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

Overview

In Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women, Jayne Ann Krentz and the contributors to this volume—all best-selling romance writers—explode 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...

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Overview

In Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women, Jayne Ann Krentz and the contributors to this volume—all best-selling romance writers—explode 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.

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Editorial Reviews

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

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.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812214116
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/1992
  • Series: New Cultural Studies Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 6.68 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

Jayne Ann Krentz
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.

Biography

A successful corporate and academic librarian-turned-author, Jayne Ann Krentz wrote serial romances for several publishers (including industry powerhouse Harlequin) before breaking out in the '90s as a writer of romantic novels. To say that she has been successful is an understatement: A New York Times- bestselling author with more than 23 million copies of her books in print, she writes three sub-genres of romantic suspense under three different pen names: contemporary romances as Jayne Ann Krentz, historicals as Amanda Quick, and futuristic/paranormal romances as Jayne Castle. (In her early career, she employed at least three additional pseudonyms!) In 2006, the prolific Krentz launched The Arcane Society series -- crossover thrillers written under all three noms de plume that feature members of a secret organization devoted to the study of the paranormal.

It would be hard to find a more passionate advocate for romantic fiction than Krentz. In 1992, she edited and contributed to Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance, an award-winning nonfiction essay collection that serves an eloquent apologia for the genre. She has also received the Jane Austen Commemorative Medal from Romantic Times magazine for her work educating readers about Romance. "The Romance genre is the only genre where readers are guaranteed novels that place the heroine at the heart of the story," she says on her website. "These are books that celebrate women's heroic virtues and values: courage, honor, determination and a belief in the healing power of love." Clearly, her legions of loyal fans agree!

Good To Know

I have finally reached the point in my career where I have some say over cover art. Unfortunately, it turns out that I have absolutely no talent for cover art design. Thank heavens I'm with a publisher (Putnam/Berkley) that maintains a terrific art department.

I love green tea and red wine and was absolutely thrilled when it turned out that both are now considered health foods.

I love all animals except for squirrels which, I strongly suspect, are aliens from outer space who are here to take over the planet. You have been warned.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Amanda Quick, Jayne Castle
    2. Hometown:
      Seattle, WA
    1. Education:
      BA in History, University of California at Santa Cruz, MA in Librarianship from San Jose State University (California)
    2. Website:

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
—Jayne Ann Krentz
Setting the Stage: Facts and Figures
—Cathie Linz
Beneath the Surface: The Hidden Codes of Romance
—Linda Barlow and Jayne Ann Krentz
The Androgynous Reader: Point of View in the Romance
—Laura Kinsale
The Androgynous Reader: Another View of Point of View
—Linda Barlow
The Romance and the Empowerment of Women
—Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Sweet Subversions
—Daphne Clair

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