Friday, January 6, 2012


I do not like Twilight for rather a stupid and specific reason, to be honest. The Amateur Historian wishes desperately to say that her initial, gut-reaction of dislike arose from feminist principles, an admiration for the subtleties and satires of Jane Austen over the sentimentality Brontes, a dislike of melodrama or something of sort, but it really started because the person who introduced Twilight to the Amateur Historian said Edward was a "Byronic hero."

Well, no, that’s not quite how it works. The Byronic hero stemmed from the Romantic and Gothic adulation of Milton’s Paradise Lost, in particular for his characterization of Satan  as a personnage of “flawed grandeur”—a magnificent and powerful person destroyed through their hamartia, or tragic flaw (hamartia stemming from Aristotle's Ars Poetica).The one to perfect this beloved staple of nineteenth century fiction was, of course, Lord Byron, who drew from his own self-myth and from the trajectory of Napoleon, whom Byron saw as a brilliant, dark and mysterious leader who just also happened to be the author of his own downfall. Byron wrote these young, oddly charming, prematurely-tainted-by-sin, trapped-by-the-constraints-of-memory-and-society protagonists in Childe Harold, The Corsair, Lara, and Manfred.  Though I suppose Edward does reflect, the erie, supernatural seducer of Lady Caroline Lamb’s Glenarvon, how is Edward a) a fascinating psychological portrait, b) lead into his own destruction by free choice and a tragic flaw, or c) representative of Byron, who, well…

For the last point, have these macros, Gentle Readers:

It's enough to make one want to join George Takei's Star Alliance.

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