Some time ago, I started following John Granger‘s Twilight studies blog, “Forks High School Professor” as a corollary to my own academic interest in Meyer’s books. Granger made a name for himself as Dean of Harry Potter Studies when he took J.K. Rowling’s books as subjects worthy of academic study. And now he’s trying his hand at Twilight, an effort I heartily applaud as I think of my own haphazard attempts to do the same thing.
And yet, sometimes he just rubs my believing-Mormon-skin the wrong way with his cursory engagement with Mormonism, something that’s simply secondary to and arising from his academic interest in literature, faith, and culture. Since he’s a newcomer to the still-blossoming field of Mormon studies* and an outsider to the LDS faith, I can’t fault him for this engagement and for getting some things wrong every now and then. Heck, cultural Mormons are a peculiar lot with an equally peculiar history. Putting things together about the religion can be difficult even for those with a lifetime commitment to it. Continue reading “Where Twilight Studies Meets Mormon Studies: Setting the Record Straight”
News from the Reading Until Dawn front:
A couple of weeks ago, I read a paper at the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association (RMMLA) Convention at Snowbird, Utah (a rundown of my experience at the AML session will come in a later post that I’ve got halfway worked up; yes, I’ve been lazy—so sue me) and over the weekend I did some revising to incorporate some of the feedback I received and posted it on Reading Until Dawn. “Toward a Mormon Gothic: Stephenie Meyer’s Vampires and a Theology of the Uncanny” takes its place in the blossoming field of Twilight studies beside RUD’s inaugural essay, Theric Jepson’s “Saturday’s Werewolf: Vestiges of the Premortal Romance in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Novels.” Link over and have a read. That’s what all the cool kids are doing (or so they tell me).
While you’re there, you might also notice that I’ve made some subtle changes to the site design (I’ve tweaked the header) and that I’ve updated the articles. The inconsistent layout was bugging me, so I took down the HTMLs until I can get them to look how I want them to look, reworked my document template slightly, and incorporated the new MLA citation standards into the notes. Hopefully this gives the collection a more consistent and professional feel.
Also: though I’ve published “Toward a Mormon Gothic” on RUD, I’m still open to feedback. So if, while you’re reading, you notice a typo or some such faux pas or notice that I’ve missed something you deem vitally important to the conversation, either email me or comment here. That or work up your own essay and submit it for publication. I promise I won’t complain.
I don’t want to take anything away from National Poetry Month with another Twilight bender, but Theric’s worked so hard on his essay, “Saturday’s Werewolf: Vestiges of the Premortal Romance in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Novels,” that I thought I should jump in and give him his dues. Here’s the abstract:
“Saturday’s Werewolf explores Twilight in terms of the supernatural literature of the Latter-day Saints, specifically as the series links to the premortal romance narrative mode, as exemplified in Nephi Anderson’s Added Upon (1898) and Douglas Stewart’s popular musical Saturday’s Warrior (1989).”
It’s an entertaining and insightful read that I’ve just posted at Reading Until Dawn (both PDF and HTML versions available there). Come take a look after you finish commenting on Laura’s Harvest post.
And don’t be scared: RUD’s lone (were)wolf doesn’t bite. But it just might inspire you to submit.
Some exciting things have been happening with Reading Until Dawn over the past week (at least I think they’re exciting) as I’ve made some changes and tried to get this bird off the ground.
First off, Reading Until Dawn has evolved forms, from “journal” to open-ended “anthology.” Though this is basically just a semantic switch, it means at least two things: a) there will be no issues–although as volume warrants (yes, that’s optimism you smell), the essays may be split into volumes–and thus b) no hard deadlines. Instead, because we’re not dealing with a publisher and don’t have costs to keep down, submissions will be read, accepted, and published on an ongoing basis. For me, that’s part of the excitement of publishing something like this online: not only can it be more dynamic and open-ended than print publishing, but it has the potential (potentially) to reach a larger, more diverse audience.
Due to the foibles of human nature, however, this lack of deadlines may present certain difficulties, as in a decreased number of submissions. Hence the following–a soft deadline and an incentive: Continue reading “Reading Until Dawn Update”
When it comes to online writing and discussion, blogging is the best mix, imo, of the formal and the informal, the authored and the conversational. I personally have gotten a lot more out of blogging and reading and commenting on blogs than participating in forums and listservs and online magazine-style publications.
But sometimes there are projects that just don’t lend themselves to the blog post format. And that’s why we’re launching AMV Projects. That’s where you’ll find links to Reading Until Dawn (Tyler and Laura’s online literary journal about the work of Stephenie Meyer) and Popcorn Popping (the Mormon narrative arts magazine that I created with Steve Evans and Brian Gibson) and Mormon Translation (Kent’s wiki-style attempt to outline which LDS books are and should be translated into other languages). The results of the recommendations for LDS book groups are listed there as well.
It’s not intended to be a huge endeavor. But there is still a lot to do in terms of bibliography and resource lists and evaluating the field. For example, once we get something set up for Kent’s idea of a list of out-of-print Mormon lit (and preferably one where people can vote on which titles they’re most interested in) it’ll be linked to from there. And these projects are intended to complement — not compete with — larger efforts like the Mormon Literature Database. A bridge between the more thorough, formal efforts of the database and similar resources and the scatteredness, sifting-through-the-chaff of a Google search.
Of course we’ll still announce all new projects with blogs posts. But if you are ever looking for these projects, I don’t want you to have to wade through the blog posts archive so I’m collecting them on a single page (a link to the page will be added to the top nav bar shortly).
I also welcome comments on other projects you’d like to see — and even help with. If you’d rather not mention them publicly, e-mail us at admin AT montleyvision DOT org.
Call for Submissions
Sensing a lack of critical (as in the literary sense) approaches to Stephenie Meyer, her work, and their cultural connections in the general Twilight discourse, I’ve put together (with Laura Craner’s editing help and William Morris’ technical assistance) an online, open access literary journal in an effort to bridge that gap. It’s called .
Knowing that there are people out there who can bring critical insight and textually supported readings to this conversation, we’re extending an invitation for critical essays to be published in the first issue, “The Persistence of Stephenie Meyer”. Whether you consider yourself academic or amateur, you can submit as many essays as you want.
What We’re Looking For
We’re looking for well-written essays that thoughtfully explore the Twilight novels and their reception and that contribute critical dimensions to our understanding of Meyer’s work and her place in contemporary American, world, and even, since Meyer has been so open about her Mormon-ness, Latter-day Saint culture and literature. Contributors need not be LDS or be major fans (or detractors) of Meyer’s work. We’re simply looking for submissions that say something interesting about the novels.
Submissions, Issue Close Date, and Contact Info
If you’re interested in contributing (or know someone who might be), please refer to this Introduction to catch scent of our rationale and submit your essays (of between 2,500 and 5,000 words, in Microsoft Word, RTF, or WordPerfect format, and according to MLA bibliographic guidelines) according the procedures laid out here. Please include a brief bio statement to be published with your essay.
The essays for the first issue will be published as they’re accepted and the first issue will be closed on January 15, 2009.
Any questions can be directed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.