Friday, May 24, 2024

CFP (on Sarah J. Maas), and lots of new publications (emotions, vasectomies, comics, deposit libraries, aro-ace romance, dance history)

The Journal of Popular Romance Studies has put out a call for papers for a

Special Issue: Sarah J. Maas

Millions of adolescent and adult readers alike have been drawn to Sarah J. Maas’s YA fantasy-romance series for their representations of empowered, embattled young women, their immersive fantasy worlds, and especially their romance narratives. From the Throne of Glass  (2012-18) and A Court of Thorns and Roses (2015-21) books to Crescent City (2020-24), her current series-in-progress, Maas has become wildly popular for the complex romantic and sexual relationships she portrays. The Journal of Popular Romance Studies (JPRS) seeks articles for a special issue focused on Maas’s fiction. These articles may focus on any of Maas’s works and may take a variety of disciplinary approaches.

Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Intersections of romance and politics, including connections between sexual agency and political agency in Maas’s fiction
  • How Maas’s work engages with feminism and/or postfeminism
  • Portrayals of or discourses on assault, trauma, and/or PTSD in Maas’s fiction and romance as trauma narrative
  • Maas’s adaptation of fairy tales in her romance narratives
  • Representations of sex and sexuality in Maas’s work
  • Portrayals of gender in Maas’s work
  • Maas’s engagement with traditional romance-genre tropes
  • Renderings of adolescence and adult-youth power dynamics in romantic pairings and other relationships in Maas’s fiction
  • Maas’s portrayal of LGBTQ+ or queer romantic relationships
  • Class structures/dynamics and how they shape romance in Maas’s work

More details about this can be found here.

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Eirini Arvanitaki's Emotionality: Heterosexual Love and Emotional Development in Popular Romance was published by Routledge in May 2024. It

focuses on the projections of romantic love and its progression in a selection of popular romance novels and identifies an innovation within the genre’s formula and structure. Taking into account Giddens’s notion of ‘confluent’ love, this book argues that two forms of love exist within these texts: romantic and confluent love. The analysis of these love variants suggests that a continuum emerges which signifies the complexity but also the formation and progressive nature of the protagonists’ love relationships. This continuum is divided into three stages: the pre-personal, semi-personal and personal. The first phase connotes the introduction of the protagonists and describes the sexual attraction they experience for each other. The second phase refers to the initiation of the sexual interaction of the heroine and hero without any emotional involvement. The third and final phase begins when emotions such as jealousy, shame/guilt, anger, and self-sacrifice are awakened and acknowledged.

Cho, H., Adkins, D., da Silva Santos, D., Long, A.K. (2024). "Platform, Visuals, and Sound: Webtoon’s Immersive Romance Reading Engagement." In: Sserwanga, I., et al. Wisdom, Well-Being, Win-Win. iConference 2024. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 14597. Springer, Cham. [More details here.]

Deane, Katie (2024). Romance Self-Publishing and UK Legal Deposit. British Library Research Repository.

Lienhard, Alissa (2024). "“I’ll Call it Platonic Magic”: Queer Joy, Metafiction, and Aro-Ace Autofictional Selves in Alice Oseman’s Loveless." In Progress: A Graduate Journal of North American Studies 2.1:59-72.

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And finally, although this is not a publication about romance, Sonia Gollance, advertising her new book  It Could Lead to Dancing: Mixed-Sex Dancing and Jewish Modernity, has written a post about some of what you could expect to find if there were more historical romances written about Jewish protagonists. https://jwa.org/blog/scandalous-dance-scenes-romance-plots-and-jewish-literary-modernity

 

Friday, May 10, 2024

New Publications: Genre Norms, Publishing and Creators

Green, Steff (2024). "More schlongs, more cats." Otherhood: Essays on being childless, childfree and child-adjacent. Ed. Kathryn Van Beek, Alie Benge, Lil O'Brien. Aukland: Massey University Press. [On the near-ubiquity of babies in the HEA. Excerpt here.]
 
Griffiths, David (2023). Hearing Ghosts: Writing a Low Fantasy YA Gothic Fiction for young adult males. PhD in Creative Writing, Manchester Metropolitan University.


Parisot, Eric (2024). Jane Austen and Vampires: Love, Sex and Immortality in the New Millennium. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. [More details here, and excerpt here.]

Pierre-Robertson, Petronetta (2023). "Librarian as Creator." Caribbean Library Journal 7:1-16.

Sabo, Oana (2024). “Translingualism 2.0.” Contemporary French and Francophone Studies 28.2: 302-316. [Links, and selected quotes from the section on romance, here.]

 

Sunday, March 24, 2024

New Publications: Minotaurs and Pornography; HFNs and HEAs without marriage; Bridgerton

There are two new articles out from the Journal of Popular Romance Studies and since one of them is by me, I'm going to show immense bias and make this a very short list instead of waiting for more new publications, and I'm also going to list my article first.

Vivanco, Laura (2024). “Feeling Judged: Reflections on Pornography and Romance from a Minotaur Milking Farm.” Journal of Popular Romance Studies 13.

I don't have any other scholarship in progress, which is a somewhat strange feeling. I'm still updating the Romance Scholarship Database, though, and every so often I come across items from previous years which I've missed. If you know of something that isn't in the database and which should be, please do let me know!

Kies, Bridget (2024). “Saying ‘I Don’t’: Queer Romance in the Post–Marriage Equality World.” Journal of Popular Romance Studies 13.

Reese, Tracy H.Z. (2024). "Beyond the Pale: Genre, Race, and Intersectional Feminist Tensions in Bridgerton." Adapting Bridgerton: Essays on the Netflix Show in Context. Edited by Valerie Estelle Frankel. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. 9-21. [See via Google Books here.]

 

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

A new book (on Ethel M. Dell) and other new publications

Riding The Tosh Horse: Ethel M. Dell, A Written Life by David Tanner, published by Brown Dog Books:

The largely forgotten romantic novelist Ethel M. Dell (1881-1939) published alongside Rudyard Kipling and other literary giants but was vilified by George Orwell and P.G. Wodehouse among many. Ethel was a recluse, and actively avoided marketing herself as a personality in any way, but her formula was successful. She reached a very large audience publishing 98 titles and earning, at the height of her career, about £4M annually in today’s values. Her plots included a popular and heady mix of heterosexual, implicit same-sex relationships, sexual deviances, gratuitous violence, death and exoticised notions of Empire and masculinity. The veneer of Ethel’s plots was used to communicate her philosophies, her views on life and on her family.

Although being publishing alongside literary giants she did not receive establishment acceptance because of her style and no doubt envy of her substantial earnings. With an escapist and non-literary appeal to a lower middle class reader universe Ethel used a very successful multi-media marketing strategy with magazine serialisation, hard copy books, film, theatre and radio to reach this audience in the UK, the United States, Europe and the British colonies.

A forerunner to Mills and Boon’s success Ethel was very influential in setting the scene for mass market romantic fiction. Barbara Cartland stated that Ethel was her greatest influence.

Befeler, Paige (2022), LGBTQ(NA), Queer New Adult Fiction: The Emergence of a New Genre and Its Impact on the LGBTQIA+ Community. Thesis for Honors in Comparative Literary Studies, Wellesley College.
 
Kluger, Johanna (2024). "'On Thursdays We Shoot': Guns and Gender Binaries in Regency Romance Novels". Ladies in Arms: Women, Guns, and Feminisms in Contemporary Popular Culture. Ed. Teresa Hiergeist and Stefanie Schäfer, transcript verlag. 163-179. [The whole volume is available for free at the link given.]
 
Kluger, Johanna (2024). "Post-Trump masculinity in popular romance novels." Neohelicon. Online First. Open access.
 
Parnell, Claire (2023). "Algospeak and algo-design in platformed book publishing: Revolutionary creative tactics in digital paratext to circumvent content moderation." Paper presented at AoIR2023: The 24th Annual Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers. Philadelphia, PA, USA: AoIR
 

Ripoll Fonollar, Mariana (2023). Wording deeds: the figure of the suffragette in contemporary british fiction, Universitat de les Illes Balears. [This is a thesis which is not freely available. The abstract can be found here.]

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Past Conference Videos, Current Exhibition Feedback and New Publications


Videos are now freely available of some of the events from last year's Popular Romance Fiction: The Literature of Hope conference, held at Yale University.

https://romancefictionconference.yale.edu/gallery/popular-romance-fiction-literature-hope-conference-photos-and-video

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Andrea Martucci's Shelf Love podcast episode about this exhibition of John Ennis's art for romance covers is available here: https://shelflovepodcast.com/episodes/season-2/episode-153/covering-romance-john-enniss-art-thoughts-on-fandom

Smart Bitch Sarah's feedback (including lots of photos) on the exhibition can be found here: https://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/2024/02/covering-romance-romance-novel-cover-art-by-john-ennis/

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And here are the new publications:

Burge, Amy, Jodi McAlister and Charlotte Ireland (2024). '“Prince Charming with an Erection”: The Sensational Pleasures of the Bonkbuster.' Contemporary Women's Writing https://doi.org/10.1093/cww/vpae002 [This shows how bonkbusters are not romance.]

Johnson, Jacqueline E. (2024) "Lusting out loud: racialized aurality, podcast intimacy, and the uses of thirst". Communication, Culture and Critique. Online First. [Excerpt and details here. As I mentioned over on BlueSky, the focus on "the expansive middle" reminded me of Athena Bellas and Jodi McAlister 's (non-paywalled) recent article on audio erotica. So I wondered if such a focus might have something to do with an audio experience? And/or a difference between what readers/listeners seek from erotica vs. romance fiction? Jodi suggested it could be to do with the length of time available and that the episodes could be thought of as 'a little slice of life from what An Goris calls the "post-HEA"'.]
 
Markova, M. V. (2024). "Georgette Heyer, history, and historical fiction." Voprosy literatury 1:198-203. [This is written in Russian, and in any case I could not access the pdf from https://doi.org/10.31425/0042-8795-2024-1-198-203.]

Morden, Christina (2023). Innovations in Romance Novel Distribution at Harlequin, Sourcebooks, and Raincoast Books. Master of Publishing, Simon Fraser University. 
 
Pates, Giuliana (2023). "Reading Practices and Gender Politicization: How do Young Argentinean Women Read Romantic Novels." Revista Interdisciplinaria de Estudios de Género de El Colegio de México 9.1:1–26. [This is in Spanish.]

Spencer, L. (2024). '“Walk like a chameleon”: Reflecting on my teaching journey at a South African university'. Educare, (1), 192–215. https://doi.org/10.24834/educare.2024.1.1093 [Dr Lynda Gichanda Spencer, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Literary Studies in English at Rhodes University, discussed her teaching of African romance fiction as part of a panel at the IASPR 2020 conference. There are a couple of paragraphs about her 2019 third-year elective course titled Global Chick-Lit or Trans-Global Literature? Re-reading Contemporary Women’s Fiction in this online paper, discussing how she asked students to compare Harlequin Mills & Boon romances with romances by African publishers.]

Monday, February 05, 2024

The Romance Wikithon: Valentine's Day Edition


IASPR is holding a Valentine's Day (well, Wednesday 14 February for some time zones) Romance Wikithon, with training from Amy Burge! It's not just for romance scholars: readers have lots of expertise to share too! Here's the description that was shared with those of us on the IASPR Discord group:

Join us, this Valentines Day, to share our expertise as romance scholars [and readers] and increase the representation of romance on Wikipedia! Open to all. 

This 90-minute session will be practical and informal. It is aimed at those who have never edited Wikipedia before. Training and guidance will be given. Recommended for those who might be interested in using Wikipedia as part of teaching, for those who are interested in learning more about how to edit Wikipedia, and for anyone who would like to make positive change in the world! The session will be facilitated by Dr Amy Burge, who has run editathons at the University of Cardiff, and has used Wikipedia for assessment with students.

Here's the signup page.

The timezone information in the graphic says:

Wednesday 14th February        London         20:00-21:30
                                                  Chicago        14:00-15.30
Thursday 15th February           Melbourne    07:00-08:30 

[Edited to add: Here are the details on the IASPR website, which I've only just seen.]

Monday, January 22, 2024

Bad Romance Data, Monsters and New Publications

The data does NOT exist to support the statement that romance is a billion dollar industry. Quite frankly, the data does not exist to make any sweeping statements about the size of the popular romance genre market.

So says Andrea Martucci of the Shelf Love podcast, who's been taking a hard look at the "popular romance genre market data between 1972 and today" and presented her "research on 'Bad Romance Data' at the 2023 International Association for the Study of Popular Romance conference." You can read her analysis and conclusions here (and it's archived here).

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Also via Andrea (but this time not by her), comes a call for participants:

Whether you're solely into humans or a monster romance enthusiast, I'd love for you to take part in my survey. I'm a graduate student doing my thesis on whether or not monster attraction could be explained through evolutionary anthropology.

The survey will be available from January 9, 2024, to March 12, 20204, and it will take about 20 to 30 minutes to complete (although some people have finished it in as little as 12 minutes). It's completely anonymous and only requires that you be at least 18 years old to participate.

Andrea spotted it on Reddit but there's also a more formal announcement giving details of the research on the Research Study Consent Form to be found at the website of California State University, Fullerton.

The research is being "carried out by Phoebe Santillan, under the guidance of Dr. Elizabeth Pillsworth" and

The purpose of this research study is to gather information on people who are attracted to fictional monsters. You are being asked to participate in this study because any and all data is valuable at this stage within the research process. Attraction to fictional monsters is not required to participate in this study.

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And here's a short list of new publications:

Allen, Amanda K. (2024) "Ruling the Court: Reflections on Midcentury Junior Novel Romances." Journal of Popular Romance Studies 13.

Robinson, Rachel (2023). Reading and writing dogs in popular romance fiction, PhD, University of Tasmania. [Only the abstract is currently available.]
 
Warnaar, Karin (2023). "Dresses and Drapery: The Material Essie Summers." Scope: Contemporary Research Topics art & design 25:91-96. [Full pdf available for download at the link provided and, as a bonus, here's a link to a 2018 Otago Daily Times article about Essie Summers' life and work which Warnaar cites.]

Ya’u, Mohammed Sani, Sabariah Md Rashid, Afida Mohamad Ali and Hardev Kaur Jujar Singh (2023). "Semantic Extensions of Hausa Visual and Auditory Perception Verbs gani and ji in Romance Fiction." Pertanika Journal of Social Science and Humanities 31.4:1441-1464.

Thursday, January 04, 2024

New Publications and an Exhibition: Gender and Agression, Publishing and More

Lots of open access articles!

Golubov, Nattie (2023). "Female Warriors, Social Injustice and the Transformational Force of Anger in Jaye Wells' Sabina Kane Series." Esferas Literarias 6: 21-37.

Larson, Christine, and Ashley Carter (2023). "Love is love: Reverse isomorphism and the rise of LGBTQ+ romance publishing." New Media & Society.

Markasović, Valentina (2023). "Challenging Gender Stereotypes in Holly Black’s The Folk of the Air Trilogy." Breaking Stereotypes in American Popular Culture: Proceedings of the 10th Annual Conference of the Croatian Association for American Studies: 41-56. 

Miclea, Adelina (2023). "Colleen Hoover’s Formulas for Best-Sellers as Seen in Reminders of Him and It Ends with Us." Romanian Journal of English Studies 20.1:72-79.

Mulvey, Alexandra Hazel (2023). Gender and Sex Stereotypes in Sports Romance Fiction. Masters thesis, Macquarie University. [The link is to a pdf.]

Pierini, Francesca (2023). "Towards a Regime of Authenticity: Reading A Room with a View through the Lens of Contemporary Romance Scholarship." LEA - Lingue E Letterature D'Oriente E D'Occidente 12: 217-228.

And quite a bit less accessible, but no doubt still of interest to readers of this blog:

"Covering Romance", an exhibition and sale of romance novel cover art by John Ennis, will be taking place in Yardley, Pennsylvania, at the AOY Art Center Gallery from February 10th (Opening Reception), with viewing open to the public on 11, 16, 17, 18 February (12-5pm). More details about the party for the opening can be found here: https://www.aoyarts.org/event-5484048

 

Thursday, December 21, 2023

New Publications: Race, Rape, and Romance in Maltese Libraries

Maybe I've simplified things a little in the title of the post due to the allure of alliteration. But there's definitely a lot in these recent publications about race/ethnicity and racism.

As always, if there's a hyperlink in the title, that means it's freely accessible online.

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Abdullah-Poulos, Layla (2023) "Sisters, Skanks, and Jezebels: American Muslim Fiction and the Other Woman." The Bloomsbury Handbook of Muslims and Popular Culture. Ed. Hussein Rashid and Kristian Petersen. London: Bloomsbury. 205-214. [Excerpt here.]

Derbyshire, Valerie Grace (2023). “ ‘Do you think I haven’t paid for what I did?’: Rape in the Mills & Boon Romantic Novels of Penny Jordan.” Journal of Popular Romance Studies 12. 

Garcia, Christina (2023). The Race of Publishing: The Troubling Whiteness in Publishing and the Forces Pushing Back. Master of Arts in English, Texas Christian University.

Henderson, Aneeka Ayanna (2024). "Popular Romance and Literary Undergrounds." The Cambridge Companion to Contemporary African American Literature. Ed. Yogita Goyal. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press. 164-179. [Excerpt]

Hutter, Verena (2023). "Fire, Savannah, and Passion: The New Africa Novel and the Construction of White Femininity." Gender and German Colonialism: Intimacies, Accountabilities, Intersections. Ed. Chunjie Zhang and Elisabeth Krimmer. New York: Routledge. [See https://rsdb.vivanco.me.uk/bibliography/fire-savannah-and-passion-new-africa-novel-and-construction-white-femininity for more details.]

Kamblé, Jayashree (2023). “Romancing the University: BIPOC Scholars in Romance Novels in the 1980s and Now.” Esferas Literarias 6: 39-55.

Phumithammarat, Nanphatchaon (2023). The Cultural politics of Chinese -Thai Identities in Ethnic Romance Novels by Female Authors. PhD thesis, Silpakorn University.

Posti, Piia K. (2024). “‘I Get to Exist as a Black Person in the World’: Bridgerton as Speculative Romance and Alternate History on Screen.History and Speculative Fiction. Ed. John L. Hennessey. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. [The whole book is available for free since it's open access.]

Limond, Verity. (2023) "‘The door is open to everyone’: The public libraries of Gozo." Omertaa, Journal for applied anthropology. 745-754.

Monday, November 06, 2023

Call for Papers: Australia 2024

From 16-18 August 2024 the Romance Writers of Australia will be holding their conference at Stamford Grand, Glenelg and, in collaboration with Flinders University, they're looking for romance scholars to join them on 16 August:

The Degrees of Love Romance Research Hub at Flinders University, with the support of Assemblage Centre for Creative Arts, is thrilled to host an academic symposium on popular romance studies as part of RWAus’ 2024 conference. Featuring the latest research from romance academics, and open to anyone with an enquiring mind who wishes to attend, this symposium will showcase the latest romance scholarship. The symposium will consider the role of tropes in all sub-genres of romance, focusing on the power of the romance genre and its intersections with feminism, gender, sexuality, generic forms and formulas, ideologies and more. When experts in the field of popular romance studies bring their research into the same room, new ideas ignite. This will be a day of fun, excitement, learning and sharing - throwing an intellectual spotlight on the role of tropes in the most read genre in the world. 

We invite proposals for 20-minute papers, or 90-minute panels or roundtables, on romance tropes and the intersections of tropes with subgenres, gender, sexuality, race, ideologies, love and desire, the body, power and more.

The deadline for proposals is 8 March 2024 and more details can be found here.

Thursday, November 02, 2023

Controversial "updated" editions of romance (and also details of some new publications)

K. J. Charles (on BlueSky, which I don't think I can link to) posted a link to a New York Times article about

new editions of Heyer with the antisemitism removed. I'm not honestly sure how I feel about that. She *was* antisemitic and racist, and if it is going to be done, there should absolutely be an afterword saying it was done.

I feel the same. The author of the New York Times article, the appropriately named Alexandra Alter, states that:

When Heyer’s American publisher, Sourcebooks, decided to release new editions of her romances this year, they had to strike a precarious balance. Leaving the original scene could repel some readers. But changing it risked provoking a backlash from fans and scholars who see posthumous revisions as a form of literary reputation laundering, or censorship.

After a lengthy back and forth with the Heyer estate, Sourcebooks made small but significant changes to “The Grand Sophy.” In the new version, the moneylender’s name has been changed to Grimpstone. References to his Jewish identity and appearance have been deleted, along with other negative generalizations about Jews.

Acknowledgment of the changes appears on the copyright page, which says “this edition has been edited from the original with permission of the Georgette Heyer Estate.”

Originally, Sourcebooks had brought in Mary Bly/Eloisa James to write introductions to all the new editions but "After the estate declined to include Bly’s explanation of the changes in an afterword, she quit the project."

The acknowledgment which will be included is, presumably, in small print and rather easy to miss, which is what makes this solution problematic to me from an academic perspective (which as our subtitle states, is what Teach Me Tonight's all about). While the publication of a text which includes such changes may in itself be of interest to future scholars of Heyer for what it implies about Heyer's ongoing status in the genre and the attitude of the Heyer estate, and may also be of wider interest because of what it might tell us about the economic calculations made by this publisher, and their assessments of the preferences/attitudes of twenty-first century readers, none of these questions will arise in the minds of scholars who use this edition of the text while unaware that it has been changed. And, obviously, a scholar's close reading of the text, and their assessment of Heyer and her oeuvre, will undoubtedly be flawed if they base their analysis on this text without being aware of its altered status.

In a comment attached to the New York Times article a reader called "emmel" observed that:

There was a major incident this past summer when romance readers discovered that Lisa Kleypas updated about 50% of her beloved Secrets of a Summer Night to meet "today's" standards versus those of 2004, when the book was published. Readers were horrified that major elements had been changed (which many perceived to be detrimental to understanding the hero's actions) with no notification in the 2021 edition. (This was discovered in a group read when the readers couldn't understand one another's reactions until they deduced the editions had fundamental differences.) So notifications and explanations are vital; you can't just say it's been "updated."

I found some discussion about that at https://www.reddit.com/r/RomanceBooks/comments/rme2tc/secrets_of_a_summer_night_completely_changed/ and another, Reddit discussion mentioning another Kleypas novel which has been significantly altered: https://www.reddit.com/r/RomanceBooks/comments/ob98yp/revised_lisa_kleypas/ . I'm not sure if there was even a note made on the copyright pages of the texts themselves that changes had been made. Maybe someone more knowledgeable can let me know? Do you know of any other romances which have been reprinted in an updated, significantly altered, version that don't make it clear what's been done?

By the way, if any regular readers of Teach Me Tonight would like an invite code to BlueSky, I have a couple available. Let me know via the contact form on my website: https://www.vivanco.me.uk/contact/contact !

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On to new, scholarly, publications:

 

Garciano, Shylyn G., Cuevas, Gloria Con-ui, Geraldizo-Pabriga, Maria Gemma Macabodbod, Saira Jay J. Yu, Jaciah Mae B. Pinote, Ma. Jezan A. (2023). "Romance-Themed Novels: Influenced on Relationship Satisfaction." International Journal of Literature Studies 3.3:35-48. https://doi.org/10.32996/ijts.2023.3.3.5 

Garton, Stephen (2023). "Return Fantasies: Martial Masculinity, Misogyny and Homosocial Bonding in the Aftermath of Second World War." Gender & History ONLINE FIRST. Open access (and it complements an earlier article which is behind a paywall).

Olkusz, Ksenia (2021). "Stripping The Vampire. Erotic Imaginations and Sexual Fantasies In Paranormal Romances (A Study Of Selected Examples)." Manifestations of Male Image in the World's Cultures. Ed. Renata Iwicka, Kraków: Jagiellonian University Press. 137-156. [Details can be found here. Although it was published in 2021, the electronic version from Cambridge University Press only became available in October 2023. An open access version written in Polish was published in 2015 and details about that can be found here.]

van Hattum, Fatima Y. (2023). "Orientalist Public Pedagogy: Visual Representation of Muslims in Pop Culture and Desert Romance Novels." Thesis from the University of New Mexico. It's embargoed until 2025. https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/educ_llss_etds/148 

Friday, October 20, 2023

Volunteering, Cover Art, Fan Fiction and Canada

The Journal of Popular Romance Studies is looking for a volunteer to become the next editor of the "Notes and Queries" section of the journal. More details here: https://www.jprstudies.org/journal-of-popular-romance-studies-notes-and-queries-editor/

Alice Liang takes a look at trends in cover design over the past few decades: https://pudding.cool/2023/10/romance-covers/

Audrey Lavallée is starting to publish a series of blog posts about the history of Canadian romance publishing. There's an introduction to the series here and the first post is about Julia Catherine Beckwith's St. Ursula’s Convent, or the Nun of Canada (1824). The Internet Archive has a copy available which dates from 1824 although the following statement from Jennifer Blair in her “Reading for Information in St. Ursula’s Convent, or The Nun of Canada” in The Yearbook of English Studies, vol. 46, 2016, pp. 201–18 may put you off reading it (or encourage you to see if it really is as bad as Blair claims):

Julia Catherine Beckwith Hart’s St. Ursula’s Convent, or the Nun of Canada. Containing Scenes from Real Life (1824) secured its place in the canon of English Canadian novels retroactively, not because, as with most texts, its aesthetic or social importance could be appreciated only long after publication, but for the unique reason that it is the progenitor of that canon. While Frances Brooke’s The History of Emily Montague (1769) is often cited as an earlier Canadian novel, and while John Richardson has been called the ‘first real Canadian novelist’ for his later Wacousta (1832), St. Ursula’s Convent is the first English novel to be written by an author born in the region that would become Canada. Despite its claim to fame, the book has since gained notoriety for its discomfiting lack of quality. Suffice it to say that while St. Ursula’s might be forever celebrated as the ‘first Canadian novel’, Hart’s admittedly ‘“little work”’ now tends to be counted among Canada’s very worst novels of all time. (201)

And, still on a Canadian theme, here's a new thesis which is freely available:

Vermeer, Lina (2023). The Affective Power of Intimacy: A Case Study of a Men’s Hockey Real Person Fan Fiction’s Literary and Social Contexts. Master of Arts, Trent University.