It started in France but now the trend seems to be spilling across the English Channel. European readers engrossed in Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" teen vampire series are reaching for Emily Brontë classic "Wuthering Heights" as well.
According to the Guardian, "A new edition of ["Wuthering Heights"], repackaged in a similar style to Meyer's Twilight books – black cover, white flower, tagline 'love never dies' – was released in May this year, and has already sold more than 10,000 copies in the UK, nearly twice as many as the traditional Penguin Classic edition, making it [British bookseller] Waterstone's bestselling classic."
In the third book of the "Twilight"series, heroine and hero Bella and Edward both cite "Wuthering Heights" as their favorite novel because of the novel's focus on an all-consuming love. In France, (where the book is titled "Les Hauts de Hurlevent"), "Twilight" served as an introduction to the Brontë novel, which is not taught in French schools. Last March, a spokesperson for the publisher of the French translation of "Wuthering Heights" told the Times Online that, "We have sold as many copies of ‘Wuthering Heights’ in the first two months of 2009 as we usually sell in a whole year," at least partly due to the release of the film version of "Twilight" in France last January.
This doesn't necessarily mean, however, that that these newly interested European readers of "Wuthering Heights" (many of whom are teens) will now become Brontë fans. The Guardian notes some negative comments on the book on the Waterstone website.
One reader wrote, "I was really disappointed when reading this book, it's made to believe to be one of the greatest love stories ever told and I found only five pages out of the whole book about there love and the rest filled with bitterness and pain and other peoples stories," while another asked if the book was "in old english or mordern understandable english [sic]?"
If nothing else, however, the phenomenon is unique. "I don't think a vampire's recommendation has ever sent a book to number one before," Waterstone's classics buyer Simon Robertson told the Guardian.