In a punchline to "How many literary scholars does it take to puff a series by a best-selling author?" comes a new book titled Stephenie Meyer: In the Twilight by James Blasingame, associate professor of English at ASU along with his former students Kathleen Deakin and Laura A. Walsh.
Blasingame specializes in young adult literature and decided to study the Meyer/Twilight phenomena.The book includes chapters that address "How a Young Phoenix Housewife Became the World's Most Celebrated Author in Her Spare Time," and includes plot, character, setting, and thematic analyses as well as a look at Meyer's life through the public lens.
Page one begins:
In 2005 Stephenie Meyer's debut novel, Twilight, crashed onto the shore of teen literature like a tsunami, washing away titles and authors who had previously seemed permantly fixed as the most popular in the reading lives of young people. Meyer, a Phoenix stay-at-home-mom, had written a manuscript inspired by a vivid dream, pushed fearlessly through the publishing jungle, and found an agent and a major publishing company (Little, Brown and Company), despite her lack of experience and the absence of help from an advocate or patron established in the literary world.
Blasingame writes in an article released by ASU that he ran Meyer's words through a computer program to analyze language usage and found that her writing "is remarkably consistent, almost mechanically so. One of the most difficult things for authors of novels, especially new writers of long novels, is to sustain voice and style. This author's statistics, however, change not a whit from the first book to the last." (No word on how "difficult" it is to maintain a voice and style that centers around the lives, everyday activities, and shallow relationships of a few vampires and werewolves to a crowd of 12 to 15 year olds -- OK, and their mothers.)
Walsh writes that she was surprised by Meyer's use of literary devices and punctuation to drive the storyline, Deakin writes that the draw to the book must be in the simplicity of the characters: "'Twilight' is a story of hope. Bella is the ordinary girl thrust into an extraordinary set of circumstances.
It took the three authors three months to write the book, which is now for sale for $50. You can pick one up on Amazon, or spend 8 bucks less and get the hardcover Twilight Saga Complete Collection that's bound to debunk some research.
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