Thursday, January 31, 2008

Second Call for (Additional) Crusie Papers

    Nothing But Good Times Ahead: the Novels of Jennifer Crusie

    Edited by Eric Murphy Selinger and Laura Vivanco

    Additional contributions are invited for a collection of critical essays on the work of Jennifer Crusie. Two publishers have expressed interest in the volume, but we would like to add to it before we submit the full manuscript.

    Nothing But Good Times Ahead: the Novels of Jennifer Crusie will mark a turning point in the critical study of romance fiction, even as it demonstrates the richness of this author’s work as both an innovator in, and theorist of, her chosen genre.

    Crusie's category and single-title romances have won numerous awards, and in a genre where most books go out of print quite soon after publication, hers have been repeatedly reissued. Crusie’s essays in defense of the genre articulate a theoretically sophisticated, ardently feminist argument on its behalf, and her novels, too, engage in cultural critique, subtly challenging readers’ expectations about what romance heroines, heroes, plot structures, and love scenes can be, while affirming the deeply-rooted optimism of the romance novel as a form.

    We invite critical essays on the full range of Crusie’s novels, from her early category romances to her recent collaborations, whether read individually or comparatively.

    All critical, theoretical, and methodological approaches are welcome; indeed, we encourage critics who do not ordinarily work on popular culture or romance fiction to submit abstracts for our consideration.

    Here is a suggestive, but not exhaustive list of possible topics:
    • Magic, whether literal (as in The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes), metaphorical (i.e. "Fate," in Bet Me), or authorial (magic as a figure for creativity more generally).
    • Food: a recurring motif in Crusie's work, and one rich with allusive, symbolic, and other meanings. Apples, cherries, Krispy Kremes, chicken marsala, pancakes, Mob Food; eating alone or together.
    • Aging: Crusie has repeatedly explored the narrative and thematic possibilities of older heroines, whether as central or supporting characters.
    • Homes: literal and symbolic; domestic and communal; threatened and sheltering.
    • Crusie and the genres of romance and comedy, broadly and theoretically defined.
    • Crusie as theorist of romance: her essays, her criticism, her reflections online.
    • Crusie's work as it relates to developments in romance fiction over the past twenty years.
    • Crusie's romances as feminist novels, or more broadly, Crusie’s efforts to promote and exemplify romance fiction as a feminist genre.

    Nothing But Good Times Ahead has the potential to reach audiences both inside and outside the academy. Our intended audience includes not only professors of popular culture, women’s studies, American studies, and literature, but also the intelligent, well-educated, and enthusiastically literate community of romance readers.

    We will consider abstracts (approximately 500 words), conference papers, and full-length essays. All submissions should be e-mailed to Eric Murphy Selinger ( and Laura Vivanco ( no later than May 1, 2008. Earlier is better!

    A fuller description of the book is available.

    The photo of the two cherries is from Wikipedia.


    1. Off topic: How does a nice Jewish boy like Eric get a middle name like "Murphy"?

    2. By marriage, Talpianna! I never liked my original middle name, and when I turned 30, as a present to myself, I had it legally changed to my wife's last name.

      You'll have to ask my mother how a nice Jewish boy got a name like "Eric," though!

    3. Eric--perhaps she was addicted to Viking romance novels?

    4. I still would like to jump on this bandwagon, but I'm soooo behind on my deadline, one more distraction would make my conscience explode. If I get finished and have time to put something together before your deadline, I will do that.

    5. We'd be interested in reading a proposal from you, Rosina, but writing a proposal and an essay would take a significant chunk of time, so we understand why it wouldn't be a good idea for you if it might mean you couldn't meet other commitments.