J'adore The Atlantic, and this piece by Caitlin Flanagan, in particular, about the Twilight books and their effect on young women/girls, but also older women(!) and the significance of this series. I agree with her that it is a throwback to the novels of old (although I think I am a generation or 2 behind her): nary a hint of cell phones, no texting, and only ocassional email references. It does seem mired in another time. I am hooked on these books - on their romanticism; the idea of the hero and the heroine, good & evil, right & wrong. It's almost like a story from generations ago about a chivalrous hero/knight (Edward) and a pining, but intriguing, heroine/princess (Bella). And yes, it helps that Stephenie Meyer has a literature background.
Flanagan, in her best line, and the one to which I relate, writes: "Twilight is fantastic. It’s a page-turner that pops out a lurching, frightening ending I never saw coming. It’s also the first book that seemed at long last to rekindle something of the girl-reader in me. In fact, there were times when the novel—no work of literature, to be sure, no school for style; hugged mainly to the slender chests of very young teenage girls, whose regard for it is on a par with the regard with which just yesterday they held Hannah Montana—stirred something in me so long forgotten that I felt embarrassed by it. Reading the book, I sometimes experienced what I imagine long-married men must feel when they get an unexpected glimpse at pornography: slingshot back to a world of sensation that, through sheer force of will and dutiful acceptance of life’s fortunes, I thought I had subdued."