Professor Puts Twilight in Historical Context in New Book

With the announcement of the release date of the latest movie in the Twilight series, set to hit theaters in fall of next year, fans are again setting their sights on one of the hottest film series of our time.


Contact: Cara Cea, 914-906-9680,


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NEW YORK, NY, May 14, 2010 – With the announcement of the release date of the latest movie in the Twilight series, set to hit theaters in fall of next year, fans are again setting their sights on one of the hottest film series of our time.

Vampires and their love lives are the newest craze – and before that it was all about wizards. But are these themes and characters really so new?

Not even close, according to Pace University History Professor Nancy Reagin, editor of the recently published “Twilight and History” (Wiley; April 2010; ISBN: 978-0-470-58178-0; $17.95; Paper).

She finds fan culture surrounding these stories – from Muggles to Trek fans to the Twilight-obsessed – fascinating. After working on her third monograph: “Getting A Life: Early Fandoms In Late 19th and 20th Century Europe and America” and other works on the history of various fan communities, publisher Wiley asked her to edit several books on history and pop culture including the Twilight book as well as “Harry Potter and History,” which will be out in 2011.

“I wanted to do something that was a little bit more upbeat,” said Reagin, whose previous research and writing focused on German history, gender and sexuality, nationalism and national identity, and Nazi women in occupied Poland during WWII.

Each chapter of “Twilight and History” explores the history behind a Twilight character and other aspects of the story.

“Authors often take pieces of actual history and use them as building blocks for an imaginary world,” Reagin said. This spring she screened clips from the film “Kingdom of Heaven” during a class on the Second Crusade. “Students are watching these battle scenes and all they can think of is ‘Lord of the Rings,’ and the battle at Helm’s Deep in The Two Towers, since Tolkien uses medieval military technology and tactics.”

The book includes a chapter written by two of Reagin’s former students at Pace, Grace and Laura Loiacono, who are also writing a chapter for the forthcoming “Harry Potter and History.” Spoiler Alert: Their chapter is about Alice, the character who was incarcerated in an insane asylum in 1920s. They researched and wrote about what it was like to be a patient in an asylum during that time period.

“I love the Twilight series and was interested in deeply exploring the various historical aspects of one of my favorite characters, Alice,” said Grace, who graduated in 2007 with a dual major in History and Women’s and Gender Studies and recently completed a Master’s of Library and Information Science from the Pratt Institute.

Her sister Laura graduated from Pace in 2009 with a dual major in English and History and a minor in Women’s Studies. She is currently attending graduate school for English literature and will eventually complete a degree in Education. She hopes to become a teacher.

“I learned how to connect historical fact with one of my favorite young adult fiction series. This project has taught me how to look deeper into a work of fiction where I might otherwise only have skimmed the surface,” Laura said.

With the popularity of these fantasy books and films, there’s clearly a market for these books. “Fans will run through a whole series,” Reagin said. “They see all the movies or read all the books and then wish there was more,” she said. “Fans enjoy diving into characters’ backgrounds.”

Read more about Nancy Reagin on her personal website at

About Pace University

For 104 years Pace University has produced thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lienhard School of Nursing, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems.

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About Wiley

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