Issues
ISSN: 2159-4473
Published in partnership with the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance

Issue 1.1

Review: A Vindication of Love: Reclaiming Romance for the Twenty-first Century, by Cristina Nehring

Nehring, Cristina. A Vindication of Love: Reclaiming Romance for the Twenty-first Century. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 2009. $24.99; $13.99 (paper)

Review: Historical Romance Fiction: Heterosexuality and Performativity, by Lisa Fletcher

Fletcher, Lisa. Historical Romance Fiction: Heterosexuality and Performativity. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2008. 186 pages. $99.95 print; $89.96 online.

Review: Northrop Frye’s Notebooks on Romance, by Northrop Frye

Frye, Northrop. Northrop Frye’s Notebooks on Romance. Ed. Michael Dolzani. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2004. Vol. 15 of Collected Works of Northrop Frye. Alvin A. Lee, gen. ed. 27 vols to date. 1996 - . 560 pp. $106.00

Review: Romance and Readership in Twentieth-Century France: Love Stories, by Diana Holmes

Holmes, Diana. Romance and Readership in Twentieth-Century France: Love Stories. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006. Oxford Studies in Modern European Culture. 161 pp. $99.00

Review: Reading Nora Roberts, by Mary Ellen Snodgrass

Snodgrass, Mary Ellen. Reading Nora Roberts. Santa Barbara: Greenwood Press, 2010. 155 pp. $35.00

Interview: Beverly Jenkins, by Rita B. Dandridge

The African American Historical Romance: An Interview with Beverly Jenkins

“There Were Three of Us in this Biography, So it Was a Bit Crowded: The Biographer as Suitor and the Rhetoric of Romance in Diana: Her True Story,” by Giselle Bastin

Abstract: This paper explores how some of the major tropes of the romance genre have informed the structuring of Diana, Princess of Wales’s real-life story in Diana: Her True Story (1992). I focus on how the biographer Andrew Morton places himself in the position of ‘royal champion’ in the narratives both within and surrounding this text, and how his role in the construction of this biography attracted responses of outrage from the British social and media establishment.

“Historicizing The Sheik: Comparisons of the British Novel and the American Film,” by Hsu-Ming Teo

Abstract: This article begins with a brief discussion of existing scholars’ work on The Sheik before analyzing the differences between the novel and the film. These arise from Britain’s experience of sexuality, violence, and the World War I; understandings of whiteness and imperialism in Britain and the United States; the different historical experiences of gender, race, and ethnicity in the two countries; and finally, the different traditions of popular Orientalist discourse—anchored to a “realist” mode of representing the geopolitical situation of actual colonies in the case of Britain, and arising from fairground and merchandising fantasies of “Arabian Nights” Orientalism in the case of the U.S.A.

“There Are Six Bodies in This Relationship: An Anthropological Approach to the Romance Genre” by Laura Vivanco and Kyra Kramer

Abstract: Following Nancy Scheper-Hughes and Margaret M. Lock, we suggest that each romance protagonist has three bodies: a physical body, a social body, and a political body. In applying this insight to the romance genre we focus on the socio-sexual aspects of the social body and the socio-political aspects of the political body, and draw on existing analyses of romance novels in order to explore some of the continuities and variations in the representations of the bodies of romance protagonists and the interactions between those bodies. The primary texts cited span a period of over 200 years and include classics such as Samuel Richardson’s Pamela (1740) and Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813) as well as a range of more recent category and single-title romances.

In what we term the “alchemical” model of romantic relationships, the heroine’s socio-sexual body (her Glittery HooHa) attracts, and ensures the monogamy of, the hero’s socio-sexual body (his Mighty Wang), allowing the heroine’s socio-political body (her Prism) to focus, and benefit from, the attributes of the hero’s socio-political body (his Phallus). This is not the only model of romantic relationships present in the genre and therefore a few of the alternative models are briefly examined. We conclude that the bodies of romance heroes and heroines are sites of reinforcement of, and resistance to, enculturated sexualities and gender ideologies.

“Getting a Good Man to Love: Popular Romance Fiction and the Problem of Patriarchy,” by Catherine Roach

Abstract: The story of romance is the most powerful narrative in Western art and culture, sharing roots with Christianity and functioning as a mythic story about the meaning and purpose of life, particularly in regards to the HEA ending of redemption and wholeness. Contemporary romance novels are popular because this religious nature of the romance narrative allows them to do deep work for the (mostly) women who read them, engaging readers in a reparation fantasy of healing in regards to male-female relations. Romance novels help women readers deal with a paradoxical relationship toward men within a culture still marked by patriarchy and threats of violence.

“A Little Extra Bite: Dis/Ability and Romance in Tanya Huff and Charlaine Harris’s Vampire Fiction,” by Kathleen Miller

Abstract: This essay examines Tanya Huff's Blood Price and Charlaine Harris's Dead Until Dark through the lenses of Disability and Feminist Studies to suggest that in these works disability functions as a reclamation of the female body--which has often been viewed as "always and already" deformed--even as it contributes to the reinvention of the vampire romance genre.

Editor’s Note: Issue 1.1