Sunday, November 22, 2015

New to the Wiki: Romance Fiction v. Real Life

Iwai, Gaku, 2015. 
"Wartime Ideology in 'The Thimble': A Comparative Study of Popular Wartime Romance and the Anti-romance of D. H. Lawrence." Études Lawrenciennes 46.
Kempf, Rachel Erin, 2015. 
"Dirty Words: The Writing Process of 'Smutshop'." The University of Texas at Austin, Master of Fine Arts. ["I worked at Siren-BookStop, Inc. for three years, cleaning up manuscripts and penning gay werewolf erotica [...] It was the best and worst job I’ve ever had — the best because I got paid to write and spend my workday making dirty jokes, and the worst because real sex isn’t porn sex, and real women aren’t romance heroines, and love and relationships are messy and complicated and when you spend all day boxing it into the confines of a highly formulaic genre, you’re bound to start getting some messed-up ideas about how your love life ought to be"]
Meyer, Michaela D. E., 2015. 
"Living the Romance through Castle: Exploring Autoethnography, Popular Culture and Romantic Television Narratives". The Popular Culture Studies Journal 3.1&2: 245-269. [This includes a discussion of romance fiction, not just television romantic narratives]
Moody, Stephanie, 2016. 
"Identification, Affect, and Escape: Theorizing Popular Romance Reading." Pedagogy 16.1: 105-123. Abstract
Slušná, Zuzana, 2015. 
"Postfeminism, Post-romantic and New Patterns of Feminity [sic] in Popular Culture." European Journal of Science and Theology 11.6: 229-238.


  1. Hm...maybe romance heroines don't seem like real women because they're absent any experience that would prevent the audience from standing in her shoes, e.g. heartbreak, kids, etc. Otherwise, it wouldn't be a fantasy, which is the line romance is forever toeing. I don't think authors necessarily absorb romance cliches into their own thinking though.

  2. " they're absent any experience that would prevent the audience from standing in her shoes, e.g. heartbreak, kids, etc."

    There are quite a lot of divorced and widowed heroines, some with children and/or whose child(ren) have died. I don't think the "fantasy" of romance is that there's no suffering in life. As Pamela Regis has argued, one of the key elements of a romance novel is a "moment of ritual death" and the RWA definition of romance fiction states that "In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love".

    I think one of the core messages of romance is that love (primarily romantic love, but also of family and friends) can help people overcome a lot of suffering. Whether/to what extent it does that in a realistic/relatable way is another issue.