Edward Cullen Sucks is dedicated to the pursuit of a better paranormal romance experience.
What’s this site for?
I want this website to be used as a publishing platform that indie authors can use to promote their paranormal fiction books, by writing movie reviews or book reviews of other books in their genre. Writing guest posts on topics that interest potential readers is an excellent way to market your own books and build your platform. Find out more about that here.
You can also submit your book for review.
Why Edward Cullen?
These are some of the personal reasons I’m interested in Vampire Culture… but they’re academic reasons. This was actually the proposal for a Fulbright scholarship that I didn’t get, but I may turn it into a non-fiction book. If this site turns into a more standard book review sites for PN romance novels, that’s fine too.
Vampires have proven to be exceptionally resilient. Ever since early Gothic fiction thrilled the hearts and minds of international readers, creating a demand for spooky stories of dark castles and handsome, rich foreigners with just a touch of naughtiness and danger, stories centered around a historical vision of Transylvania have continued to tickle and seize our attention.
Within the past decade, however, there has been a rapid shift in the characterization of the Other—from monstrous to misunderstood; from frightening to friendly. In literary theory, the championship of minority literature and subaltern narratives has paved the way for a “literature of the monstrous”; where traditional figures of horror and terror (vampires, werewolves, fairies and other supernatural beings) have been given voice, and found sympathetic. In only a few brief years, we’ve gone from Buffy to True Blood—the former dedicated to tracking down vampires and destroying them, the latter characterizing vampires as persecuted minorities and endangered species.
But why is this shift taking place now, and what does it really mean? Although countless books on the history and folklore of supernatural beings have been published, there as yet hasn’t been a comprehensive account of the Paranormal Romance genre, nor any attempt to understand the shifting moral compass of global culture. Some scholars have argued that the erotic and supernatural elements of early Gothic Literature were a projection of western minds on Eastern European folklore, beginning with Polidori’s The Vampyre (1819) or Varney the Vampire (1847); however I believe the motif can be traced much earlier—to the ancient mystery cults that may have begun in Thrace around a proto-Sabazius, and which spread until late in Greco-Roman history and forcible Christianization as the cultic traditions of Dionysus and Orpheus. Moreover, I believe there is a relationship and shared history between this specific cultic tradition and Christianity which has never been fully appreciated.
As a researcher in comparative literature with a background in religious history, I have become fascinated by the sites of influence and interference between the beliefs of European Christianity and the death-defying romance of mystery cult traditions. Is contemporary Paranormal Romance literature a descendant of mystery cult traditions and the half-sibling of Christianity? What if Twilight is basically the story of Dionysian mystery rites retold for a modern generation?
In this regard, Romania and Bulgaria are ground zero for my studies: although on the periphery of the Greek and Roman Empires, there is much evidence that this particularly romantic understanding of death in a spiritual context – the mystery viewpoint – was first developed in and introduced from these areas: even today, both countries host hundreds of sites that were used in ancient times as cult-centers for Dionysiac-Orphic worship. Many of the earliest mystery cults left no written records, and their beliefs can only be pieced together by the symbolic decorations left in archaeological sites and their influence on later literary and spiritual traditions. Hence it is necessary to conduct as much on-site research as possible, in addition to becoming intimately familiar with the supernatural beliefs and literature which have been passed down to oral tradition through myths and folklore.
In my preliminary research, despite the fact that contemporary Paranormal Romance fiction is almost entirely indebted to the fantastic mythology, folklore and superstition of Eastern European areas, it has been extremely difficult to get hold of critical and relevant texts. Even Mircea Eliade’s novels—one of Romania’s most renowned scholars of mythology and folklore—are almost impossible to access outside of university libraries. Many of the greatest examples of the genre have never been translated into English. This is a sad state of affairs; it’s a tragedy that American authors are writing fiction based on themes from Eastern European mythology and folklore while Romanian and Bulgarian authors are unknown.
Whether or not Romanians and Bulgarians identify themselves culturally with the phenomenon of contemporary vampire literature, the truth is that a large and exceedingly popular section of contemporary fiction is deliberately and conscientiously aligning itself with an Eastern European vampire legacy—even adapting Romanian and Bulgarian language to add ethnic flavor and authenticity to their writing: inventing a history and culture that may not really be there. Consequently, my research may address some common international stereotypes and help develop a clearer understanding of the area, culture and literature.
My final aim will be to make the folkloric and literary traditions of Bulgaria and Romania relevant by showing the enormous impact they have had on international popular culture, and the many ways that contemporary literature of the past several centuries—culminating in today’s plethora of popular vampire franchises—are indebted to the legends, beliefs and mythologies of this unique region.
Who am I?
My name is Derek Murphy. I’m a writer, researcher and literature geek, who spends his time in dusty libraries, traveling around the world to visit historic sites, writing fiction and non-fiction, and exploring how ancient mythical symbols influence pop culture ideals.
I’m also a publishing enthusiast, and I help authors by designing book covers and teaching people how to become creatively independent on my blog, www.creativindie.com. I also run a couple book editing services, some book review sites, and try to stay on top of publishing news.