Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Romance at EUPOP

'Love in the European Union' by Starscream from Wikimedia Commons
Next month, I will be participating in a panel at the Inaugural Conference of the European Popular Culture Association. I’m really excited to get involved with the Association and also to hear some of the papers in my panel and in others. If you’re in or around London between the 11th and 13th July why not come along and hear some papers for yourself? I will undoubtedly be tweeting some of the conference and will endeavour to publish a write-up on my blog, so if you can’t make it and are interested hopefully my commentary will be useful.

Here are the details of the romance panel:

Current Perspectives in European Popular Romance

Popular romance is one of the most popular fiction genres in Europe, and one of the most widespread. Harlequin/Mills & Boon, the world’s largest romance publisher, annually sells millions of popular romance novels all over Europe. In response to this, there has been an emergence of academic work on the popular romance in Europe, led by a conference in Brussels in 2010 and a conference to be held in York in September 2012. The popular romance area at the 2012 EUPOP conference will consist of a wide-ranging, transnational panel which together feature some of the foremost European scholars of the genre. Co-chaired by Amy Burge (Conference Chair, “The Pleasures of Romance”, York 2012) and An Goris (Managing Editor, Journal of Popular Romance Studies), this panel explores several topics that are currently of particular interest in the rapidly developing field of popular romance studies.

The panel brings together four papers which each explore a different aspect of romance in Europe. Two papers focus on various aspects of the cultural and linguistic translation of popular romances, dynamics that lie at the heart of the popular romance genre in the multilingual European context. The two further papers find romance in unexpected places and find the unexpected in romance. Via discussions of the relation between Britain and Arabia in British sheik romances and of the underexplored romance in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Bastards, this panel probes the notion of subversion in the context of both the literary and the filmic romance genre. Together, these papers seek not only to link these current issues, but also to indicate the vibrancy of current romance scholarship in the field of European popular culture.

From Local to Global: Reading Category Romance in Europe
An Goris, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.

The romance novel is one of the most popular genres in Europe, led by Harlequin/Mills & Boon, the genre’s most eminent publisher. This paper argues that Harlequin’s noteworthy cross-cultural appeal is based on its simultaneous use of both localizing and globalizing strategies to achieve success in the culturally, linguistically and nationally diversified European market. 

Breaking the Rules: Translating Emotions in European Popular Romance
Artemis Lamprinou, University of Surrey, United Kingdom.

Emotions form an indispensable part of popular romance narratives. In the context of the translated romance texts that are predominant on the European market, this paper argues that in translated romances it is not simply the author’s but also the translator’s responsibility to optimize the reader’s experience of the emotions in the text. This argument is developed on the basis of extensive case studies of Greek translated romances.

A Very English Place: The Intimate Relationship Between Britain and Arabia in the Contemporary Sheikh Romance
Amy Burge, University of York, UK.

The fantasy settings of contemporary sheikh romances seem to serve their function as ‘otherworlds’ in which the romantic relationship between western heroine and sheikh hero takes place. However, this paper, through an examination of the setting, content and authorship of twentieth and twenty-first century sheikh romances, contends that far from being geographically indistinct, sheikh romances remain deeply rooted within British imperial interests. 

Ethical Responses, the Film Motif, and Gender: Romance in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds
Tom Ue, University College London, United Kingdom.

“Maybe they’ll make a film about your exploits,” Shosanna tells Fredrick in response to his story about killing many Russians. Fredrick replies: “Well, that’s just what Joseph Goebbels thought.  So he did and called it ‘Nation’s Pride.’” Using this conversation from the film Inglourious Basterds as a starting point, this paper traces some of Tarantino’s many nods to romances to show how he undermines and contests our understanding of the genre as a whole. 

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