Friday, September 13, 2019

Scheduling The Sheik

There was a screening of The Sheik (1921) at the University of Birmingham on Thursday and today's programme is:

Friday 13 September 2019
10-11:15 – Academic panel on The Sheik
  • Pauline Suwanban, Beastly Figures: The Sheik and Fairy Tales
  • Francesca Pierini, The Legacy of E.M. Hull’s The Sheik on the Depiction of the Italian Romantic Hero in Harlequin Short Contemporaries
  • Respondent: Amy Burge
  • Chair: Melissa Dickson
Tweet summary by Ali Williams here. To summarise the summary:

Pauline Suwanban is a PhD student at Birkbeck, doing research into orientalist romances. She argues that the hero of The Sheik takes on the 'devil husband figure' that has been popular over the years within popular romantic fiction. She draws parallels between the 'devil husband' and the 'beastly lover' or 'monster husband' character that can be thread through myths and fairytales. Examples include 'Beauty and the Beast'. There lies within the Arabian communities in the novel a 'sinister promise of sexual material pleasure, as well as financial security for women who can tolerate it'.

Francesca Pierini's research is focused on representations of Italian culture in Anglophone literature. Instead of the 'Latin lover', she recommends the term 'Mediterranean men', as she feels that it draws parallels with the way that South European and some Middle Eastern heroes are represented. There is a focus on the perceived 'traditional' nature of these heroes, and there are similar discursive patterns seen within the writing of these heroes within short contemporary romances. Pierini talks about the importance of the focus on 'darkness' in these 'Mediterranean men' that is qualifyingly 'foreign', especially in comparison to the white Anglo-Saxon male. Often these novels seem to play on an assumed upon link between the Mediterranean men and the natural world.
12:00-1.15pm – Author and editor panel on diversity in popular romance publishing
  • Featuring Ali Williams, Ria Cheyne, Eleanor Harkstead and Jeevani Charika/Rhoda Baxter
2pm-3pm – Learning and Teaching The Sheik
  • A conversation with Professor Deborah Longworth and Professor Eric Selinger
Again, a summary has been tweeted by Ali Williams. Here's small part of it:

Eric Selinger was sharing his approaches to romance. The first sets out four approaches (Historical, Philosophical, Psychological and Literary). The second tool was derived from teaching Rose Lerner's Sweet Disorder: Improving Tale; Erotic Fiction; Novel of Ideas; Novel as Aesthetic Object. Selinger translates this as
  • How does this book want me to behave?
  • What does this book tell me that I might desire?
  • What does this book want me to think about?
  • What does this book want me to appreciate about itself?
Deb Longworth commented that thinking about formalised approaches like this allows the genre of popular romance to be legitimised for students.

3:30-4:30pm – Final roundtable and discussion – where now for The Sheik

There should be a special issue of the Journal of Popular Romance Studies appearing soon, dedicated to The Sheik in its centenary year.

No comments:

Post a Comment