Tuesday, 18 November 2008
Here it is, in all it's brevity:
Conflict and Paradigms in Vampire Romance Novels
In her essay “Legends of Seductive Elegance” Anne Stuart claims, “At the heart of the vampire myth is a demon lover who is both elegant and deadly, a creature whose savagery is all the more shocking when taken with his seductive beauty and style” (85). The vampire in paranormal romance novels is a curiously subversive creature. It transforms the long tradition of vampire mythology as seen in the Hades and Persephone myth, the Death and the Maiden figure in 15th century paintings, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The central tension in vampire myth is between the vampire and the human: life and death, innocence and experience, immortality and mortality, age and youth. In traditional vampire stories the way to resolve this human-vampire conflict is the mortals’ death or the vampire’s true death. However, the vampire in paranormal romance is a sympathetic character who deserves a happy ending, which leads authors to resolve conflict in ways that do not result in the death off the hero or the heroine. To achieve these happy endings, several paradigms have evolved within the genre. This paper investigates subversive elements and conflict-resolution paradigms in the paranormal vampire romance genre, focusing on works by Nora Roberts, Christine Feehan, JR Ward and Sherrilyn Kenyon.
Monday, 15 September 2008
Vampire Romances are a fascinating aspect of the Romance Genre. They have mysterious heroes that are tortured by a traumatic past. As Anne Stuart explains, “At the heart of the vampire myth is a demon lover who is both elegant and deadly, a creature whose savagery is all the more shocking when taken with his beauty and style.”[i] In vampire romances the stakes are high- not only if the heroine fighting for love, she’s fighting for her hero’s soul and her life. Vampire romances invoke an older, intertexual tradition of attraction between a Maiden and Death.
Stories of maidens and Death are not new. The “Dance of Death” motif in the 14th century was a popular motif in
Another more modern narrative of death and the maiden is Joyce Carol Oates’s “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” In the story Arnold Friend, a strange unknown man with alluring qualities, persuades Connie, a young girl, to leave her house and come with him in his car. A close reader concludes by the end of the story that if Connie goes with
How then, does Vampire Romance fit into all of this? Vampire Romances have a hero that is a fallen angel- with aspects of both life and death. Anne Stuart, author of vampire romances explains, “The heroine’s attraction to the hero is never in doubt,”[vii] just like the attraction of Death in Death and the Maiden is not in doubt. Yet in vampire romance novels the authors twist the previous narrative tradition. There is still a sense of the inevitable in vampire romances, but the inevitable isn’t the eventual death of the heroine. Rather love is the inevitable consequence of the eroticism and attraction between a hero intimately connected with death and a heroine with life. Conflict in the vampire romance centers around the hero’s struggle with not wanting to damn his love (either by making her a vampire or killing her), and his eventual conquering of his monstrous instincts because of his love of the heroine. Love is the force that conquers the vampire’s monstrous nature, and prevents the hero from destroying the heroine. By rewriting the traditional Death and the Maiden narrative, romance novel authors create a new text that is life affirming and love affirming. They send the message that love transcends death.
[i] Anne Stuart, “Legends of Seductive Elegance,” in Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women, ed. Jayne Ann Krentz (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992), 85.
[ii] Randy Nelson, “Monsters, Heroes, and the End of Fairy Tales,” Davidson College Metafiction and Intertextuality class, September 10, 2008.
[iii] Niklaus Manuel Deutsch, Death and the Maiden 1517.
[iv] Hans Sebald Beham. Death and the maiden; la mort se saisissant d'une femme nue et debout.
[v] Hans Baldung (1484/5-1545). 1517. Death and the maiden.
[vi] Joyce Carol Oates, "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?," in Retellings, ed. M.B. Clarke and A.G. Clarke (
[vii] Anne Stuart, “Legends of Seductive Elegance,” in Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women, ed. Jayne Ann Krentz (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992), 86.
Pictures from http://www.lamortdanslart.com/fille/maiden.htm. The First is Death and the Maiden by Niklaus Manuel Deutsch painted in 1517, and the second is the frescoe of Berne.
On another note, how eerie is it that the Death and the Maiden Paintings echo some romance novel covers in the way the two figures are positioned? Am I the only one seeing the similarity?
Friday, 5 September 2008
In order to study romance novels, it is important to clarify what, exactly, is a romance novel. A romance refers to fictional works that involve some combination adventure, mysterious events, difficult quests, thwarted love, and a triumphant ending. Novels are simply fictional prose narratives that can, but don’t have to, be a romance. However, romance novels refer to something entirely different.
Pamela Regis, in her A Natural History of the Romance Novel defines a romance novel to be, “a work of prose fiction that tells the story of the courtship and betrothal of one or more heroines.[i]” She goes on to explain that there are eight narrative elements of a romance novel which include: a definition of society, meeting, attraction, barrier, point of ritual death, recognition, declaration and betrothal.[ii] This definition is excellent because it is specific and clear. However, Pamela Regis makes an error in making her definition gender specific, saying there must be a heroine and a hero. While not as common as heterosexual romances, homosexual romances featuring a hero and a hero, or a heroine and a heroine, do exist. Consider, for example Suzanne Brockman’s All Through the Night which features Jules Cassidy and his partner Robin Chadwick.[iii] It follows all of Regis’ narrative elements- the only thing that is different is the male protagonists.
The Romance Writers of America offers a more gender-inclusive definition saying “a central love story and an emotionally-satisfying and optimistic ending.”[iv] They go on to expand that “In a romance novel, the main plot centers around two individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work.”[v] While this definition is more gender inclusive, it fails to be specific in that way that Pamela Regis’s definition is.
It also fails to take into account the new subgenre of romance called erotic romance. Marketed by publishers such as Ellora’s Cave and Samhain Publishing, these novels feature, among other things, love stories between three (or more) people. For example, Denise Rossetti’s book Tailspin features two heroes and a heroine.[vi] All of Regis’s narrative elements are present, just more complex as there are multiples of some of the elements, which force the three characters apart. The heroine, Fledge is living in a circus where she is repressed and unhappy, representing the definition of society that is corrupt.[vii] She meets Mirry, one of the heroes, and there is an immediate attraction as she looks at him. Rossetti describes Fledge’s attraction to him, “But he was beautiful. Even limp and dead, covered with stinking muck, his body was the very essence of masculinity.”[viii] As the story progresses, Jan, the third hero is introduced, and the three struggle to understand the love they have blooming between them, even though a ménage á trios is not socially acceptable (the barrier)[ix]. There is a point where each of the characters worry that their love will not overcome Mirry’s resistance or Jan’s emotional wounds (point of ritual death). However, they recognize that they love each other, and are able to declare their love and make a commitment to each other[x]. The story ends on a happy, hopeful note.[xi]In light of these examples, the definition of a romance novel needs to be adjusted. A romance novel is a prose narrative dealing with the romantic love and courtship between two or more characters. Romance novels contain eight narrative elements which include: a definition of society that is corrupt, the meeting, the attraction, the barrier, the point of ritual death[xii], the recognition, the declaration, and the betrothal[xiii].
[i] Pamela Regis, A Natural History of the Romance Novel, (
[ii] Pamela Regis, A Natural History of the Romance Novel, (
[iii] Suzanne Brockman, All Through the Night, (Ballantine Books, 2007), back cover.
[vi] Denise Rossetti, Tailspin, (
[vii] Denise Rossetti, Tailspin, (
[viii] Denise Rossetti, Tailspin, (
[ix] Denise Rossetti, Tailspin, (
[x] Denise Rossetti, Tailspin, (
[xi] Denise Rossetti, Tailspin, (
[xii] Personally, I think that there is a better way to term the “point of ritual death” in a novel, both because the term is cumbersome to say, and because it is misleading. I would argue that it is more of a Dark Moment- where one or both of the characters are convinced that things will not work out between them.
[xiii] I would also argue that the betrothal isn’t always necessarily a betrothal, but more an understanding that there is a commitment between the characters.
Wednesday, 3 September 2008
How do you define the romance novel? I think this is important because it is very hard to study something if you don't know what it is. So, this first week I'm reading Jennifer Crusie's essays, A Natural History of the Romance Novel, and various other texts in an attempt to find my own working definition of what constitutes a Romance Novel. I think I have a very good idea, and I'll expand on that point on Friday, with my weekly entry.
My second question, I feel, is just as important. What would be a clever title for this course? It seems silly, but I don't want to be calling my independent study class by that name for the entire semester. It just doesn't flow.
So, a final question. Any suggestions of a clever, insightful title for my class?
Thursday, 29 May 2008
Monday, 31 March 2008
The Subjugation of Males in Louisa May Alcott’s Thrillers
In Behind a Mask by Louisa May Alcott, gender roles are reversed as males become objects of lust and women become the people in power. Unlike the more common male protagonist-centered stories, Alcott has women as the main character of her fiction. As a result, while there are elements of female oppression in the novels, there is also a strong theme of male subjugation by females in her stories. As women overcome their oppression and rise above their circumstances, males begin to fill a more traditionally female role in literature, becoming secondary characters that are the objects of desire, lust, and oppression.
This theme is most clear in “Pauline’s Passion and Punishment.” The story is about Pauline, who has been deceived and rejected by Gilbert. Pauline sets out to exact revenge on Gilbert, with the help of Manuel, a young boy of exotic decent. From the opening lines, Manuel is portrayed as young, passionate, and innocent (Alcott 112). He is also an object of desire, and described in very sensual language. Describing Manuel in love, Alcott writes, “the eloquent blood rushed over swarthy cheek and brow, the slumberous softness of the eyes kindled with a flash, and the lips, sensitive as any woman’s trembled yet broke into a rapturous smile” (113). These characteristics- passion, beauty, and innocence- are normally typical of the female protagonist, who is the one that is taken advantage of.
Yet in “Pauline’s Passion and Punishment” it is Manuel who is taken advantage of by Pauline. It is Manuel who swears “to obey you in all things; make me what you will, for soul and body I am wholly yours henceforth” (116). This echoes the vows a woman traditionally makes in a wedding, to “love, honor, cherish and obey you always” (?). Pauline is the one that orchestrates the revenge on Gilbert, and manipulates Manuel to do her bidding (137). She manipulates Manuel’s passions at sacrifice to his principles, costing him his innocence and self-respect (138). Traditionally, it is the women who is the one sacrificing her innocence for a man. Yet here it is Manuel who is sacrificing his innocence for his wife. Again, Manuel echoes the traditional woman’s vow saying, “Soul and body, I belong to you; do with me as you will” (138).
Later Alcott manages to have Gilbert and Pauline face off against each other. The masculine Gilbert is the one that is a foil for Pauline’s wits in “a tournament where the keen tongue is the lance, pride the shield, passion the fiery steed, and the hardest heart the winner of the prize” (131). Manuel and Gilbert’s wife become counterparts to each other as well, likening, again, Manuel to a more feminine role and Pauline to a more masculine, confrontational role. However, the previous passage also has another purpose. Earlier in the story Manuel is described as passionate, and here, passion is the steed. Manuel is thus likened to a steed, to be ridden, controlled and manipulated at will.
Alcott’s subversion of the normal roles of male and female give the story a gothic atmosphere, a feeling that all is not quite right in the world. Thus, when Manuel dies at the hands of Gilbert at the end of the novel the result is a surprise, but not quite as much one as might be expected. Through the ending Alcott implies that while the switching of roles for revenge is possible, such a relationship cannot be sustained. Pauline’s relationship creates disharmony, and thus, something must give. When Manuel dies, not only does it punish Pauline, but it signals to the reader that the relationship is not one that is natural.
Alcott, Louisa May. Behind a Mask: The Unknown Thrillers of Louisa May Alcott.
Sunday, 30 March 2008
For the more immediate research project that is due at the end of the semester, I have a fairly good idea about what I want to do it on. I want to research how Louisa May Alcott objectifies men in her stories. I'm also thinking of after proving that she does objectify men, either try to express that it is, in a way an expression of repressed desires in her life. Maybe. That might be stretching it a little, but my gut is telling me it's all there to be proven.
As for next semester's independent study, I'm still debating. A large part of me would like to look at male archetypes in a certain romance author... I'm leaning towards Nora Robers just because she has a lot of different types of heroes, lots of books, and I've read a bunch of them. Springing off the idea of male archetypes, I've always had a resentment toward the term Alpha and Beta hero in books, and I think Roberts does a good job of writing male characters that would be sometimes termed "Beta." I think there is a better term for having male heroes that aren't perhaps as pushy as Alpha heroes, but are still assertive, perhaps in more subtle ways. I feel like there might be an argument somewhere in there that might be worth investigating.
However, it has been pointed out to be that research on male archetypes isn't quite cutting edge as say, the way males are objectified in Romance Novels. Now while this would be an interesting topic, and also would be spring-boarding more off of Louisa May Alcott's research paper this semester. But I also don't want to just do something if it is easier. And I am more interested in the first topic. But I'm wondering if there is a way to incorporate these two ideas, and I'm also wondering if I've been thinking about this too much.
Meanwhile, I've been getting some books on Alcott on Ill, and also getting the ones in our library that we have... it's unfortunate that her children's books and young adult (Little Women and Little Men) books are so much more well known than her thrillers. I like the thrillers.
Also, on a random side note... Louisa May Alcott's thrillers bear an eerie resemblance to some of the early Gothic romances in the middle of the 1900's. I'm starting to wonder if there was any crossover. I'll have to look at the date that Alcott's thrillers were published, and see if there's any correlation.
Later this week, more.
Saturday, 22 March 2008
Thursday, 20 March 2008
At this point I'm just looking for context, increasing my vocabulary, and understanding what I'm doing. Getting direction, and trying to figure out if what I want to do has been done yet.
For amusements sake, and so I have a backup copy of what I need to look at more throughly, and figure out what I need to get off of ILL/ones I found interesting and thought might pertain in some way shape or form to what I'm interested in:
Austin, Andrea. "Details: Hitchcock Reads Rebecca." Empowerment Versus Oppression: Twenty First Century Views of Popular Romance Novels. Ed. Sally (ed and introd ). Goade. Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars, ix, 2007. 65-80.
Barrett-Fox, Rebecca. "Hope, Faith, and Toughness: An Analysis of the Christian Hero." Empowerment Versus Oppression: Twenty First Century Views of Popular Romance Novels. Ed. Sally (ed and introd ). Goade. Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars, ix, 2007. 93-102.
Booth, Sandra. "Paradox in Popular Romances of the 1990s: The Paranormal Versus Feminist Humor." Paradoxa: Studies in World Literary Genres 3, no. 1-2 (1997): 94-106.
Breslin Carol, Ann. "Medieval Magic and Witchcraft in the Popular Romance Novel." Romantic Conventions. Ed. Anne K. (ed and introd ). Kaler and Rosemary E. (ed and introd ). Johnson-Kurek. Bowling Green, OH: Popular, 1999. 75-85.
Burley, Stephanie. "What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Book Like this? Homoerotic Reading and Popular Romance." Doubled Plots: Romance and History. Ed. Susan Strehle and Mary Paniccia Carden. Jackson, MS: UP of Mississippi, 2003. 127-146.
Capelle, Annick. "Harlequin Romances in Western Europe: The Cultural Interactions of Romantic Literature." European Readings of American Popular Culture. Ed. John (ed and preface) Dean, Jean-Paul (ed and preface) Gabilliet, and Rob (introd ). Kroes. Westport, CT: Greenwood, lii, 1996. 91-100.
Chen Eva Y., I. "Forms of Pleasure in the Reading of Popular Romance: Psychic and Cultural Dimensions." Empowerment Versus Oppression: Twenty First Century Views of Popular Romance Novels. Ed. Sally (ed and introd ). Goade. Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars, ix, 2007. 30-41.
Darbyshire, Peter. "The Politics of Love: Harlequin Romances and the Christian Right." Journal of Popular Culture 35.4 (2002): 75-87.
Downey, Kristin. Irony, Ideology, and Resistance: The Amazing Double Life of Harlequin Presents., 2006.
Franco, Jean. "Plotting Women: Popular Narratives for Women in the United States and in Latin America." The Latin American Cultural Studies Reader. Ed. Del Sarto,Ana (ed.and introd.), Alicia (ed and introd ). Ríos, and Abril (ed and introd ). Trigo. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2004. 183-202.
Goade, Sally (ed and introd )., ed. Empowerment Versus Oppression: Twenty First Century Views of Popular Romance Novels. Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars, 2007. ix, 2007.
Goade, Sally. "Understanding the Pleasure: An Undergraduate Romance Reading Community." Empowerment Versus Oppression: Twenty First Century Views of Popular Romance Novels. Ed. Sally (ed and introd ). Goade. Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars, ix, 2007. 206-230.
Goodwin, Sarah Webster. "Romance and Change: Teaching the Romance to Undergraduates." Paradoxa: Studies in World Literary Genres 3, no. 1-2 (1997): 233-41.
Haddad Emily, E. "Bound to Love: Captivity in Harlequin Sheikh Novels." Empowerment Versus Oppression: Twenty First Century Views of Popular Romance Novels. Ed. Sally (ed and introd ). Goade. Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars, ix, 2007. 42-64.
Jones Ann, Rosalind. "Mills & Boon Meets Feminism." The Progress of Romance: The Politics of Popular Fiction. Ed. Jean Radford. London: Routledge, x, 1986. 195-218.
Joshua, Essaka. "Charlotte Smith's Desmond: Romance and the Man of Principle in the Domestic and Public Spheres." Eighteenth-Century Novel 5 (2006): 277-319.
Juhasz, Suzanne. "Lesbian Romance Fiction and the Plotting of Desire: Narrative Theory, Lesbian Identity, and Reading Practice." Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature 17.1 (1998): 65-82.
Kaler Anne, K. "Conventions of Captivity in Romance Novels." Romantic Conventions. Ed. Anne K. (ed and introd ). Kaler and Rosemary E. (ed and introd ). Johnson-Kurek. Bowling Green, OH: Popular, 1999. 86-99.
Kaler, Anne K. "[on Romance in Mysteries]." Clues: A Journal of Detection 21.1 (2000).
---. "Dysfunctional Detectives and Romantic P. I.s: Impediments to the Happy Marriage of Mystery and Romance." Clues: A Journal of Detection 21.1 (2000): 61-72.
Kinard, Amanda Marette. Forbidden Pleasures: The Romance and its Readers., 1999.
Koski, Patricia, Lori Holyfield, and Marcella Thompson. "Romance Novels as Women's Myths." Paradoxa: Studies in World Literary Genres 3, no. 1-2 (1997): 219-32.
Linke, Gabriele. "Contemporary Mass Market Romances as National and International Culture: A Comparative Study of Mills and Boon and Harlequin Romances." Paradoxa: Studies in World Literary Genres 3, no. 1-2 (1997): 195-213.
---. "Local Color in Contemporary Harlequin and Silhouette Romances: Popular Imagery of the American South and West." Mid-Atlantic Almanack: The Journal of the Mid-Atlantic Popular/American Culture Association 6 (1997): 14-30.
Livingston, Eric. "The Textuality of Pleasure." New Literary History: A Journal of Theory and Interpretation 37.3 (2006): 655-72.
Modleski, Tania, and Kay (reply) Mussell. "My Life as a Romance Writer." Paradoxa: Studies in World Literary Genres 4.9 (1998): 134-47.
Modleski, Tania. "The Disappearing Act: A Study of Harlequin Romances." Signs 5.3 (1980): 435-48.
---. "The Disappearing Act: Harlequin Romances." Gender, Language, and Myth: Essays and Popular Narrative. Ed. Glenwood Irons. Toronto: U of Toronto P, xxvii, 1992. 20-45.
---. "My Life as a Romance Reader." Paradoxa: Studies in World Literary Genres 3, no. 1-2 (1997): 15-28.
Mussell, Kay. "Paradoxa Interview with Nora Roberts." Paradoxa: Studies in World Literary Genres 3, no. 1-2 (1997): 155-63.
Pearce, Lynne. "Popular Romance and its Readers." A Companion to Romance: From Classical to Contemporary. Ed. Corinne (ed and introd ). Saunders. Malden, MA: Blackwell, xiii, 2004. 521-538.
Proctor, Candice. "The Romance Genre Blues Or Why we Don't Get no Respect." Empowerment Versus Oppression: Twenty First Century Views of Popular Romance Novels. Ed. Sally (ed and introd ). Goade. Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars, ix, 2007. 12-19.
Rampure, Archana. Doctors in the Darkness: Reading Race, Gender, and History in the Popular Medical Romance., 2006.
Rapp, Adrian, Lynda Dodgen, and Anne K. Kaler. "A Romance Writer Gets Away with Murder." Clues: A Journal of Detection 21.1 (2000): 17-21.
Regis, Pamela. "Complicating Romances and their Readers: Barrier and Point of Ritual Death in Nora Roberts's Category Fiction." Paradoxa: Studies in World Literary Genres 3, no. 1-2 (1997): 145-54.
---. A Natural History of the Romance Novel. Philadelphia, PA: Philadelphia, 2007.
Ricker-Wilson, Carol. "Busting Textual Bodices: Gender, Reading, and the Popular Romance." English Journal 88.3 (1999): 57-63.
Roberts, Michele. "Write, She Said." The Progress of Romance: The Politics of Popular Fiction. Ed. Jean Radford. London: Routledge, x, 1986. 221-235.
Scott Alison, M. "Romance in the Stacks; Or, Popular Romance Fiction Imperiled." Scorned Literature: Essays on the History and Criticism of Popular Mass-Produced Fiction in America. Ed. Schurman,Lydia Cushman (ed.and introd.), Deidre (ed and introd ). Johnson, and Madeleine B. (foreword) Stern. Westport, CT: Greenwood, xviii, 2002. 213-224.
Selinger, Eric Murphy. "Rereading the Romance." Contemporary Literature 48.2 (2007): 307-24.
Smith Jennifer, Crusie. "The Romantic Suspense Mystery." Mystery and Suspense Writers: The Literature of Crime, Detection, and Espionage, I-II. Ed. Robin W. (ed and introd ). Winks and Maureen Corrigan. New York, NY: Scribner's, xiv, 1998. 1183-1197.
---. "This is Not Your Mother's Cinderella: The Romance Novel as Feminist Fairy Tale." Romantic Conventions. Ed. Anne K. (ed and introd ). Kaler and Rosemary E. (ed and introd ). Johnson-Kurek. Bowling Green, OH: Popular, 1999. 51-61.
Stowers, Eva. "City of Fantasy: Romance Novels in Las Vegas." Empowerment Versus Oppression: Twenty First Century Views of Popular Romance Novels. Ed. Sally (ed and introd ). Goade. Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars, ix, 2007. 198-205.
Tegan Mary, Beth. "Becoming both Poet and Poem: Feminists Repossess the Romance." Empowerment Versus Oppression: Twenty First Century Views of Popular Romance Novels. Ed. Sally (ed and introd ). Goade. Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars, ix, 2007. 231-263.
Therrien, Kathleen Mary. Trembling at Her Own Response: Resistance and Reconciliation in Mass-Market Romance Novels., 1998.
Thomas, Glen. "Romance: The Perfect Creative Industry? A Case Study of Harlequin-Mills and Boon Australia." Empowerment Versus Oppression: Twenty First Century Views of Popular Romance Novels. Ed. Sally (ed and introd ). Goade. Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars, ix, 2007. 20-29.
Tobin-McClain, Lee. "Paranormal Romance: Secrets of the Female Fantastic." Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 11, no. 3  (2000): 294-306.
Williams, Clover, and R. Freedman Jean. "Shakespeare's Step-Sisters: Romance Novels and the Community of Women." Folklore, Literature, and Cultural Theory: Collected Essays. Ed. Preston,Cathy Lynn (ed.and introd.). New York, NY: Garland, xix, 1995. 135-168.
Williams, Clover. "Keepers of the Flame: The Romance Novel and its Fans." Lore and Language 16, no. 1-2 (1998): 115-38.
Williams, Jeffrey J. "The Culture of Books: An Interview with Janice Radway." Minnesota Review: A Journal of Committed Writing 65-66 (2006): 133-48.
Young, Beth Rapp. "Accidental Authors, Random Readers, and the Art of Popular Romance." Paradoxa: Studies in World Literary Genres 3, no. 1-2 (1997): 29-45.
Monday, 17 March 2008
For a long time I lurked, and then was lured into commenting. And then my second break happened. In reference to a Romance Writers Association award, SBTB linked to Teach Me Tonight, a blog about scholarship on romance novels!!! Really, things just don't get better than that.
So, following a variety of links, these are some of the websites that I found helpful:
The RWA's Academic Research Grant Homepage, where they list the past recipients. I'm definitely looking these people up to see what else they've written.
Saturday, 15 March 2008
However, this last semester (Fall 2007) and this semester (Spring 2008) I took a series of courses that made me realize that I could do both loves at once.
So after trying and failing to incorporate my two interests in a variety of formats, I finally hit on creating an independent study where I investigated the popular Romance. So, as of next semester I will be researching romance novels in seriousness.
This blog will be my research journal- a way of recording my research and putting it down on "paper" so when I come to the final stage- a research paper- I will have access to all that information, along with my thoughts in opinions written down in a rough format. The thought is that I will be posting weekly over the semester (Fall 2008) recording my progress and analysis, so I keep my writing skills sharp, and so I get in the habit of thinking critically about something I read for enjoyment before now. I also plan to be getting a head start on the research over the summer, so I will be posting (less frequently) then.
But I could do all that in a normal journal, and that hits upon the second reason I feel it's important to record my thoughts and work in an open forum. It had never occurred to me that I could do academic research on Romance novels- especially trashy romance novels. Part of that is because, I believe, there just isn't enough openness about reading romance novels academically. I want my research to be available to others who might come later, and need a springboard to work off of.