear to be an inversion of the Munsters, the gothic nuclear family made popular in the 1960s television programme of the same name.[3] The tension in the programme was that members of the family were never quite aware why other people found them strange since they were a loving family despite their odd appearances. If the message of this programme was not to judge on appearances then the Cullens represent an inversion of this: they are painfully aware of what makes them different and wear a mask of normalcy which they hope will conceal their dark secret.

At school, the rest of the children treat the Cullens as though they are the ultimate ‘popular’ kids; something that alienates them as a group by elevating them to an unachievable level of perfection. When Bella asks her school friend Jessica for Edward’s name, Jessica announces: ‘He’s gorgeous, of course, but don’t waste your time. He doesn’t date. Apparently none of the girls are good-looking enough for him’ (Twilight, p. 19). Later that day Bella bemoans the fact that: ‘It seemed excessive for them to have both money and looks … The isolation must be their desire’ (Twilight, pp. 27-28). Where Bella is quick to define the Cullens in regard to their ‘excessive’ beauty and money, Jessica sees herself as lacking compared to them; she will never be good enough for them. If as Monica Germana argues the word ‘‘human’ suggests notions of imperfection and fallibility’ then the Cullens are too good to be true; their fatal flaw is hidden from view so that any human looking at them is only able to see the stunning image that they project.[4]

Nor is it simply their physical attributes which set the Cullens apart from the rest of society. The objects that surround the Cullens are fetishized in order to continue the idea that they are like us, but not quite and that they have a quality which we, as the reader, will be unable to emulate. In a similar way the association of objects with the Cullens comes to represent the manner in which, according to Day, the ‘drama of intimacy with the self … can be understood as the aesthetic counterpart to a commodity culture in which acquiring things is a primary way of defining who we are’.[5] Bella immediately notices that the Cullens drive to school in ‘the shiny new Volvo’, the car which she noticed when she first pulled up in the school parking lot (Twilight, p. 27). Once she has spent time with the Cullens she discovers that they own a number of beautiful cars. Edward gifts Alice with a ‘canary yellow Porshe’ (Eclipse, p. 146). Rosalie drives a ‘a glossy red convertible’ which she doesn’t use because: ‘We try to blend in’ (both Twilight, p. 174). The Cullens seem defined by their cars which though beautiful and fast are redundant. Fred Botting sees this dissatisfaction as symptomatic of the contemporary vampire who is trapped by: ‘The consumption that never comes, the deathlessness that leaves consuming incomplete and its satisfaction ultimately unsatisfactory, [which] situates vampires in the realm of commodities and as defining figures of the consumer’.[6] Akin to the humans they emulate, these vampires try to fill the gap represented by their ‘outsider’ identity with beautiful objects thereby highlighting their difference to those around them and exacerbating the feeling of lack. Like the cars that they drive they always appear a little too perfect, a little too shiny, to be human.

The clothes that the Cullens wear help to maintain the void of difference between humans and vampires, despite their attempts of masquerade as human: Meyer’s vampires are ‘all dressed exceptionally well; simply, but in clothes that subtly hinted at designer origins’ (Twilight, p. 27). Thorstein Veblen made the remark: ‘Conspicuous consumption of valuable goods is a means of reputability to the gentleman of leisure’.[7] By the time the Cullens emerge this consumption not only shows reputability but also respectability. Thus though the Cullens may be attempting to pass as human they are unable to prevent themselves from standing out since like their clothing they appear to be human but more so, an excess of the human notion of beauty and aestheticism. The use of fashion is particularly important according to Catherine Spooner since through ‘clothing, the imperatives of consumerism and the pleasures of performance intersect’.[8] The pleasure of performance is warped in the existence of the Cullens. As Botting argued, the satisfaction of consumption can never be achieved because the final consumption is always evaded through deathlessness; in the same way, for the Cullens, performance becomes imperative and yet it limits their subjectivity. This performative element of the Cullens lifestyle is enveloped into their clothing. In a consumer society, an item of clothing is imbued with more power than reflects its’ relative cost. Josh Stenger argues that clothes of a desired person, such as an actor, can act as a substitute ‘commensurate with Freudian understandings of a fetish object, working to signify and in some cases even replace the impossible-to-consummate sexual attraction to an actor or character’.[9] Thus when Edward gives Bella his coat, something that passes for a simple act of gallantry according to most love stories, she notices that: ‘It smelled amazing’ (Twilight, p. 147). The clinging of the scent to Edward’s coat makes Bella highly sensitive to the fact that she appears to be wearing a part of him; when she takes the coat off she does so while ‘taking one last whiff’ (Twilight, p. 167). At the beginning of Edward and Bella’s relationship this sensual pleasure in the coat is deeply fetishistic; Bella cannot touch Edward yet but she can touch and ‘sniff’ what he has owned. He is replaced with an object that represents him and which Bella can consume visually and sensuously when in reality it is Edward who should be consuming Bella.

In relation to the Cullens’ consumption, Bella is quick to note that ‘they weren’t eating though they each had a tray of untouched food in front of them’ (Twilight, p. 16). Immediately afterwards we are told that Alice throws away an ‘unopened soda, [an] unbitten apple’ (Twilight, p. 17). These words draw on literary language inducing the quality of the Cullens eternal beauty. The image of the apple immediately connects to the story of Adam and Eve – indeed the cover to the first book is a pair of female hands offering a red, shining apple – evoking the idea of loss of innocence. Whilst the fact that the apple is unbitten promises things to come; like the ‘Plump unpecked cherries’ of Christina Rosetti’s ‘Goblin Market’, the reader is excited by the possibility that the apple may be eaten along with the consequences of this action.[10] The close correlation between the soda can and the apple continues the tension in Bella’s descriptions of the Cullens which flit from contemporary allusions about celebrity culture to the world of classical art. The Cullens uncomfortably combine the two in their physical appearance. Meanwhile, Meyer’s use of the prefix ‘un-’ suggesting a suspension in action, a not-quite-getting, calling to mind Keats language in ‘Ode to a Grecian Urn’ as he talks of the ‘Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,/ Though winning near the goal’.[11] Perfection it would appear comes in the constant deferment of action and maintaining of suspense. The Cullens becomes like the Grecian Urn itself: exquisite objects whose meaning is written onto their surface appearance at the expense of their own subjectivity.

Bella is drawn the stunning surface appearance of the Cullens. The novels maintain a continuous tension between who desires to emulate who: as the humans surrounding the Cullens, in particular Bella, idolise them and desire to copy them so the Cullens continually attempt to mirror human society. In the final novel, once Bella has been transformed into a vampire, the Cullens take it in turns to ‘give her a few pointers on acting human’ (Breaking Dawn, p. 501); Rosalie assures Bella that she would ‘trade everything I have to be you’ because Bella is human (Eclipse, p. 166). Bella finds this incomprehensible since Rosalie is immortal. Yet as we discover all the transformation stories of the Cullens represent a human death deferred; they did not make the choice to become a vampire. Rosalie suggests that theirs is not the charmed life which Bella associates with their vampiric lifestyle; Rosalie argues that: ‘If we [her family] had happy endings, we’d all be under gravestones now’ (Eclipse, p. 154). Bronfen’s analysis of death suggests that the human understanding, and fear, of death is that the body or corpse must be separated from its soul while the corpse is replaced ‘by a symbolic substitute – in the form of an effigy or a gravestone’.[12] If a human being is unable to achieve this safe form of death than what is left is an uncanny form of undeath such as the vampire. Though humans may be afraid of death and wish to overcome it by being a vampire – a constant object in a world of change – so too the vampire recognises their liminal existence on the edges of reality and longs to be the changing subject that humans represent.

This representation in death as gravestones is prefigured in life in the form of birth certificates; bank accounts; and passports. Each human life is duplicated in these contracts. This causes a problem for the modern vampire: due to their eternal life any true form of identification would reveal their existence and yet they cannot live a ‘normal’ life as part of society unless they own them. This relationship between modern vampires and legal papers starts, not unsurprisingly, with Dracula, a novel that is both a story of the victory of good over evil and technological innovations winning against ancient methods.[13] The novel starts with Jonathan Harker, a newly qualified solicitor, going to Transylvania in order to sort out the paper work that allows Dracula to buy a house in England, and therefore gain entrance, legally, to the western world. Once the vampire had evolved through the novels of Anne Rice, we are once again reminded of the importance of capital and a good lawyer when Lestat choose Louis as his victim. Louis realises that Lestat ‘had ushered me into the preternatural world that he might acquire an investor and manager for whom these skills of mortal life became most valuable in this life after’.[14] It seems as though the modern vampire must continually hide themselves behind paper work so as not to reveal their true identity. J. Jenks, the lawyer who acquires fake documents for the Cullens, soothes Bella by saying that: ‘All [the passports and driver’s license] will pass the most rigorous scrutiny by experts’ (Breaking Dawn, p. 669); unlike the vampires themselves their paper replacements are able to ‘pass’ within normal society. It seems an ironic twist that despite the Cullens’ apparent morality and the clear distinction made between them and other vampires, they must resort to the behaviour of gangsters. Perhaps more troubling is the fact that Meyer chooses to write these scenes as though they are from a film noir. Rosalie’s words cut through this romantic image straight from a movie and enunciate the powerful divide of desire between humans and vampires. Catherine Belsey suggests that the vampire is defined by a desire which is ‘a perpetual, conscious condition, and it is above all the desire to regain humanity, for all its limitations and contradictions’.[15] As a human reader, we cannot quite believe Rosalie’s words since we are drawn into the glamorous life that the vampires lead which dazzles like a world that is like ours but better, improved; much in the same way that the suggestions by celebrities that the celebrity lifestyle is not as fabulous as it appears are often met with derision. The relationship between vampire and human is maintained by this two-way desire. Only a lucky few, like Bella, are able to achieve a state of eternal happiness where this desire has been quenched.

Bella’s character complicates the construction of the vampires as fetishised objects and the commodification of their lifestyle. Her presence elicits the confusion of who consumes who. She is already a consumer of commercialised Gothic when she meets Edward; on her first visit to the Cullens’ house, he teases her saying: ‘Not what you expected, is it? … No coffins, no piles skulls in the corners … what a disappointment this must be for you’ (Twilight, p. 287). He is well aware that she has grown up in the ‘saturation of Gothic motifs in contemporary culture’, a mainstreaming of Gothic tropes that mirrors the attempts of the Cullens to lead a ‘normal’ life.[16] Bella’s treatment of Edward, and his subsequent response, shows the underlying objectification of the Gothic within the novel; whilst Bella’s metamorphosis into a vampire suggests the possibility of play within the commodifed world of Twilight. Indeed, many of the key moments within the novels are inversions of Laura Mulvey’s thesis in ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ (1975) which states that within narrative cinema the female takes the role of the passified image onto which the active male gaze projects its fantasies; a model which cannot be reversed.[17] Mulvey’s disavowal of the male object and female subject denies the power of Bella’s consuming gaze within the relationship and Edward’s pleasure in being viewed by her, as a beautiful, supernatural object. Nor does it accept that the novels, written by a female author, seem to circumnavigate the perceived threat of active masculinity by eliciting ‘voyeuristic or fetishistic mechanisms’ in order to objectify Edward, much as narrative cinema removes the castration threat of women by passifying them through the male gaze.[18] The vampire’s fangs as symbols of phallic power threatening to penetrate and consume the female protagonist, in this case Bella, function as victimisation. Yet Bella’s aggressive gaze de-fangs Edward so that he reacts as the submissive object. Kenneth Mackinnon argues effectively that when faced with an example of male eroticisation many people will react with ‘a peculiarly academic form of disavowal’ preferring to argue that any representation of the male body as object is not meant for them.[19] Within the Twilight novels and movies, the female gaze is focalised through Bella; and with the direction of Catherine Hardwick in the first movie, Edward becomes ‘slim and muscly, pale and defined, wearing makeup, lusciously coiffed, looking exactly like … a girl’.[20] Many detractors have been quick to argue that Edward is ‘gay’ despite his intense love for Bella; it would appear that they are reacting to his placement as the feminized object there to be viewed.[21] The reader or viewer is left in no doubt that the visual pleasure gained from Edward is entirely meant for them.

Throughout the novels, we are continually reminded that Bella’s gaze is intensely objectifying in relation to her vampire acquaintances. Indeed the space between the Cullen clan and Bella is often created by Bella herself. Despite Edward’s many protests that she does not understand the potential threat of the vampires with whom she mingles, Bella does maintain a distance from his family through her idealisation of them; much like a star struck teenage girl, Bella treats the Cullens as though they are her favourite celebrities. When looking at Edward she continually views him not as a whole but in constituent parts; her gaze becomes the means by which she cuts him into pieces and the language with which she describes him a system of rhetoricized violence. Her descriptions are similar to blazon poetry, much favoured by the poets of courtly love, which catalogues the physical merits of women in a manner that entirely objectifies them. On opening the door to Edward, Bella describes the way in which: My eyes traced over his pale white features: ‘the hard square of his jaw, the softer curve if his full lips – twisted up into a smile now, the smooth marble span of his forehead – partially obscured by a tangle of rain-darkened bronze hair …’ (Eclipse, p. 17). Though Edward may be the vampire it would seem that through Bella’s gaze he is slowly being visually consumed like a beautiful piece of meat. It is telling that after ravishing him visually she then falls back to her celebrity metaphors. Edward’s face is ‘a face any male model in the world would trade his soul for’ (Eclipse, p. 17). By evoking the image of the male model – the most nameless and personality free symbol of celebrity culture – Bella continues to concentrate on the outward appearance of Edward. She fetishizes Edward and his vampiric nature. It would appear that Bella is not always concerned with what Edward is thinking and, much like the novel creates tension through the absence of sex, Bella’s gaze on Edward creates the gap between the viewing subject and the viewed object that cannot be overcome.

In Midnight Sun, a currently unpublished, draft version of Twilight, the first novel in the series, written from Edward’s point of view, Edward comments on the manner in which he is objectified by Bella and other people around him. Due to his telepathic ability he is accustomed to ‘simply watch[ing] myself through someone’s following eyes’ (Midnight Sun, p. 211). Diane Fuss makes the point that women looking at photographs in fashion magazines are meant to identify with the female model. This identification is meant to function ‘as a cultural mechanism for producing and securing a female subject who desires to be desired by men – the ideal, fully oedipalized, heterosexual woman’, taking its argument from Mulvey’s model of visual pleasure.[22] Edward’s ability to see himself through other people’s point of view means that he is able to be, simultaneously, the object being viewed and the subject viewing; the means by which he can learn to temper his appearance and actions to suit the viewing public. Since Bella is immune to Edward’s telepathy he can only be aware of the ‘intangible sensation of watching eyes’ which he finds ‘strangely exciting’ (both Midnight Sun, p. 211). This excitement suggests that he enjoys the sensation of being the passified object.

The pleasure derived from Bella’s gaze differs from the oppressive quality of the Cullens’ life in which they constantly appear to be in the spotlight – performing not for enjoyment but through obligation. This sudden shift for Edward into the gaze being a source of pleasure necessitates the series of tableaus he sets up in which he can be viewed. The much celebrated scene in the meadow is orchestrated in a manner that seems to take a great deal from a striptease. Bella is placed in a central viewing position and Edward steps forward to be viewed. In the sunlight he appears only too happy to let Bella stare at him and she notes that he ‘lay perfectly still in the grass, his shirt open over his sculpted, incandescent chest … [while his] glistening, pale lavender lids were shut’; he is like a ‘perfect statue, carved in some unknown stone’ (both Twilight, p. 228). The entire pose, with his eyes shut so that Bella can gaze in peace, seems to be caught between shameless exhibitionism and an art exhibition. Yet, when Bella moves closer to him he runs back into the shade where he looks at Bella, ‘his eyes dark in the shadows (Twilight, p. 231). Though he maintains that he is the predator in their relationship, his reaction to Bella is like a scared animal. Like both artwork and striptease, he is there to be viewed but not touched. Edward’s method of suicide, after the apparent death of Bella, also involves uncovering his sparkling body in full view of people. Without Bella, the gaze becomes destructive once more.

Bella’s gaze as a source of pleasure causes her suitors Jacob and Edward to commodify themselves through the gifts that they give Bella in the third novel, Eclipse. At Bella’s birthday party cum graduation celebration, Jacob presents her with a bracelet on which there is a ‘miniature wolf … carved out of some red-brown wood that matched the colour of his skin’ (Eclipse, p. 374). He tells Bella that he made it for her so that she would always remember him since he reasons that: ‘out of sight, out of mind’ (Eclipse, p. 375). His belief that an object can take his place suggests that he sees an explicit relationship between himself as a person and this commodity. This relationship between love and commodities is something that Edward picks up on later. On seeing Bella’s present from Jacob, he asks if he can have ‘a little representation … A charm – something to keep me on your mind’ (italics within the original text. Eclipse, p. 413). Like Jacob he wants to be represented by an object. Bella soothes Edward by telling him: ‘you’ve given me you’ (italic in original text. Eclipse, p. 413). Her words suggest that Edward is himself a commodity that can be given out as and when he wishes. In the end, the present that Edward gives Bella is a heart-shaped diamond ‘cut in a million facets, so that even in the subdued light shining from the lamp, it sparkled’ (Eclipse, p. 438). Edward tells Bella that he thinks it is ‘a good representation … It’s hard and cold’ (Eclipse, p. 439). His analysis of the connection between the diamond and himself is centred around physical appearance; if diamonds are a girl’s best friend than, on appearance value, so is Edward. There is a direct connection between the skin of Jacob and Edward and the present which they give Bella; the male leads are continually shown to be titillating objets d’art, and both young men want to be owned by Bella. Nor is it unimportant that Aro, the collector of interesting vampires, sends Bella an immensely expensive diamond necklace as both a wedding present and a reminder of the promise made that she will be transformed into a vampire herself. Aro plays on the link between diamonds and vampires by showing that Bella will soon become an ornament as attractive as the diamonds he gives her.

Meyer’s use of metonymic relationship between object and young male lover implies that there is a relationship between love and commodities. Belsey argues that: ‘While sex is a commodity, love becomes the condition of happiness that cannot be bought, the one remaining object of desire that cannot be sure of purchasing fulfilment’.[23] In her construction of Western capitalism defined by an obsessive consumerism, love remains unsullied. Meyer’s vampires and their connection to celebrity culture and a society of commodities makes it clear that love within the world of beautiful supernatural creatures is as open to commodification as sex. Botting draws our attention to ‘the devaluation of romance: affectless, feeling is anesthetised by an excess of images and commodities, their dizzying glitter stimulating and satisfying desire to the point of its consumption’.[24] In a series that abounds with commodities and ‘glittering’ vampires, where the love affair remains on the point of being consummated for three novels, it is apparent that both our own satisfaction and Bella’s is being continually deferred through the beauty that is placed before us. Belsey makes the apt point that the relationship between vampires and humans is tainted by the desire for blood in a manner that taints the love affair; blood lust ‘represents the ultimate debasement, pleasure radically divorced from love’.[25] Thus vampires make their human lovers into the ultimate object, something that can only be consumed debasing the potential for a love between equals. Fuss enunciates this expression of desire through consumption in relation to the gaze: ‘Vampirism … marks a third possible mode of looking, a position that demands both separation and identification, both a having and a becoming – indeed a having though a becoming’.[26] Vampirism is defined by the fact that the vampire wants the other, the human, and achieves this craving to have through feeding from the victim, as object of desire; while also reproducing them self by making the victim in their image as a vampire. In the Twilight series Meyer inverts this relationship so that Edward’s body, and in many ways Jacob’s as well, must become the object that is consumed by Bella’s gaze and desire. Bella takes pleasure from the spectacle put before her; and yet she is not satisfied until she becomes a vampire herself; after the ‘having’ of Edward as an object there must be the ‘becoming’ like him.

[1] Clery, The Rise in Supernatural Fiction, p. 5.

[2] Day, Vampire Legends, p. 43.

[3] Information on The Munsters (1964-1966) found on The International Movie Database http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057773/ [accessed 1st August 2010].

[4] Dr Monica Germana, ‘Of Humans and Monsters’ (18th March 2010), Guest Blog on The Gothic Imagination, University of Stirling Website http://www.gothic.stir.ac.uk/guests/viewblog.php?id=70 [accessed 11th August 2010].

[5] Day, Vampire Legends, p. 47.

[6] Fred Botting, Gothic Romanced: Consumption, Gender and Technology in Contemporary Fiction (London: Routledge, 2006), pp. 90-91.

[7] Thorsten Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class (London: Penguin Books, 1994), p. 75.

[8] Catherine Spooner, Contemporary Gothic (London: Reaktion Books, 2006), p. 87.

[9] Josh Stenger, ‘The Clothes Make the Fan: Fashion and Online Fandon When “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Goes to eBay’, Cinema Journal. Vol. 45, No. 4 (Summer, 2006), pp. 26-44 (p. 33).

[10] Christina Rossetti, ‘Goblin Market’, The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Victorian Age (Eighth Edition), Vol. E, ed. by Stephen Greenblatt (General Editor), M. H. Abrams, Carol T. Christ and Catherine Robson (London: W. W. Norton & Company, 2006), pp. 1466-1478 (p. 1466).

[11] John Keats, ‘Ode to a Grecian Urn’, Lyric Poems (New York: Dover Publications, 1991), pp. 36-37 (p. 37).

[12] Bronfen, Over Her Dead Body, p. 295.

[13] Christopher Herbert, ‘Vampire Religion’, Representations, No. 79 (Summer, 2002), pp. 100-121 (p. 101).

[14] Rice, Interview with the Vampire, p. 39.

[15] Catherine Belsey, ‘Postmodern Love: Questioning the Metaphysics of Desire’, New Literary History, Vol. 25, No. 3, 25th Anniversary Issue (Part 1) (Summer, 1994), pp. 683-705 (p. 701).

[16] Monica Germana, ‘Skulls, Skulls everywhere: consuming the Gothic in the 21st Century’ (22nd February 2010), Guest Blog on The Gothic Imagination, University of Stirling Website http://www.gothic.stir.ac.uk/guests/viewblog.php?id=67 [accessed 5th August 2010].

[17] Laura Mulvey, ‘Visual Pleasures and Narrative Cinema’, Visual and Other Pleasures, ed. by Stephen Heath, Colin MacCabe and Denise Riley (Hampshire: Macmillan Press, 1989), pp. 14 – 28 (p. 19).

[18] Mulvey, Ibid., p. 25.

[19] Kenneth Mackinnon, ‘After Mulvey: Male Erotic Objectification’, The Body’s Perilous Pleasures: Dangerous Desires and Contemporary Culture (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1999), pp. 13-29 (p. 16).

[20] Bidisha, ‘Bitten by the female gaze’, The Guardian Online (19th January 2009) http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/19/women-gender [accessed 4 th February 2010].

[21] See Appendix 3.

[22] Diana Fuss, ‘Fashion and the Homospectatorial Look’, Critical Inquiry, Vol. 18, No. 4, Identities (Summer, 1992), pp. 713-737 (p. 713).

[23] Belsey, ‘Postmodern Love’, p. 683.

[24] Botting, Gothic Romanced, p. 85.

[25] Belsey, ‘Postmodern Love’, p. 700

[26] Fuss, ‘Fashion and the Homospectatorial Look’, p. 730″.

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2 Responses to On Twilight, dangerous love, romantic poetry and voyeurism

  1. Interesting to see a snippet of your early writing Kaja. You can see your strong engagement here and it does anticipate essays that followed on the gaze in Twilight (mostly explored through the lens of film studies). This will be of interest to the Generation Dead students next year too. Funny to think about how your thesis might have been different had you continued in this direction. I expect you will return to vampires and will hopefully use this in your teaching….

    • firekrank says:

      Thank you. I regret not publishing something from it earlier (I wrote it in 2010!) as I think it was actually quite original. Next time I shall have to be more confident in my work. I’m sure I will return to vampires in due course. It’s still something that interests me and it’s quite nice to have it on the back-burner. I’d love to hear what the Gen Dead students think about this.

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