Sarah's post about romances in series is up at Romancing the Blog:
To me, “series” romance means “category” romance (Harlequin, Mills & Boon, Loveswept, Silhouette, etc.). There are other series, of course, because the term is very loose, and this “looseness” is precisely what I’m interested in. Because “series” can also mean mainstream novels that are connected in some way. [...]Yesterday at Dear Author Jessica took a look at the progression of relationships and how that relates to selfhood:
Then, uniquely, perhaps, there’s J.D. Robb’s Eve and Roarke series, where the narrative focus of the book is the mystery, but the heart of the series is the continuing relationship between the two main characters.
And it is this last one that I’m seeing more of, specifically in gay male romance, but with a twist. While we follow the characters in these stories from their Happy For Now in their first story, through relationship maturation in further stories, both the narrative and emotional focus of the books is the relationship. Unlike mystery series, which we follow for both the continuation of the relationship AND the new mystery in every book, these series focus just on the same relationship, book after book. [...] And does anyone else reading these series find the HFNs slightly unsatisfying and find the trend that a book labeled a romance might not have a strong HEA rather troubling?
In some ways, every single romance is about selfhood, since the romantic ideal says that until we meet our counterpart, we cannot truly be our best selves, our complete selves. What’s unique about this, is that the self is defined as fundamentally relational: people are not silos, who choose to enter relationships as they might choose to engage, or not, in hobbies, but rather, people can only be who they are with relations of the right sort with other people. I personally believe that the valorization of this relational way of viewing the self is a key source of the feminist potential of romance, but I also think it gives romance, as a genre, some unique and important things to say about questions of selfhood and personal identity per se. I have been amazed at the number of romances I have read, across all the subgenres, that deal centrally and directly with the metaphysical question of what is self and what is nonself.That's more than enough to ponder, I think, as 2008 draws to a close, so I'll make this a very short set of links.
What would it take for you to become another, different person? First, consider loss: is there one essential thing, say, your memories, or your physical body, or your career, that defines you? What could you lose and still be you?
The photo is from Wikimedia Commons.