Thursday, August 01, 2019

RITA Firsts: the RWA Comments

The RWA has issued a statement about the 2019 RITA winners:
We wanted to recognize the historic evening and RWA’s first two black author winners – M. Malone and Kennedy Ryan – and first South Asian author winner, Nisha Sharma. Their wins were far too long in coming. That delay only highlights the impressive nature of what they accomplished.

This was the first year in which the final round judging panel for each category included at least one judge from outside RWA. We also required that the final round judging panels be more diverse and reflective of our membership. It is our belief that these changes resulted in a fairer and more inclusive contest final, allowing members who might have been shut out of winning in the past to shine.

There will be more changes coming to the RITA Award in the 2019-2020 award season. 

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Kennedy Ryan and M. Malone: First African-American RITA Winners

At last the RWA have an African-American winner of a RITA and, Fresh Fiction reports, the news was received with a standing ovation.

As Dee Carney pointed out, it's been a long wait.

Here's a picture of Kennedy Ryan accepting the award (for Best Contemporary Romance: Long), courtesy of Farrah Rochon:

Not much later, I'm happy to be updating this post because it was announced that M. Malone had also won a RITA (for Best Romance Novella):

And reactions from the winners themselves:

That's Kennedy Ryan writing:
Wow. What is this life, man??? I’m still reeling from this night. I was so humbled and honored to be a part of history. No black woman has won in the 37-year history of the RITA Awards. Please do not believe I am the first one to deserve it. There are so many whose stories were unsung and overlooked. I’m hoping today ushers in a new season of inclusion. Thank you to my tribe of women who lift me when I’m down and encourage me daily. Somebody pinch me!!!
And from Minx Malone:

I couldn’t say all this in my speech but I really want to put a message out there for all the secret dreamers.
Some people are comfortable dreaming out loud and proudly demanding the universe give them their due. That wasn’t me.
Some people thrive in the limelight and feel completely certain they’ll be a star one day. That wasn’t me either.
But I truly believe that speaking your dreams into existence works. In 2006 I attended RWA’s 25th anniversary conference in Atlanta. I was 25 years old. They gave out these cute little chocolate RITAs and I held it up and said “I’m going to have one of these one day.” At the time I didn’t know that no black woman had ever won. I didn’t know all the setbacks, tears and frustrations that would come. I just took a moment to dream out loud, despite how silly I felt holding that little chocolate up to the camera.
Now it is 2019 and I’m attending RWA’s 38th conference. I am 38 years old. And I got to stand on stage last night and make history with the amazing @kennedyryan1 as the first black women to ever win.
So go out there and dream loud and proud. Even if it makes you feel silly. Apparently the universe listens sometimes.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Jennifer Prokop's Thoughts on the RITAs

I know the RWA is proposing changes to how the RITAs are judged (although doubts have been expressed about how effective they'll be), but in the meantime, I thought these comments on this year's finalists by Jennifer Prokop are interesting:

#1: Romance has a white privilege problem. An overwhelming number of the white authors in the finals write books set in homogenized, white worlds. Regardless of whether the characters are human beings or paranormal creatures, whether they are in contemporary or historical settings, and whether they live in small towns or major cities, these are texts largely populated with white, cis-gendered heterosexual characters. In these books, white, European standards of beauty are pervasive; cops and soldiers are always portrayed as heroic warriors for justice; brown and black people in foreign countries are at best extras and at worst cannon fodder for white characters on epic adventures.

#2: Romance talks about money but not class. At the end of a satisfying romance, readers must believe that the love interests are happy and secure, and money equals security. That doesn’t make it any less remarkable that there are few middle- or lower-class characters among the nominees; that male characters are always far wealthier than the women they fall in love with; and that no white billionaire in a romance would ever vote for Donald Trump despite much electoral evidence to the contrary.

#3: Only a third of RITA finalists are truly excellent romances. The list cleaves itself neatly into thirds: excellent romances I’d recommend to anyone, competent books that I might recommend to a reader looking for something specific, and profoundly problematic books that I wouldn’t recommend to anyone. Sure, I’m just one reader, but I am a reader with a fierce, loyal love for the genre. Something is very wrong when a reader like me finds a solid third of the books to be unreadable— be it the writing style, characterizations, or themes. Many of the year’s best-regarded books are not finalists—either because authors chose not to enter them or because they were eliminated in the preliminary round. It's impossible to know why innovative, interesting books aren’t in the finals, but the presence of poorly written and sometimes deeply offensive books is a problem RWA must solve.

The whole of this article, titled "How Do You Solve a Problem Like the RITAs?" is at Kirkus.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Call for Blog Posts: Nursing Clio Looking for Analysis of Historical Romances

Call for Bloggers

Romancing Clio

In historical romance novels, swashbuckling heroes meet widowed gentlewomen, young women send their dashing suitors off to fight in the Civil War, and there are more British dukes that have ever existed in the British peerage.

For the “Romancing Clio” series, Nursing Clio invites pitches for essays of 500–1200 words that dive into the historical world of individual romance novels. We are looking for essays that take historical romances seriously, but also treat them in good faith and maybe even with a little humor. We want experts on the Civil War to tell us why we should be reading Alyssa Cole; scholars of British suffrage and women scientists to read Courtney Milan; and we expect (of course) someone will want to write about Outlander. These are just a few examples, but we welcome pitches about books from diverse time periods (ancient Rome, anyone?) and especially desire essays on non-US/UK settings.

Please send your pitch — a few sentences on your topic — and a CV to by August 30, 2019. Essays will be due in October and November, to be published over the winter.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Ohio State University Press Texts - free pdfs

I was really happy to discover that Ohio State University Press make many of their texts free five years after publication. This includes some interesting work on popular romance fiction.

Kapila, Shuchi, 2010. 
Educating Seeta: The Anglo-Indian Family Romance and the Poetics of Indirect Rule (Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State UP). ["Educating Seeta makes the case that representations of [...] inter-racial relationships in the tropes of domestic fiction create a fantasy of liberal colonial rule in nineteenth-century British India. British colonials in India were preoccupied with appearing as a benevolent, civilizing power to their British and colonial subjects" and although we see "The death of the Indian woman in many of these romances, signaling that interracial love is not socially viable [...] There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, for instance in the Orientalist idealization of the Indian woman in Maud Diver’s Lilamani, in which interracial marriage between Neville Sinclair and Lilamani heralds a new understanding between cultures with the ultimate goal of “civilizing” other cultures into European ways of life." See in particular pages 54-77.]
Lutz, Deborah, 2006. 
The Dangerous Lover; Gothic Villains, Byronism, and the Nineteenth-Century Seduction Narrative. (Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press). [Includes a chapter on the presence of the "dangerous lover" in the contemporary historical romance.]
Sanders, Lise Shapiro, 2006. 
Consuming Fantasies: Labor, Leisure, and the London Shopgirl, 1880-1920. Columbus: Ohio State University Press. [See Chapters 3 and 4 on "The Failures of the Romance: Boredom and the Production of Consuming Desires" and "Imagining Alternatives to the Romance: Absorption and Distraction as Modes of Reading."]
Tatlock, Lynne, 2012. 
German Writing, American Reading: Women and the Import of Fiction, 1866-1917 (Columbus: Ohio State UP). ["Chapter 4 examines German novels as American reading from the perspective of the happy ending, an international signature of romance novels and of nearly all of the German novels by women in my dataset. The chapter uncovers and analyzes variations in plotting ritual death and recovery to a state of freedom that characterize these German novels and that appealed to American readers by offering them the vicarious experience of a multiplicity of female subjectivities and female-determined male subjectivities while cautiously expanding the boundaries of home in a place called Germany."]
Also of possible interest:

Zunshine, Lisa. Why We Read Fiction: Theory of Mind and the Novel (2006).

Thursday, July 11, 2019

New to the Romance Wiki Bibliography: Romance Readers from 1880 to the present, Race, Sex and more

Driscoll, Beth, 2019. 
'Book Blogs as Tastemakers', Participations 16.1: 280-305. [Looks at romance fiction blogs Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (SBTB), Natasha is a Book Junkie (NIABJ), and Joyfully Jay.]
Farooqui, Javaria and Rabia Ashraf, 2019. 
Reconnaissance of “Difference” in Cognitive Maps: Authenticating Happily Ever After in Julia Quinn’s To Sir Philip with Love’, Khazar Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences 22.2: 71-82.
Gardner, Dora Abigail, 2019. 
'Defending the Bodice Ripper', MA thesis, Eastern Kentucky University. Excerpt
Gruner, Elisabeth Rose, 2019. 
Constructing the Adolescent Reader in Contemporary Young Adult Fiction. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Abstract [See in particular Chapter 3, "Misreading the Classics: Gender, Genre, and Agency in YA Romance", pp. 51-84.]
Kerr, Ashley Elizabeth, 2019. 
“Indigenous Lovers and Villainous Scientists: Rewriting Nineteenth-Century Ideas of Race in Argentine Romance Novels”, Chasqui 48.1: 293-310. Excerpt. [This is about three novels (written in 2005 and 2010) by Argentinian authors and set in the nineteenth century.]
Mazloomian, Maryam, and Nahid Mohammadi. 2018. 
“Discursive Vulnerability and Identity Development: A Triangular Model of Bio-Forces in Cultural Ecological Analysis of American Romance Fiction.” Forum for World Literature Studies, vol. 10, no. 3, Sept. 2018, pp. 413–432.
Moore, Laura M, 2019. 
"Sexual Agency, Safe Sex, and Consent Negotiations in Erotic Romance Novels." European Journal of Social Sciences 2.2: 92-96.
Philips, Deborah. Forthcoming. 
"Fifty Shades of Romance." International Journal of Cultural Studies. Manuscript version
Philips, Deborah. Forthcoming. 
"In defence of reading trash: feminists reading the romance." European Journal of Cultural Studies. Manuscript version
Reed, Eleanor, 2018.
"Domestic Culture in Woman's Weekly, 1918-1958", Doctoral thesis, Department of English and Creative Writing, University of Roehampton. ["This thesis [...] explores the domestic culture produced by the magazine between the end of the First World War in November 1918,and 1958." The "literary methodology for surveying periodical form [...] is based on romance, the genre to which the vast majority of Woman’s Weekly fiction printed during the period belongs" (2).]
Sanders, Lise Shapiro, 2006. 
Consuming Fantasies: Labor, Leisure, and the London Shopgirl, 1880-1920. Columbus: Ohio State University Press. [See Chapters 3 and 4 on "The Failures of the Romance: Boredom and the Production of Consuming Desires" and "Imagining Alternatives to the Romance: Absorption and Distraction as Modes of Reading."]
Teo, Hsu-Ming, 2018. 
"The contemporary Anglophone romance genre." Oxford research encyclopedia of literature. Ed. Paula Rabinowitz. Oxford, UK : Oxford University Press. 25 pages. Summary
Trower, Shelley, Amy Tooth Murphy and Graham Smith, 2019. 
“Me mum likes a book, me dad’s a newspaper man”: Reading, gender and domestic life in “100 Families”’, Participations 16.1: 554-581.

Also new, but since it's an undergraduate publication I placed it in the section for online essays:

Reitemeier, Rebecca. 
"Romance Novels and Higher Education." Inter-Text: An Undergraduate Journal for Social Sciences and Humanities 2.2 (2019).

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Today at PopCAANZ: Vampires and Listening

Today there were the following talks given at PopCAANZ:

  • No Longer in the Same Vein: the changing nature of vampires in literature and romance: Kate Carruthers
  • Love and Listening: the erotics of talk in the popular romance novel: Jodi McAlister
Dr Naja Later has tweeted about the session and I reproduce her tweets below:

Kate Carruthers’ 'No Longer in the Same Vein: the changing nature of vampires in literature and romance':

Carruthers describes it as ‘quite a racy genre from the start’. Vampires are all about sex, but they’re really queer, too. Vampires make vampires through transmogrification and biting, Carruthers notes, a potentially queer trope.

Science and medicine are becoming important elements in vampire narratives. Carruthers identifies a novel emergence of vampires being created by normative birth. Vampire stories like this have an undercurrent of eugenics and ‘improving the breed’. Vampire breeding gets REALLY sticky, as heteronormativity and white supremacy become clear subtexts.

Carruthers takes a close look at the Nazi concept of ‘blood and soil’ and US white supremacist policy to contextualise how reproducing vampires problematise ‘hybridising’.

Jodi McAlister's 'Love and Listening: the erotics of talk in the popular romance novel':

In ‘Faking It,’ describes how the lead characters share truths as part of their growing intimacy and eroticism. Talk becomes a thrilling part of foreplay. We go back to Jane Eyre as an example of talk as eroticism, particularly talk as a process of equality. A core argument for is how, in the romance narrative, the hero must come around to the heroine’s way of loving. This also happens in the process of listening.

Outlander example: Jamie believes Clare and declares ‘there is truth between us,’ describes this as an eruption, the barriers dissolving between them. Listening, trust, and respect means that intimacy can build on their passion.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

CFP: IASPR conference in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 2020

The Eighth International Conference on Popular Romance Studies

Diversity, Inclusion, Innovation

University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria  Canary Islands | June 17-19, 2020

Proposal Deadline: October 20, 2019

Whose loves matter in popular romance culture? Who is represented as capable of love, or worthy of it? How do popular romance media—books, films, TV, web series, popular music, comics, etc.—promote and/or resist (neo) imperialism, (neo) colonialism, white supremacy, ethno-nationalism, ableism, and compulsory heterosexuality? How do innovations in publishing and media creation and/or distribution help to diversify popular romance, making it more inclusive, and what innovations are needed in popular romance studies to bring this diversity—or its continuing absence—into our critical discourse?

Celebrating the start of its second decade, the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance calls for papers and posters on the popular culture of romantic love, now and in the past, from anywhere in the world.

Popular Romance Studies is an interdisciplinary field including scholars from literary studies; film, television, and media studies; communication and the social sciences; critical race, feminist, and queer studies; disability studies; audience & fan studies, etc. All theoretical and empirical approaches are welcome, including talks, panels, and workshops on professional development, international collaboration, and pedagogy. Content creators, writers, and professionals from various romance industries are invited to submit proposals as well.

We are open to proposals on any relevant text or topic. This year we are particularly interested in papers, posters, panels, and workshops focused on issues related to diversity, inclusion, and innovation. Possible topics might include:
  • Social justice themes and efforts at broadening popular romance media, including issues related to race, sexuality, gender, class, disability, age, religion, etc.
  • Love and romance in the context of mass migration and displacement.
  • Popular romance in colonial and post-colonial contexts.
  • Romance beyond the Anglosphere: traditions, texts, translations (literal and metaphorical).
  • Changes in romance genres and innovations in popular romance creation, marketing, and sales.
  • Resistance to change in popular romance.
  • Popular romance media communities and controversies.
  • Panels on individual authors/creators and individual texts (books, series, films, shows, etc.)

Submit abstracts of 250-350 words (plus bibliography of 3-5 items, if appropriate) to by October 20, 2019. Please specify whether you are proposing a paper, workshop, or poster. Panel submissions (3-4 related papers) are welcome.

Thanks to the generosity of Kathleen Gilles Seidel, a limited number of Seidel Travel Support grants will be awarded to non-tenured presenters, including graduate students and junior scholars. Information about travel support applications will be sent out with acceptance notifications.

[Source ]

Saturday, June 15, 2019

CFP: Symposium on The Sheik at Birmingham University

100 Years of The Sheik: A Public Research Symposium

12 & 13 September 2019, University of Birmingham, UK

This free-to-attend symposium, open to students, researchers, and members of the public, will mark the centenary of the original publication of The Sheik with a range of panels, workshops, a film screening, and a roundtable on the following broad topics:

  • Critical responses to Hull's novel, its sequels or film adaptation;
  • The legacy of The Sheik for twentieth- and twenty-first-century popular culture;
  • Approaches to (and reflections of) learning and teaching with The Sheik;
  • Parodies, imitations and the desert romance genre;
  • Twentieth and twenty-first-century sheikh-themed romances;
  • Diversity in romance publishing.

Since its publication in 1919, E. M. Hull's The Sheik has been a sensation, shocking and fascinating readers alike. Owing much to the literary traditions of Romantic Orientalism and golden-age women's travel writing, as well as to literary modernism and the crisis of masculinity in British culture in the aftermath of World War One, it is a novel that articulates the tensions and desires of its time. Contemporary critics regarded it as salacious and degenerate, yet its cultural legacy in Britain and North America has been significant and enduring. One hundred years on and The Sheik is considered "the ur-romance novel of the twentieth century" (Regis, 2003, p. 115), while its treatment of gender, sexuality, and race continues to trouble and provoke debate.

The symposium will showcase research conducted by contributors to a special issue of the Journal of Popular Romance Studies on The Sheik due to be published in Autumn 2019. We are also seeking proposals for additional research papers, lightning talks, poster presentations, and roundtable participants. We would particularly welcome proposals from current and recent students.

If you are interested in participating in the symposium, please send a short title and 200-word abstract to Dr Amy Burge by 12 July 2019. Please also direct any queries to Amy:

Provisional symposium schedule:

Thurs 12 Sept
Late morning - Grad Seminar
Afternoon/ evening - Screening of The Sheik (1921) + panel discussion

Fri 13 Sept
10-11:30 - Academic panel
12-1pm - Author panel
1-2pm - Lunch
2-3:30pm - Learning & Teaching panel
4-5pm - Roundtable

Details transcribed from here.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Call for Papers: Researching the Romance Conference at BGSU, Ohio

Researching the Romance: Romance Across Boundaries
Bowling Green State University, Ohio
April 24-25, 2020

More about the Conference
Romance fiction is shaped by boundaries and rules- the expectations of tropes and subgenres, the centrality of the love story, the requirement of the happy ending. Authors and readers rely on the boundaries of romance to help them write and read, yet also sometimes revel in their subversion. Academics use those same boundaries to form their avenues of inquiry into this vast genre. Taken together, the boundary lines provide endless points of discussion and controversy for those who produce and consume romance. This conference will provide a venue for all of those interested in romance fiction- authors, academics, and readers- to come together and discuss their interactions with the genre’s boundaries.

Call for presentations:
We are seeking presentations of approximately 15-20 minutes in length. The scope of the conference is deliberately broad in order to encourage presenters to be creative and take interdisciplinary approaches. Individual and panel presentations will be considered. Some examples of potential topics include but are not limited to:
  • Romance tropes and how are they defined, enforced, and subverted
  • In-depth analysis of particular authors’ work
  • The history and growth of subgenres within popular romance fiction
  • The history of the Happily Ever After
  • Predictability and freedom within category romance
  • Authors’ approaches to research on time periods, subgenres, etc
  • How authors, readers and academics can occupy multiple identities within popular romance fiction
  • Romance novel covers across the decades and subgenres
  • Popular romance fiction around the world- how national borders influence the genre
  • How the traditional boundaries of romance impact self-publishing
Presentation proposals should consist of an abstract of no more than 250 words. The deadline for submissions is November 1, 2019.

More details here.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

New to the Wiki: Publishing, Brockmann and More

I've added a new page to the blog: it's a Race and Romance Bibliography.

In addition, there are some new items which have been added to the Romance Wiki bibliography.

Billekens, F.G.W., 2019. 
Never Mind Me When There's You: The Submission Of The Heroine In YA Supernatural Romance Fiction, Bachelor's Thesis, Utrecht University. Abstract and link to pdf
Brouillette, Sarah, 2019. 
"Romance Work." Theory & Event 22.2, pp. 451-464. Abstract

Haefner, Margaret J., 2009. 
"Challenging the -isms: Gender and Race in Brockmann's Troubleshooters, Inc. Romance Novels", Journal of Media Sociology 1.3/4: 182-201.
McAlister, Jodi, 2018. 
'The literary text as historical artifact: The colonial couple in Australian romantic fiction by women, 1838-1860', Lilith: A Feminist History Journal, No. 24: 38-51. Abstract
Priest, Hannah. 2018. 
“Sparkly Vampires and Shimmering Aliens: The Paranormal Romance of Stephenie Meyer.” Twenty-First-Century Popular Fiction, edited by Bernice M. Murphy and Stephen Matterson, Edinburgh University Press, 2018, pp. 182–192.
Sagun, Karryl Kim Abella, 2019. 
Book Mavens of Manila : an interpretative phenomenological analysis of contemporary niche publishers in the Philippines. Doctoral thesis,Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. [I include this because it incorporates material from "three Wattpad self-publishers based in the Philippines: Mina V. Esguerra, Noreen Capili, and Kimberly Villanueva. All three agreed to be quoted verbatim, and to be referred to by name. They have all published both on electronic platforms (particularly Wattpad) and on print. They also share the same genre for their works: romance" (123).]
Taylor, Jessica Anne. 2013. 
“Write the Book of Your Heart: Career, Passion and Publishing in the Romance Writing Community,” Ph.D. Thesis, University of Toronto. Abstract and link to pdf

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Happily Ever After: A Folklorist's Perspective

The recent PCA/ACA conference led to discussions about the happy ending in romance and Elizabeth Lane, in particular, wondered about the "codification of the HEA" and whether it had been studied from "a folklorist's perspective".

Luckily, the community of romance scholars includes Linda J. Lee, a folklorist at the University of Pennsylvania. In response to Elizabeth's question, she generously wrote a micro-paper about it via Twitter, which I'll collate below. The first tweet in the thread's here.

For context, I'm a folklorist who studies fairy tales and romance - and I'm always happy to wade into definitional discussions about genres. I want to make sure that I'm hitting the central part of the question, though. It sounds like it's - at least in part - about the happily ever after and it's place in fairy tales.

Yes, most European fairy tales do end happily ever after - and most European languages have closing formulae that make this point. In English, it's "happily ever after," but other languages change this up a bit. For instance, in various Italian dialects, the formulaic ending is something more like "they lived happily and here we sit without a cent." Closing formulae of Sicilian fairy tales often draw a contrast between the circumstances of the characters in the taleworld and the storyteller/audience in the real world. The Snake Who Bore Witness for the Maiden ends with (English translation): They lived happily and content, but we have nothing to pay the rent. Here's a selection from Jack Zipes' translation of Laura Gonzenbach's Sicilian Folktales. Zipes translated from German into English (Gonzenbach had translated from Sicilian into German when the collection was published in 1870):

[LV - I was curious so I went off to look for Spanish fairy tale endings and there are lots of different ones, but apparently one of the most common is “fueron felices y comieron perdices” (they were happy and ate partridges)]

But more notably, not all fairy tales end happily. My favorite example of this is a fairy tale included in the first edition of the Grimms' Kinder- und Hausmarchen but omitted by the 7th edition in 1857 called "The Children Who Played at Slaughtering." Yeah, it ends pretty much the way you expect based on the title.

And many don't end in marriage. Take, for instance, Little Red Riding Hood (ATU 333). In Charles Perreault's 1697 tale, the wolf eats the grandmother and the little girl, and the audience gets a warning about the dangers of sweet-talking wolves who follow you into your bedroom. And the Grimms' version of Little Red Riding Hood from 1812 has a male rescuer figure that releases the grandmother and the girl from the belly of the wolf. (My students often read this restoration as a metaphor for marriage, but there's definitely not one on the page.) An oral version like "The Story of Grandmother" comes closest to a happily ever after because the tricky heroine rescues herself. Plenty of eroticism, but still no marriage. Here's the text:

Even when traditional oral European fairy tales end in marriage, it's usually not terribly romantic. The prince tries to buy comatose Snow White, for instance. Many female protagonists are really just making the best of a terrible situation. Some end up in marriages while running away from incestuous fathers (like Donkeyskin, a story that bears lots of similarities to Cinderella). Some certainly do have some romantic moments, though. But in so many others the female protagonists marry their rapists. Yeah, early versions of Sleeping Beauty didn't awaken with a kiss. In Basile's "The Sun, the Moon, and Talia," she wakes up when one of the twins she gives birth to sucks the piece of flax from her finger while trying to nurse. Yep. No kiss. But she eventually marries her adulterous rapist. So it's all good, right? There's a Sicilian fairy tale called "The Snake Who Bore Witness for a Maiden" in which a prince rapes the heroine and then plans to marry someone else, except for a marvelous snake who wrecks that plan.

There is a relatively recent concept of "anti-tale" that denotes fairy tales with a parodic or inverted structure. But Don Haase rightly criticizes this concept, because fairy tales have always had a variety of structures and endings.

The HEA of fairy tales is, in some ways, a modern invention. Arguably an inevitably of film adaptations that have longer stories with more developed characters. And again - if the choice of marrying your rapist or never marrying at a point in history when women had few choices.... Happily ever after means something quite different.

However, if we look at the literary fairy tales from the French salon writers (mostly women, writing for other women), there are stories with narratives and happily ever afters that much more resembles romances. Probably the best known of these is "Beauty and the Beast," originally published in French in a novella length by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot du Villeneuve, then retold by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont as a shorter story in 1756. (I'm currently revising an essay on consent in monster bridegroom stories, including Beauty and the Beast, so this tale type is top of mind at the moment.) If you've seen or read, oh, just about any version of Beauty and the Beast - be it Cocteau's film or Disney's or whatever - it almost certainly draws on Beaumont's tale (and, by extension, Villeneuve's).

But as will come as no surprise to the romance novelists and scholars out there, the female French salon writers have largely been overlooked by folklorists in favor of the male collectors and editors. Go figure. Elizabeth Wanning Harris has an excellent book about this - Twice Upon a Time: Women Writers and the History of the Fairy Tale.

So the French women fairy tale writers were writing longer, more complex stories, rather than the shorter stories that are today's canonical fairy tales. (Harries calls these "complex" and "compact" tales.) And we find stories that start to resemble romances among these stories. Again, Beauty and the Beast is probably the best example of this.

Dr. Sandra Schwab expanded a little on some of these points:

To a large extent, the opening and closing formulae of fairy tales became codified with what in German is called "Buchmärchen" (book fairy tales), like the Grimms' KHM. (Just as a quick aside for non-folklorists: The term "Buchmärchen" was introduced to denote the difference between oral fairy tale tradition & published one. And then there's yet another category, namely, the literary fairy tale. All these different types influence on another)

Because most of the editors of collections of "Buchmärchen" were male, as Linda mentions, they also became infused with a greater emphasis on patriarchal / middle-class values, as becomes nicely evident when you compare different versions of a tale in diff eds of Grimms' KHM. I'd use the term "literary fairy tale" for the tales of those French women writers. I haven't studied them in detail, but from the little I read up on them, I seem to remember that many of them nicely subvert patriarchal values of their time. You can see the same thing happening in the re-tellings of fairy tales written by 19th-century British women writers, e.g., "The Brown Bull of Norrowa" by Maria Louisa Molesworth.

Y colorín, colorado, este cuento se ha acabado.
[Colourin, colour red, this tale's finishèd.]