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    Lester Smith is a 2-term past president of the WFOP, a 4-time Origins-winning game designer, and a former JavaScript teacher for the HWG. He works days as a Writer/Technologist for the educational publishing house Sebranek Inc, nights and weekends as president of Popcorn Press.

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    Is Twilight better than Dracula?

    By Lester Smith | February 25, 2009

    41wf7lvbgcl_sl160_Well…all things considered…yes.

    Before you break out the stakes and torches, let me briefly lay out my reasons for that opinion.

    First, I’d ask that you read my various posts (1, 2, 3, & 4) about the experience of rereading Dracula recently. They lay out what I see as both the strengths and weaknesses of that novel.

    Balanced against that rereading has been my recent experience with the Twilight series

    My daughter K8 dragged me to the movie on its opening weekend. I didn’t want to go, having read that they were expecting huge box-office receipts based on an audience of “teen girls and their mothers.” For one thing, I have a love/hate relationship with theaters—with having to put up with other people’s chatter while I’m trying to lose myself in a story. For another, having raised four daughters, sometimes I just get tired of romantic tales. (Okay, to be honest, it’s frequently the disjoint of my Army Basic chromosome wanting to kick the ass of the chromosome that’s making my eyes tear up. A man can stand only so many years of that internal conflict.)

    The film surprised me. Quite a satisfying tale. Enough so that I wanted to read the book to find out why K8 was disappointed in the movie characters. The desire to read a book after watching a film doesn’t strike me that often. Let me offer this desire as Defense Exhibit A, then.

    While the first book annoyed me in places (after all, I’m a 53-year-old guy and the protagonist is a high school gal with teen angst), the love it depicts resonates with my own experience of meeting my wife (a sort of head-on freight train inevitability that carried me to wonderful places once I quit resisting), the characters are so real, the plot builds so nicely, the descriptions leave images in my mind, the action scenes are spot on, the climax is pretty much perfect, and the dénoument unwinds in a more satisfying manner than much I can remember reading elsewhere. To give you more specifics would be to give away spoilers, but I hope you get the idea.

    But here’s the clincher—Defense Exhibit B, if you will. I couldn’t put the book down. And once I’d finished Twilight, I had to read New Moon, and then Eclipse, and then Breaking Dawn. I lost quite a bit of sleep for a couple of weeks to finish those books between other projects. And each one unfolded so naturally from the previous one, leading to an ending I never really saw coming, but found thoroughly satisfying.

    Granted, Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles (barring, perhaps, book 1) engaged me in a deeper way than the Twilight series, but Twilight and its sequels are virtually as satisfying.

    And that’s something I just cannot say about Dracula.

    Okay, bring on the stakes and torches. I’m ready.

    Topics: Announcements | 7 Comments »

    7 Responses to “Is Twilight better than Dracula?”

    1. The Alliterates » Always Carry Protection Says:
      December 13th, 2009 at 11:48 pm

      [...] been paying attention, you already know how much I like the Twilight series. (I’ve said it’s better than Dracula.) But I also like a good spoof, and what follows is particularly good! Enjoy. Posted in [...]

    2. Olivia Says:
      August 16th, 2010 at 5:50 pm

      Dracula pwns Twilight in millions of ways, sure, the book was a little drier, but at least it isn’t full of holes. Twilight has a MILLION flaws, and its like reading a book about a woman’s dream land. Every character is a Mary-sue (perfect), completely draining out the interest. With perfect characters, you know whats going to happen- not one good guy dies and leaves no suspense. She isn’t independent, relying on Edward 24/7- and Edward is VERY controlling- notice how he forces her away from Jacob and never losing an argument?
      Also, do you see any character development? Bella is a dry, whiney girl who has the emotions of a dead chipmunk, complaining half of the series about her ‘unfair’ life and the other talking about Edward. The series also encourages stalking, unsafe sex,and dropping out of school, and being completely sexist all the while. What about Jasper’s self-control problem? Is he not walking in a highschool full of girls with their period?
      Lastly, Meyer wrote the entire series….for herself. Bella IS Meyer, she just wants to live in a perfect world were everything works out.
      Besides, the majority of fans only watch the whole thing because they think Robert Patterson and Taylot Lautner is hot and they want a super cool boyfriend. That is not fair to authors who try and teach the world a lesson with their books and write artful stories.

      Now, Dracula is aimed towards and older audience, people with their heads cleared and usually not influenced by fictional seres. Count Dracula has a humane side and vicious side to himself, more of a seducer and blood-luster then anything else. But, he has flaws.
      Dracula is super-powerful, but like everything, has multiple weaknesses. In the end, its his lust that brings him to his grave, while taking good guys with him too. The entire plot is detailed and without holes, with more interesting, realistic characters. And, the entire story as a deep meaning behind it while also being very original.

      My wooden stake has been driven! x3

    3. Lester Says:
      August 17th, 2010 at 1:03 pm

      Thanks for the comment! I’m happy this post is generating some discussion.

      In many ways, I agree with you. Twilight is definitely young adult romantic fiction. It avoids the whole estrus subject in the same way Marvel Comics forbids its artists to include crotches on its characters. The relationship between Edward and Bella is very much in keeping with Wuthering Heights-era novels. Etc.

      To say that Dracula has no plot holes, however, is wishful thinking. I mean, is the Count an evil genius or does he have a “child mind”? Van Helsing says both. And do you honestly see any character development in Dracula? They’re all stage characters, full of grandiloquent gesture but little true human emotion.

      I mention Wuthering Heights because I believe Bella and Edward face the same sort of mutually headstrong relationship as Catherine and Heathcliff, and they’re dropped into a similarly impossible problem of separate, seemingly irreconcilable societies. That they survive and overcome in the end is due to Bella’s strength of character more than anyone else’s. That Meyer unveils such a rich, inventive supernatural background behind this classic love story raises Twilight above mere junior fiction and—I continue to believe—makes it richer and more impressive than Dracula.

      That Stoker never managed to write anything worth reading after Dracula, while Meyer’s The Host is excellent sci-fi, is the final nail in Stoker’s coffin.

    4. Différence Says:
      September 17th, 2011 at 10:00 am

      Entre les deux livres il y as des différences et des diférences…. Au début quand j’ai lu ma saga Twiligth, j’ai était imédiatement transporter et fasciner. J’ai était tellement trasporter que je n’ait pas pu m’empécher de péchjer tous les livres de vampires que j’ai pu trouver. Je suit vraiment apassé part plien de choses. Les vampires de Mahathan, Eternel, True Blood, Vampires académy, Lilith, Le journal d’un vampire, Les chronique d’Anne Rice, Dracula mon amour,Dracula de Bram Stroker … Et je doit dire que j’ai était de plus consciente en prenant du rzecule des diférence entre toute ses oeuvres. T

      rue Blood et Les vampires de Mahathan m’ont particuliérement déçu. Depuis quand est-ce que les vampires vivent parmis les humais et v’ont chercher le déjeuné au super marcher ?! Depuis quand ils ont besoin de quémender les électricien pour qu’ils viennes chez eux ?! Dans le livre ils peuvent manipuler les pensée des gens, alors pourquoi ne le ferait-ils pas ?! Et c’est quoi cette histoire de dealer de sang de vampires a la noix ?!

      Les Vampire de Mahathan eux, ne sont méme plus vraiment des vampire mais juste des anges déchu qui vivent parmi les humains en formant des asociation et des oeurvre caritative !

      Comme je le disait, j’ai beaucoup aimer Twiligth et je l’aime toujours beaucoup, mais je trouve ça triste que Stephanie Meyer n’ait pas mit un peu plus de miment dans l’histoire avec plusq d’interdits. La saga s’apelle “La saga du désir interdits” mais où est l’interdit là-dedans ? Jusqu’a l’apparition des volturie, il n’y avait pa du tout d’interdits dans lerus relation. Et en générale, es “veritables” vampires sont avant tout, des representations de l’interdit, du peche, et plus particulierement de la sexualite hors-norme (Dracula, de Bram
      Stoker, devergonde les femmes bien-pensantes de la rigide societe victorienne, Carmilla, de Joseph Sheridan Le
      Fanu, est un des premiers personnage explicitement saphique, Lestat, d’Anne Rice, est bi-sexuel, etc.) ceux de la
      serie Fascination, au contraire,semble avoir prit sue eux d’étre tout gentils. A l’exemple d’Eward qui refuse de coucher avec Belle avant leurs mariage. Quelle genre de vampire fairait ça ? En tout cas pas ceux des romans classique.

      Comme je l’ai dit, J’ADORE Twiligth. Et je relie et reli le livre encore et encore, mais je n’ait pas pu m’empécher de me demander si le livre n’aurait pas était plus passionant si il y avait plus de dévergondages, de péché et de séxualité, au lieu de toutes ces régles et ses protocoles établie pour eux. Tient, il n’y as personne ici qui aurait plutot eu envie que Bella tombe enciente avant qu’elle ne se marie avec Edward par exemple ?

    5. Lester Says:
      September 20th, 2011 at 10:24 pm

      Merci. It is obvious you have thought over the vampire topic in literature and film quite a bit. The only thing I might argue with is your idea that Twilight avoids the sexuality of Dracula, placing sex firmly within the confines of marriage. Instead, I’d say that Twilight turns the sexuality of Dracula around, making Bella the tempter and Edward the target. Sure, this destroys the image of vampire as seducer, but it doesn’t divorce sexuality from the story. In their own ways, Twilight and Dracula both deal with repressed sexuality and societal expectations. It’s just that one is a Mormon tale and the other Church of England.

    6. AthanasiusContraMundum Says:
      January 7th, 2012 at 2:02 am

      I believe this review is a form of imposed humanism, albeit that isn’t necessarily detrimental to its cause.

      While I am loathe to use historical context as an argument in support of an abstract concept, such as the value of a work of literature or philosophy, we must remember that ‘Dracula’ is a product of the romantic period, a period in which the authors were very aware of the functionalist nature of the metaphor that they utilized. Dracula, the character, is a symbol for forces that are not meant to be conflated with human nature entirely, as is evident by such quotes as…

      “And yet, unless my senses deceive me, the old centuries had, and have, powers of their own which mere ‘modernity’ cannot kill.”

      These words, I feel, are central to the understanding of the novel. Romantic literature and poetry was riddled with references not only to human emotion, but to what could be referred to as objective symbolism and its effect upon the psyche. We see littered about the works of poets such as Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley the ruinous remnants of dead civilizations, and a sense of wonder that human beings such as ourselves were responsible for such monuments, and this is a veritable revelation into the traditional understanding of spiritual concepts. For as much as there is a literal layer to such symbols, as well as a personal and interpretive layer, there is a somewhat metaphorical layer between the two that affects the consciousness of those who experience it. Odysseus was not only a person we can relate to by comparison of his emotion to our own, but a symbol in a complex interaction of symbols that reveals the poetic soul of Greek poetry and pagan morality: a battle between intellect and natural law; and we all know the influence of classical poetry on romantic poets and authors!

      In light of this, these articles should make sense of the novel and the subject at hand:

      - http://bonald.wordpress.com/2010/08/11/the-meaning-of-vampires/

      - http://bonald.wordpress.com/in-defense-of-human-sacrifice/4/#sacrifice4

      If you are going to interpret ‘Dracula’ within a humanist context, then I feel that your criticisms hold. I also do not think it is wrong to interpret ‘Dracula’ in this context if it suits you to do so, but in the context of its time and of the well-informed classicist, ‘Dracula’ crushes Twilight with an iron fist.

    7. Always Carry Protection | LesterSmith.com Says:
      July 18th, 2012 at 3:07 pm

      [...] Comments AthanasiusContraMundum on Is Twilight better than Dracula?Elaine Cunningham on The GUP Method for Creative WritingEd Healy on My First YouTube [...]

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