Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:45am - 11:15am
Vampire Diaries' Damon and True Blood's Eric: Dicks or Dreamboats?
Amber Botts - Neodesha High School/Independence Community College
The Vampire Diaries' Damon and True Blood's Eric both display a number of traits that are typical of alpha heroes. However, they go beyond romance scholarship's definition of traditional alpha behavior with extremely violent and unredeemably bad behavior that often risks more than the heroine's virtue or loyalty to her more typically "good" boyfriend. Still, fans passionately advocate for these ultra-bad boys to be paired with the heroines. The question is why. The answer lies in the complexity of their appeal, which stretches the old alpha/beta hero delineation. In romance scholarship, writers Tami Camden, Caro LaFever, and Sue Viders observe that today romance heroes have gone beyond previously defined divisions of heroes into alphas and betas, and they have defined eight archetypes of heroes. Of these, Damon and Eric still do not fit any one archetype, but instead, fit several (the Chief, Bad Boy, and Lost Soul, with a dash of Charmer); thus, they create a new kind of hero, the Dick Dreamboat.
New Editions and TV Movies: A Methodology for Decoding the Romance Novel Genome
Jayashree Kamble - University of Minnesota
When a mass-market romance is adapted for a new edition or a new medium, it changes fundamentally. In effect, an adaptation destabilizes the hybrid form termed “romance novel.”
When a romance novel is adapted for a new edition, its alterations involve a change in the “romance” half of its composite identity. For instance, when Lisa Kleypas’s New Orleans-set historical romance Only in Your Arms (1992) was reissued as When Strangers Marry (2002), it had its hero renounce his slave-owning life in a conversation with the heroine; in the ten years between the two editions, the author-publisher apparently decided that the narrative could not be romantic without fixing the hero’s culpability in slavery. Such an adaptation, though a rarity in the genre, helps examine the evolution of the “romance” strand of the “romance novel”. On the other hand, the transformation of a romance into a movie is not just a step away from the written medium, but more specifically, from the narrative conventions that have been collectively termed the Novel since the seventeenth century. When Nora Robert’s romances are scripted into tv movies for Lifetime, for instance, it is not the new medium that prevents their being effective representations of the books--it is the absence of the Novel conventions that are privileged highly by the “romance novel” and are an inextricable part of its identity.
Movie adaptations may thus retain the “romance” yet diverge from the “novel”, while new book adaptations preserve the novelistic elements and medium while offering a changed conception of “romance.” Each transformation exposes the hinge between the two individual concepts that have been yoked together under the nomenclature “romance novel.” Studying adaptations is therefore useful because they are mutations that reveal the genre’s constructed nature and the role of its two strands of DNA, so to speak.