"I was seventeen, and dying of the Spanish influenza"

Q & A with Stephenie Meyer

from the twilight lexicon

Q:  What was Edward’s human last name?  And are there any other details about his mortal life that you could pass on to us? 

Stephenie Meyer:  Edward’s full name is Edward Anthony Masen Cullen.  His mother’s name is Elizabeth and his father’s name is also Edward.  His human life in Chicago was fairly happy and uneventful.  His parents were moderately wealthy (his father was a successful lawyer).  The biggest worry in his mother’s life before they were all caught in the epidemic was the fact that World War I was raging and Edward was only a year away from the draft (in August of 1918, the draft age was lowered to 18–the influenza epidemic hit in September).

 

1918- Nurses tending influenza sufferers
Public Domain1918- Nurses tending influenza sufferers

The Spanish influenza was a pandemic that hit most of the world in the early 20th Century. Many of its victims were young adults. It lasted from March 1918 to June 1920, killing an estimated 50-100 million people worldwide. Symptoms began with extreme fatigue, followed by a high fever and delirium. Patients had violent coughing fits - so much, that they often coughed up blood. To this day, no one knows what caused the flu, or how to treat it.