November 20, 2009
Written by Erin Hawes
While "Twilight's" Edward Cullen's attractive looks and mysterious appeal may attract the attention of many readers and viewers, his character is quite different from that of vampires in classic literature.
Few are unaware of the popular "Twilight" saga that has grabbed the interest – and hearts – of many.
One reason why the series has flourished is Edward Cullen, the protagonist of the series. While his attractive looks and mysterious appeal may attract the attention of many readers and viewers, his character deviates from classic vampire mythology in several key ways.
Erin Collopy, associate professor of classical and modern languages and literatures, said there was a transition from vampires of mythology to the modern, sensitive and more seductive vampire.
Collopy teaches The Vampire in East European and Western Culture. She has a doctorate in Slavic linguistics from the University of Washington and received her master’s degree in Russian language and literature from the University of Arizona.
She said Cullen fits the mold of the sympathetic vampire that popped up periodically in literature prior to the publishing of “Dracula.”
“Dracula set the tone of vampire literature for a long time,” she said.
The new hit series "True Blood" revived the erotic vampire in popular literature, while Stephanie Meyers took the more repressed-sexuality approach in “Twilight.”
When comparing “Twilight” to previous vampire stories, Collopy notes one substantial difference between Cullen and that of his undead peers: Meyers’ protagonist is too beautiful, rather than too cursed, to be seen in sunlight.
“‘Twilight’ is really more of a romance than a true horror story,” she said. “Of course, you often get that crossover between gothic romance and gothic horror novels.”