Twilight Is Now Required Reading for a College Level Honors English Class

An honors English course at Ohio State University is including Twilight as required reading. Does Edward Cullen belong in college?

Parents paying $19,584 a year for their kids to attend Ohio State University might not be thrilled. Twilight is required reading for English 261H, a spring 2011 honors "introduction to fiction" course.

According to Associate Professor Amanpal Garcha's syllabus, the class will read and discuss "important, influential narratives about the supernatural—Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, and Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight as well a few minor works."

James, Shelley, and Stoker may be turning in their graves sharing the bill with Stephanie Meyer. However, serious literary analysis is going to be attempted. The class will explore "the way fiction’s seductiveness is tied to other potentially dangerous attractions."

This is not the first instance of Twilight being offered at the college level—and certainly not the first time pop culture has made an appearance in a college class. But this is also a time when the practical payoff of an undergraduate education is being reevaluated. Multiple studies are questioning the value of college, employers complain that kids coming out of school aren't prepared for the workforce, and student loan debt is through the roof. In that context, it's worth asking whether students really need to be spending their time (and money) studying Twilight.

That said, as much as I dislike Twilight (I tried to read the book and just couldn't get into the love story between "heroine" Bella Swan and sparkly vampire Edward Cullen) including it on the syllabus might get students interested in Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, and Henry James, and that can't be all bad.

hat tip to The Daily What


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