What's the hot book du jour for French teens? Number One may be "Twilight" (the mega-popular teen vampire series by American author Stephenie Meyer) but right behind seems to be "Les Hauts de Hurlevent" – the French translation of Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights."
Apparently most French teens – unlike their British and American peers – never encounter the 19th-century classic in school. But when "Wuthering Heights" figured prominently in "Eclipse," the third book of the "Twilight" series, French teens began asking for it in bookstores.
“We have sold as many copies of 'Wuthering Heights' in the first two months of 2009 as we usually sell in a whole year,” a spokeswoman for Le Livre de Poche, the publisher of the French translation, told London's Times Online. According to the Times, sales of "Les Hauts de Hurlevent" increased by 50 per cent last year but have risen even faster since the release in January of the film version of "Twilight."
Worldwide, the four books in the "Twilight" series have sold 42 million copies. About 2.5 million copies have been sold in France.
In the US, there have been discussions throughout the book world as to whether or not bestsellers lead young readers on to enjoy more serious literature. The new-found passion of French teens for Emily Bronte argues in favor of "Twilight" as a gateway to at least one classic.