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Posted at 12:46 PM ET, 07/16/2010

The education of 'Twilight's' Edward Cullen

By Valerie Strauss

I waited a day to call this to your attention, hoping that someone else would.

But after reading more than 200 comments written in response to Gail Collins’s article yesterday in the New York Times, I realize that this task has fallen to me. Someone has to set the record straight on the education of Edward Cullen, famous vampire.

Collins, in a piece titled “The Bad News Bears,” writes about Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston in particular and the concept of celebrity in general. As part of her column, she wrote:

“Not exactly 'Wuthering Heights' or 'Jane Eyre.' ('Reader, I hung out with him.') Not even 'Twilight,' although, like Levi, the perpetually teenaged Edward Cullen never managed to get through 12th grade.”

Because Edward Cullen can’t speak for himself, and because Robert Pattinson, the young actor who portrays Cullen, isn’t likely to come out and defend Edward’s intellectual heft, and because this blog is about everything involving education, (but NOT because any item about “Twilight” or “Eclipse” or Pattinson or the Cullens will generate valuable Web traffic in this sluggish July), I will right the wrong:

Edward Cullen not only managed to get through 12th grade once, but he did so many times, and actually spent enough time in college to go through medical school, twice, and come out with two degrees. That's apparently what happens when you become a vampire at 17 and never age: You become a perpetual student.

Here's what Edward is thinking in author Stephenie Meyer’s partial draft of “Midnight Sun,” a version of the first book of the “Twilight Saga” but through Edward’s point of view rather than through Bella Swan’s, as “Twilight” is told.

“It was doubtful Mr. Banner, a man of no more than average intellect, would manage to pull out anything in his lecture that would surprise someone holding two graduate degrees in medicine.”

And there is this: The 2009 Alumni Bulletin of Harvard University’s Medical School lists Edward Cullen as one of its fictional graduates.

So now the record has been set straight, and you can feel free to go about your business worrying about school reform and financial industry reform and the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind and why teachers have suddenly became the scapegoats for everything wrong in the country.

And really, if all I had wanted to do was have a little fun, I would have mentioned every member of the Cullen family -- you know, Alice and Jasper and Rosalie, and Emmett and Esme and Carlysle, the real doctor in the vampire family. But I didn't, so you know my educational motives were pure.

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By Valerie Strauss  | July 16, 2010; 12:46 PM ET
Categories:  Literature  | Tags:  edward cullen and college, edward cullen and high school, edward cullen and medical degrees, edward cullen and school, gail collins and palin, gail collins and the bad news bears, levi and bristol, levi johnston and bristol palin, robert pattinson and edward cullen, twilight, where did edward cullen go to school  
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