Monday, September 22, 2008

Romance on the Curriculum

Susan Holloway Scott's daughter surprised her recently by reporting that in "an honors English seminar in rhetoric and composition" they were studying romance:
“Mom,” she said gleefully. “You won’t believe this. We’re reading JENNY CRUSIE!!!”

I didn’t believe it. Mothers of teenaged girls have a finally honed skepticism. But she emailed me the syllabus, and it was true. I’ll quote from the professor’s introduction:

“This course examines the rhetoric surrounding romance and how we see it: what is romance? How has love been defined in Western society? How do perceptions of gender, class, and race affect how romance is portrayed, marketed, or used as a marketing tool? In other words, this course uses romance, both as a concept and a genre, as a lens through which we can discuss various approaches to critical analysis. . . .

“Ultimately, this course is designed to make you think critically not only about gender, genre, and emotion, but, more importantly, about how and what you write. Thus, you will examine different kinds of texts and different methods of analyzing those texts in order to foster a more critical approach to not only others’ writing, but your own as well.”
Susan felt a mixture of pride that her "much-maligned genre" was getting some respect, and concern about which books might be pushed off the curriculum by the inclusion of romance. I'd encourage you to go over to the Word Wenches', join in the conversation, and say how you feel about romance being on the curriculum. I'm looking forward to reading everyone's points of view.

The picture, which I found via Wikimedia Commons, is by LuMaxArt.

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