Why Buffy Matters: The Art of Buffy the Vampire Slayer
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Why Buffy Matters: The Art of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  467 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Rhonda Wilcox is the world's foremost authority on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, its characters, and its themes. Wilcox argues that Buffy is enduring as art by exploring its excellence in both long-term story arc construction and in producing individual episodes that are powerful on their own. She examines the larger patterns that extend through all seven seasons: the hero myt...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published December 10th 2005 by I. B. Tauris (first published January 1st 2005)
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You shouldn't read this book unless you've watched all 7 seasons of Buffy -- too many spoilers! However, there are no spoilers in this review.

Buffy studies seems to be my intellectual hobby, and this book is my favorite. In the first half, Wilcox analyzes five or six themes in the show, including the link between sexuality and redemption, naming, and globalization. One of the most interesting essays discussed the metaphor of light as harsh and painful for Buffy in later seasons as well as (obvio...more
The cover doesn't lie, this book is for any Buffy fan who likes to get into the deeper allusions and mythology within the show.

Wilcox's compilation contains essays that she presented as convention lectures around the world. The first half of the book has a "broad focus" on continuing themes in the series, and how particular parts of the story follow literary patterns or match other real world phenomena (such as a great chapter comparing Buffy and Harry P!). The second half contains a "tight focu...more
One of the best essays I have ever read about TV shows! I'm just being lazy picking up adjectives to describe the book instead of writing a whole review.I wish if Wilcox focused more about Willow and Tara, though. I felt like I was scratching the pages searching for little hints about them. Chapter 10 and 12 are my favorites, of course because they give account to Willow and Tara(>.<)
Myth Girl
Wonderful analysis of the series. Wilcox greatly argues the validity of "Buffy" as art. The first half takes a look at concepts on the show. The second half explores 5 episodes in detail: Surprise/Innocence, The Zeppo, Hush, Restless, and the Body.
Kim Berkey
So fun! My husband and I are officially swearing off television because nothing will ever again be as good as Buffy. This book made a nice companion to our slavish fandom.
Amanda French
I didn't really love this book, and here's why: 1) she says she's writing to persuade people that "Buffy matters," but I of course (like most of the people who would read this book, surely) am already convinced of that, and 2) her "argument" that Buffy matters seems to me to be mostly enacted rather than argued -- in other words, the book seems to think that the best way to argue that Buffy matters is to legitimize it by writing stuffy academic essays about it.

Don't get me wrong: I like a good...more
Alissa Thorne
A friend of mine invited me to audit a college course on Buffy that his friend was giving. This was on the reading list, so I picked it up.

The introduction was informative. In it, the author defends television as an artistic medium worth of academic interest. She also lists gives us a peek into the academic community around Buffy in particular, including a scholarly conference.

I enjoyed the chapter on Symbol and Language--these being two elements that I find most defining about the show. I appr...more
Fr. Ryan Humphries
Jan 05, 2013 Fr. Ryan Humphries rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Fans of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer and Whedon-fanatics.
Recommended to Fr. Ryan by: The interwebs.
Shelves: non-fiction
Wilcox applies modern deconstructive literary theory to Joss Whedon's small screen opus Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. On the plus side, the author has some astounding insights and culls other authors writing on Buffy from various and sundry perspectives. It opened my eyes time and time again. On the negative side, the author is a factor-issue English major who sees basically everything as a symbol of sex or patriarchal oppression. In this case, she has some justification in that Whedon consciously...more
This has been the most fascinating of the Buffy materials I have read yet. Ms. Wilcox brings into light many themes, quotes, examples, interpretations, meanings, and symbolisms in the Buffy series. She helps tie it together in a way that is explainable to those friends of fans who think we're crazy. :) To quote Michael Adams, author of Slayer Slang: "When it comes to Buffy studies, Wilcox is the Slayer." I highly recommend this book to any diehard Buffy fan.
In this book of essays, Rhona Wilcox providesan academic literary analysis of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Her book gave me thoughtful insight into the symbolism and allusions in the show.

I thouroughly enjoyed exploring the sysmpbolism of light and darkness in the series, as well as exploring the themes of journey and redemption. It was definately academic but very enjoyable none the less.
Mar 26, 2007 Cathy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Anyone with a love of Buffy
I chose this to read when I flew to Florida last year. It's the perfect book for anyone who owns all the Buffy seasons but still watches it on T.V. My only complaint is her misinterpretation of the first turning of Angel into Angelus...we can discuss after you've read it. She goes into the symbolism of the show and the ties to other fantasy series. I loved it.
Very interesting analysis, but admittedly, the episodic chapters were duller than I expected, even though most of the episodes she mentioned (I don't understand the love for 'The Zeppo', as much as it is a fun episode) are my absolute favourites. Maybe I'll come back to these chapters when I'm marathoning the show again.
This book is a must read for any Buffy fan. I had a hard time resisting the temptation to read the next page, the next chapter. An intellectual look at one of the few shows on television deserving of such treatment. For more:

Although Wilcox sometimes suffers from the overly complicated and dense prose that academics often use, there are some real gems in this book. I'm mainly interested in her analyses of "The Body, "Hush," and "Once More with Feeling." All make valid and interesting points.
This is a must read for any Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan. It gives an excellent analysis of the show and explores details I had never noticed before. I highly recommend it. However, do not read unless you have seen all seven seasons of the show as there are many spoilers.
Love Rhonda Wilcox from Slayage conferences. I think she's just coming from much the same place that I am reading Buffy as a text. I get more out of essays by people with specialized knowledge that I don't have, like the ones in the collection of essays she edited.
Jun 17, 2009 Marsha marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This book is a thick read, in that it could be used as a textbook for a course in analyzing the tv show. But I like it because it puts into words the reocurring themes and use of language to prove the complexity of the writing in each episode.
Great scholarly book on the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Chapter by chapter, Wilcox covers themes & features 6 episodes of the series. Wilcox shows why Buffy is worth studying, and appreciating on more than a superficial level.
There are good ideas in this book but they are taken too far. Too much is read into the different episodes of Buffy, to the point that the episode is no longer enjoyable as a whole.
This collection of scholarly essays is a great read for the hardcore Buffy fan, but I'd also recommend to anyone interested in the serious study of television as literary text.
A really fascinating look at the series. Made me want to watch it all again. Confirmed what I felt about the series from the beginning: that it is art.
Ecatarina Grant
Pretty great read! And super fast....i recommend it to any readers/viewers of the series who are looking to reignite their love for Buffy!
I liked a few of these essays more than others. But still a good read. Pointed out some things I had not noticed before.
This was a highly scholastic book analyzing themes in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I'm a fan, so I loved it.
Aug 14, 2007 Lauren rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Buffy fans
Long life Buffy! Wonderful and thorough scholarly reading on one of the best TV shows ever.
Holly Mays
Very good. A lot more in depth that I anticipated.
Aug 24, 2010 Leslie marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
FUCK!! I need to get around to reading this.
A fun piece of scholarship.
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Dr. Rhonda V. Wilcox is a Professor of English at Gordon State College in Barnesville, Georgia.
More about Rhonda V. Wilcox...
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