Okay, I am gonna rant a little bit on something that bothers me every time I go into the bookstore: the Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice and Romeo and Juliet redesigned covers. This little rant is from when I just discovered the covers, but the issue still bothers me greatly.
So here’s the rant:
Redesigned covers of classic works of literature are supposed to make books more appealing to a modern audience. BUt when a cover is a virtual copy of a modern bestseller, has the marketing team gone too far to make a buck?
While on HarperCollins Publishers’ website, the new covers for Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice and Romeo and Juliet drew my attention, not because their covers were unique, but because of the stunning similarities to the covers of the Twilight saga.
The covers for these classic novels looked as if they could be interchanged with any of the covers in the popular book series. They all have black backgrounds with a huge red flower, or in the case of the Pride and Prejudice cover, a white flower, following the color scheme of black, red and white of the Twilight books. The flowers are reminiscent of the New Moon cover.
The font of the covers are eerily similar to the font used on the Twilight covers, maybe because they are the same font, called Zephyr.
If you could not tell the direction the marketing team was going with these covers, maybe the giant circle on the Wuthering Heights cover endorsing the book as a “Bella and Edward’s Favorite Book” will help clarify.
The direction of the marketing team is shameful. Trying to sell classical works of literature off a current fad of anything Twilight is sad. The amount of Twilight merchandise out there, everything from clothing to jewelry to candy, is excessive. The hype and marketing of Twilight has made the book become annoying; people only focus on the popularity of the book and movie, and they do not look at the literary value of the work.
The works of Emily Bronte, Jane Austen and William Shakespeare should not be grouped with the works of Stephenie Meyer. Twilight is a poorly written, cliche love story that has little literary merit, while the works of Bronte, Austen and Shakespeare are works that have been studied by many and have proved their literary merit. By marketing a book based off Twilight, that book is deemed to be at a lower literary value and mislead the reader into believing that the story lines in all three of these novels are similar to that of Twilight.
The stories of Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, and Romeo and Juliet have little to do with vampires, which is the main point of Twilight. In fact, all the books, besides a brief ghost mention in Wuthering Heights, have nothing do with anything supernatural.
Having blurbs on the top of the books reading “Love Never Dies,” “The Love That Started It All,” and “The Original Forbidden Love” on Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice and Romeo and Juliet, respectively, designates that these three books are in all some way connected and similar to Twilight.
In the case of Wuthering Heights and Romeo and Juliet, they are mentioned in Twilight, and Stephenie Meyer actually based two out of the four books on the stories of those books, but Pride and Prejudice is not mentioned anywhere in the series. To have the cover of Pride and Prejudice say it is “The Love That Started It All” is just wrong because it in no way influenced or is similar to Twilight.
Pride and Prejudice, written by Jane Austen, a literary genius in her own right, is one of the most famous romance of all time. The circle on Wuthering Heights endorsing the book as a “Bella and Edward’s Favorite Book” goes too far. Using the endorsement of fictional characters to sell a book shames me. Sure, they mention they enjoy that book in Twilight, but fictional characters should not endorse a book; a legitimate source such as ALA, the American Library Association, would be more appropriate.
Bring Shakespeare down to this level is just wrong. Shakespeare is the literary genius who wrote multiple masterpieces and changed the way we look at literature. Romeo and Juliet is the original forbidden love that almost all other romances, not just Twilight, are based off of. Austen, Bronte and Shakespeare’s works should be read because of their genius, not because they are supposed to be similar to Twilight.
There must be a silver lining to these covers that ruin the work of classics. That lining would be that Twilight fans will now be willing to pick up these books and become exposed to the classics which do not get read enough as it is. People should not judge and book by its cover, but that is going to happen anyway, and these covers will appeal to people who are willing to read anything concerning Twilight. People who pick up these books based on their supposed relationship to Twilight will be able to be exposed to literature of merit and read novels that should be just as popular as Twilight.