Friday, September 03, 2010

Pam Rosenthal's Paper at the 2010 IASPR Conference

At the recent IASPR conference, Pam Rosenthal gave a paper on "The Queer Theory of Eve Sedgwick at the Edges of the Popular Romance Genre." She's now put up a summary of the paper at the History Hoydens' blog. Here are a couple of quotes from it:
Brussels sounded like a great opportunity to think hard about something I've been wanting to understand better for a while now: the hot new trend of male/male or male/male/female romance -- written by women for women. [...] I took on this project because I wanted to understand more specifically how this new development of male/male love works in individual texts, and most particularly in Ann Herendeen's recent tour de force, Pride/Prejudice.
In the centuries since Austen, the romance novel (and sometimes the literary novel as well) hinged upon a simple, but incendiary, paradox: that a man occupies a primacy of position in the public world, but the power of the female subjectivity cannot be denied.

Until the 20th century, perhaps -- when in romance this changed again. when male power began to be understood as a fraught and painful thing -- with, I think, the tortured heroes of the 70s to the 90s. My own untested theory is that this occurred in a parallel development to Second Wave Feminism. We started seeing tortured lonely hero subjectivities in deep third person (Dr. Sarah Frantz of the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance has often written and spoken on this, and I was delighted that she and I were on the same panel in Belgium).
To read more and/or join in the discussion, please head over to the History Hoydens' blog.

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