New Approaches to Popular Romance Fiction: Critical Essays

New Approaches to Popular Romance Fiction: Critical Essays

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Overview

Despite the prejudices of critics, popular romance fiction remains a complex, dynamic genre. It consistently maintains the largest market share in the American publishing industry, even as it welcomes new subgenres like queer and BDSM romance. Digital publishing originated in erotic romance, and savvy online communities have exploded myths about the genre’s readership. Romance scholarship now reflects this diversity, transformed by interdisciplinary scrutiny, new critical approaches, and an unprecedented international dialogue between authors, scholars, and fans. These eighteen essays investigate individual romance novels, authors, and websites, rethink the genre’s history, and explore its interplay of convention and originality. By offering new twists in enduring debates, this collection inspires further inquiry into the emerging field of popular romance studies.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786441907
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 03/05/2012
Pages: 275
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Sarah S.G. Frantz, associate professor of English at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina, is president of the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance and the author of articles on Jane Austen, J.R. Ward, Suzanne Brockmann, and contemporary popular romance fiction. Eric Murphy Selinger is executive editor of the Journal of Popular Romance Studies and associate professor of English at DePaul University, where he teaches courses dedicated exclusively to popular romance fiction. He is the author or co-editor of several books and is a regular contributor to Parnassus: Poetry in Review.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents



Acknowledgments vi

Introduction: New Approaches to Popular Romance Fiction

—ERIC MURPHY SELINGER AND SARAH S.G. FRANTZ 1



Part One: Close Reading the Romance

1. “Bertrice teaches you about history, and you don’t even mind!”: History and Revisionist Historiography in Bertrice Small’s The Kadin

—HSU- MING TEO 21

2. How to Read a Romance Novel (and Fall in Love with Popular Romance)

—ERIC MURPHY SELINGER 33

3. “How we love is our soul”: Joey W. Hill’s BDSM Romance Holding the Cards

—SARAH S.G. FRANTZ 47

4. On Popular Romance, J.R. Ward, and the Limits of Genre Study

—MARY BLY 60



Part Two: Convention and Originality

5. Loving by the Book: Voice and Romance Authorship

—AN GORIS 73

6. The “Managing Female” in the Novels of Georgette Heyer

—K. ELIZABETH SPILLMAN 84

7. One Ring to Bind Them: Ring Symbolism in Popular Romance Fiction

—LAURA VIVANCO 99

8. The More the Merrier? Transformations of the Love Triangle Across the Romance

—CAROLE VELDMAN- GENZ 108

9. “Why would any woman want to read such stories?”: The Distinctions Between Genre Romances and Slash Fiction

—DEBORAH KAPLAN 121



Part Three: Love and Strife

10. Borderlands of Desire: Captivity, Romance, and the Revolutionary Power of Love

—ROBIN HARDERS 133

11. Patriotism, Passion, and PTSD: The Critique of War in Popular Romance Fiction

—JAYASHREE KAMBLE 153

12. Straight to the Edges: Gay and Lesbian Characters and Cultural Conflict in Popular Romance Fiction

—KATHLEEN THERRIEN 164

13. “You call me a bitch like that’s a bad thing”: Romance Criticism and Redefining the Word “Bitch”

—SARAH WENDELL 178



Part Four: Readers, Authors, Communities

14. The Interactive Romance Community: The Case of “Covers Gone Wild”

—MIRIAM GREENFELD- BENOVITZ 195

15. Happy Readers or Sad Ones? Romance Fiction and the Problems of the Media Effects Model

—GLEN THOMAS 206

16. “A consummation devoutly to be wished”: Shakespeare in Popular Historical Romance Fiction

—TAMARA WHYTE 218

17. The Power of Three: Nora Roberts and Serial Magic

—CHRISTINA A. VALEO 229



Works Cited 241

About the Contributors 257

Index 261

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