There's a lot in this issue of JPRS so I decided to split my post about it into two parts. Here are the items which are not in the "Special Forum."
Five years ago, at a hotel bar in Boston, Sarah S. G. Frantz and I sat down with a half-dozen scholars from the U.S., Australia, and elsewhere to plan a new era in popular romance studies. [...] Whatever our scholarly organization and annual conferences looked like, we decided that night at the bar, it should have room for the creators and editors and non-academic scholars of popular romance, in whatever medium, to join the conversation [...]. As Walt Whitman says, then, this issue is dedicated to “You, Whoever You Are.”
A Parody of Love: the Narrative Uses of Rape in Popular Romance - Angela Toscano
Rape in popular romance represents both the violence of love and the violence of understanding that attend the quest to know the Other. In many rape scenes, however, this quest is obstructed by the mistaken assumption that the Other is already known. This occurs because on some level the hero has already appropriated the heroine as an extension of his own desires, rather than having acknowledged her as a separate person. The rape is committed precisely because the hero wrongly believes that his knowledge of the heroine is sufficient and total. His certainty of the absolute authority of his knowledge—of his perception—allows the hero to behave as if the heroine had always already consented to the sex act. The rape reveals the inadequacy of this perception and exposes through its violence and its violation the false underlying assumption that one can know the Other by outward signs, by social role or public name, by the body and its presence, or (most elusive of all) by an access to the interior and singular self through discourse.
Francophone Perspectives on Romantic Fiction: From the Academic Field to Reader’s Experience - Séverine Olivier
This paper will examine why contempt for romantic fiction and for romance readers remains predominant in the French academic field, bringing to light the differences between the dominant construction of the genre and its readership in the French critical context and romance readers’ own perceptions of the books they like to read.This article is in two parts. The first gives an overview of Francophone romance scholarship and the second is an interview with Agnès Caubet, "Webmaster of lesromantiques.com [...] the first and currently only Francophone website about the romance genre."
Review by Hsu-Ming Teo of Virgin Territory: Representing Sexual Inexperience in Film, edited by Tamar Jeffers McDonald. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2010.
Review by Laura M. Carpenter of Kate Monro's The First Time: True Tales of Virginity Lost and Found (Including my Own). London: Icon Books, 2011.