Posted by: montclairlibrary | July 2, 2012

Re-branding the classics

There’s a trend in publishing to repackage classic novels for the Twilight generation of readers. Penguin, HarperCollins and other publishers are jumping to make old books like Hamlet, Emma and Wuthering Heights appeal to the powerful YA audience. As Julie Bosman put it in the New York Times last week, “Teenagers are still reading the classics. They just don’t want them to look so, well, classic.”

HarperCollins classic covers that mimic the Twilight series

HarperCollins has done the best job of mimicry, copying the Twilight style and typeface with lush, red-white-and-black floral covers for Romeo & Juliet, Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice, three books favored by Bella in the Twilight series. (The cover of the new Wuthering Heights even breathlessly exclaims, “Bella & Edward’s favorite book!”)

Hamlet gets a make-over - Puffin edition In a lot of ways it makes sense – stories of an angst-ridden prince, social machinations and star-crossed lovers have a timeless appeal for teenagers, but might get overlooked in their traditional covers featuring faded English landscapes and portraits of dour, antique-looking heroines. If the new covers (and who wouldn’t rather read about the Hamlet who looks like a teen movie star?) introduce new readers to Shakespeare, Austen and the Brontës, what’s not to like?

P.S. If you just can’t get enough vampires, see the OPL website teen section’s “If you liked Twilight…” booklist for more supernatural stories for teens. And if you want your Wuthering Heights with vampires added right in, check out Wuthering Bites by Sarah Gray, which re-imagines Emily Brontë’s classic tale of enduring love — with a vampire twist.

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