to the mortal creature, generation [i.e. procreation] is a sort of eternity and immortality,’ [...]; ‘and if, as has been already admitted, love is of the everlasting possession of the good, all men will necessarily desire immortality together with good: Wherefore love is of immortality.Several weeks ago (unfortunately too long ago for the post to still be available online) Dick, a poster at AAR who believes that homosexual relationships are not suitable for inclusion in a romance novel, stated that: ‘I think that, in the case of romance fiction, the relationship of the h/h implies fruition’, i.e. in his opinion the lovers must be a hero and heroine, because homosexual lovers cannot create children together, and there is no possibility that they might do so. His statement did not imply that all romances must include one of those epilogues in which the hero and heroine appear, surrounded by their numerous progeny, but he did think that at the very least by the end of the novel there should be a possibility that the hero and heroine will one day have children together. This is, however, a very literal interpretation of fruitfulness, and one which also excludes older lovers (who were also discussed in the previous blog), the infertile and those who are childless by choice. It seems to me that this focus on children and childbearing could be very upsetting and offensive to many readers of the genre. Certainly a recent article by Lynn Harris, in Glamour magazine examined the emotional consequences for the infertile of a culture in which celebrity pregnancies and births are so prominently discussed and photographed:
“What we’re witnessing in our culture is a rampaging, almost hysterical fixation on pregnancy and babies and how having them will transform your life and allow you to reach nirvana,” says Susan J. Douglas, Ph.D., professor of communication studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and coauthor of The Mommy Myth. “For infertile women, it’s like a giant megaphone of guilt and shame.”Plato's Diotima argues that the offspring of the soul are the more worthy outcome of love:
souls which are pregnant —for there certainly are men who are more creative in their souls than in their bodies—conceive that which is proper for the soul to conceive or contain. And what are these conceptions?—wisdom and virtue in general.I've got a few more ideas about the various roles which children can play in romance, and I'll take a look at them another day, but I wondered how other people felt about children. Are children (i.e. offspring of the hero and heroine, not adopted children, younger siblings etc) an essential part of the HEA in a romance? If not, do you expect to see some growth towards wisdom and virtue (i.e. 'spiritual offspring') in the hero and heroine as a result of their love for each other?