Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance

Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance

by Jayne Ann Krentz
     
 
In Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women, Jayne Ann Krentz and the contributors to this volume--all best-selling romance writers--explode the myths and biases that haunt both the writers and readers of romances.

In this seamless, ultimately fascinating, and controversial book, the authors dispute some of the notions that plague their profession, including the

Overview

In Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women, Jayne Ann Krentz and the contributors to this volume--all best-selling romance writers--explode the myths and biases that haunt both the writers and readers of romances.

In this seamless, ultimately fascinating, and controversial book, the authors dispute some of the notions that plague their profession, including the time-worn theory that the romance genre contains only one single, monolithic story, which is cranked out over and over again. The authors discuss positive life-affirming values inherent in all romances: the celebration of female power, courage, intelligence, and gentleness; the inversion of the power structure of a patriarchal society; and the integration of male and female. Several of the essays also discuss the issue of reader identification with the characters, a relationship that is far more complex than most critics realize.

"Some of the writers collected here have read virtually all of the significant books on romance that have appeared in the last ten years or so, evaluated the claims made by their feminist authors in highly critical fashion and yet insisted on claiming the term 'feminist' for their own literary efforts. This, in itself, is a highly useful piece of information for it demonstrates that romances cannot simply be labeled reactionary anti-feminism, as some critics have claimed, but rather must be evaluated as part of a larger cultural struggle over the proper way to define feminism and to control its impact on the lives of individual women. . . . This book will interest feminist literary and media critics as primary source material for their efforts to understand the impact of the romance genre. . . . It demonstrates eloquently that thinking about the contemporary state of culture goes on beyond the ivory tower and that it is cohesive and compelling."
--Janice Radway

"Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women is, itself, a kind of reconciliation: it is certainly the first time a university press has published romance writers' thoughts about their craft and their critics. . . . [Linda] Barlow calls academic critics 'foreigners in our emotional landscape,' women who have learned to read as if they were men. Men view Jane Austen, for instance, as a malicious satirist--but women would see her as a serious romance writer about the only life-defining choice a woman of her era could make: the choice of a husband. Similarly, academic critics heap praise on fiction about existential dread, angst, passivity and ennui--while romance readers and writers want their characters and plots passionate, fast-moving, exciting and optimistic. . . . The romance writers in Krentz's book are themselves a cross-section of educated women--geologists, lawyers, historians, librarians--who are now among the few hundred people in the United States who make a living writing books. They also battle for women's voices and values."
--Women's Review of Books

"Krentz and her 18 collaborators, all best-selling romance writers, unleash a veritable arsenal of pro-romance arguments: that romances are a subversive feminist art form. That romances, far from degrading women, actually celebrate and empower women, since they always emerge triumphant over men in the requisite happy ending. That romances are the modern-day inheritor of the heroic tradition in storytelling."
--Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick, Jayne Castle, Stephanie James) has written and published more than fifty series romances for several publishers including Harlequin, Silhouette, and Dell. Currently she writes contemporary romances for Pocket Books under her own name and historical romances for Bantam under the pen name Amanda Quick. Several of her contemporary and historical titles, including Scandal, Rendezvous, Sweet Fortune, and Perfect Partners, appeared on the New York Times bestseller list.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 22 essays, romance novelists address why romances are popular. These authors are convincing when they simply write what they think, as when Sandra Brown flatly asserts that romances ``are fun--fun to write, fun to read, fun to dissect and discuss.'' Some more complex arguments, which invite closer scrutiny of their logic, don't always fare as well. For example, Linda Barlow and Jayne Ann Krentz maintain that ``outsiders tend to be unable to interpret'' the language, images and symbols that recur, but only a few pages later they claim that such ``codes'' are ``universally recognized by women.'' When disjunctions arise from the arguments of different authors, however, they can be intriguing: Elizabeth Lowell says of romance heroes that ``at core, they are decent''; Anne Stuart maintains that her heroes are men ``whose sense of honor and decency is almost nonexistent.'' There are hints of how interesting these authors could have been, had they not been tied to the book's fairly defensive theme. Notable are Kathleen Gilles Seidel's comments on the nature of romance (prompted by her judging a Valentine's Day essay contest) and her suggestion that information theory might offer useful insights on repetitive reading of romances. Krentz is a bestselling romance novelist who also publishes under the pseudonym Amanda Quick (see Fiction Originals). (Dec.)
From the Publisher
"Readable, fascinating looks into the fiction read by real women in the real world."—Augusta Wynde, Whole Earth Review

"This book will interest feminist literary and media critics as primary source material for their efforts to understand the impact of the romance genre. . . . It demonstrates eloquently that thinking about the contemporary state of culture goes on beyond the ivory tower and that it is cohesive and compelling."—Janice Radway

"Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women has attracted unprecedented attention. . . . The book will be found useful by feminist and media critics. It will certainly change their perception of the genre as well."—San Francisco Review of Books

"The romance writers in Krentz's book are themselves a cross-section of educated women—geologists, lawyers, historians, librarians—who are now among the few hundred people in the United States who make a living writing books. They also battle for women's voices and values."—Women's Review of Books

"Krentz and her 18 collaborators, all best-selling romance writers, unleash a veritable arsenal of pro-romance arguments: that romances are a subversive feminist art form. That romances, far from degrading women, actually celebrate and empower women, since they always emerge triumphant over men in the requisite happy ending. That romances are the modern-day inheritor of the heroic tradition in storytelling."—Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780812231922
Publisher:
University of Pennsylvania Press
Publication date:
10/28/1992
Series:
New Cultural Studies Series
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
6.70(w) x 8.94(h) x 0.73(d)
Lexile:
1240L (what's this?)

Meet the Author

Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick, Jayne Castle, Stephanie James) has written and published more than fifty series romances for several publishers including Harlequin, Silhouette, and Dell. Currently she writes contemporary romances for Pocket Books under her own name and historical romances for Bantam under the pen name Amanda Quick. Several of her contemporary and historical titles, including Scandal, Rendezvous, Sweet Fortune, and Perfect Partners, appeared on the New York Times bestseller list.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Seattle, WA
Place of Birth:
San Diego, CA
Education:
BA in History, University of California at Santa Cruz, MA in Librarianship from San Jose State University (California)
Website:
http://www.krentz-quick.com

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