Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Time for a Change

I've been blogging at Teach Me Tonight since June 2006 and in that time the study of popular romance has come a long way. When we started, there was really very little academic writing about romance available online. Now we have the Journal of Popular Romance Studies, a number of people post about romance from an academic perspective on their personal blogs and, as Laurie Kahn recently noted, at the Popular Romance Project “Sarah Frantz and Eric Selinger have been commissioning and editing unpaid essays by scholars all over the world about popular romance (from a dazzling range of perspectives) for the section of the blogsite called 'Talking About Romance.'” The Popular Romance Project has just secured $58,669 via Kickstarter as well as a $616,000 production grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (in addition to a variety of other, smaller, grants) so I assume that its website will continue to provide "unpaid essays by scholars all over the world about popular romance" for some time.

This being so, it seemed to me to be time to re-evaluate what I was doing here at Teach Me Tonight. One thing that TMT provides which JPRS and the PRP do not, is frequent updates about recent publications, forthcoming conferences, calls for papers etc. I'd like to continue posting about those things here. If you have news of that sort which you'd like to see at TMT, please let me know.

From now on I'll be taking my more general and/or analytical posts over to a new blog at my own website. I hope you'll join me there; given the sometimes inexplicable way that Blogger works (or doesn't) I'm hoping it'll be simpler for readers to post comments there than it is here. The new blog's still very much a work in progress but the first post is now up and I have an rss feed.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sensitivity and Sexuality

OnFiction reports that
In early July, the International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature and Media held its 13th Biennial meeting. [...]

Katrina Fong (York University) examined whether how exposure to different literary genres is related to one’s ability to infer what other people are thinking and feeling. Perhaps surprisingly, after controlling for various factors, only two genres were related to interpersonal sensitivity: romance and suspense/thriller.
CFP: Contemporary Black Female Sexualities
For a collection on “Contemporary Black Female Sexualities,” the editors invite essays that explore black women’s sexualities--and representations or manifestations of black female sexual desires--marked by agency and empowerment, as well as instances wherein black women’s sexual intimacies are regulated by them. Given the degree to which black female sexuality has historically been mediated by politics of respectability or silence, as well as hindered by and constructed in opposition to Western paradigms of womanhood and “normative” female sexuality, this volume seeks contribution--both disciplinary and interdisciplinary and from a range of theoretical, ideological, methodological, socio-political, and critical frameworks--that address and illuminate contemporary black female sexualities. (More details here)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Whipping up Coverage

Under the headline "The Beating Hearts of Romance Writing" the New York Times features a photo with the caption:
At a party organized by Passionate Ink, a chapter of writers of erotic romances, Sarah S. G. Frantz, a professor and the president of the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance, gave a demonstration of sorts.

Friday, August 17, 2012

IASPR's York Schedule

The conference schedule for the IASPR conference is now available. The conference runs from Thursday 27th September to Saturday the 29th and is being held in York. I'll post more details when the abstracts appear.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Encyclopedia of Romance Fiction

Kristin Ramsdell is looking for people to write entries for an Encyclopedia of Romance Fiction to be published by Greenwood/ABC-CLIO. Those people don't have to be academics:
The encyclopedia is aimed at students and general readers, not romance specialists or scholars, so the articles would need to take that into consideration, and, as my editor keeps reminding me, they shouldn’t be too academic. The articles cover all aspects of the romance genre (or as many topics as we could come up with and get approved) and range in length from 350 to 4000 words.

As is typical of projects of this type, there is little, if any, financial reward, but I can offer a copy of the encyclopedia to contributors, as well as author credit, which is always useful for one’s CV and might appeal to students, in particular.
I've been in touch with Kristin and seen the list of topics. At the time of writing, there are still a huge number up for grabs.

Some of them focus on the history of imprints/publishers: Arabesque, Avon, Bantam, BelleBooks, Bethany House, Brava, Dell, Dorchester, Ellora's Cave, Grand Central, Kensington, Mergers and Acquisitions, Minerva Press, Naiad, Penguin Group, Publishers and Imprints, Silhouette, Simon and Schuster, St. Martin's, Tyndale House, Zebra.

Some of the entries will focus on specific authors/books: Angelique series, Jane Austen, Charlotte and Emily Bronte, Barbara Cartland, The Count of Monte Cristo, Janet Dailey, Ethel M. Dell, Charles Dickens, Alexandre Dumas, Emma, Forever Amber, Elinor Glyn, Sergeanne Golon, Gone With the Wind, E. M. Hull, Ivanhoe, Jane Eyre, Mansfield Park, Grace Metalious, Margaret Mitchell, Mysteries of Udolpho, Northanger Abbey, Pamela, Persuasion, Peyton Place, Pride and Prejudice, Ann Radcliffe, Samuel Richardson, Rob Roy, Rosemary Rogers, Sir Walter Scott, Sense and Sensibility, The Sheik, A Tale of Two Cities, Three Weeks, The Way of an Eagle, Kathleen Winsor, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Wuthering Heights.

Others will look at specific subgenres/types of romance and plots: Alternative Reality, Arranged (or forced) Marriage Plot, Beauty and the Beast Theme, Chick Lit, Cinderella Theme, Comedy of Manners, Contemporary Romance, Early Classic Romances (e.g. Greek, medieval), Erotica and Romance, Fan Fiction, Fantasy Romance, Futuristic Romance, GLBT Romance, Gentle Reads, Horror and Romance, Hot Historicals, Medical Romance, International Popular Romance, Multicultural/Ethnic Romance, Paranormal Romance, Pygmalion/My Fair Lady Theme, Romances by Men, Romance Films, Romances for Men, Romance Subgenres Overview, Sagas, Science Fiction and Romance, Secret Baby Plot, Seduction Novels, Sentimental Gothic Romance, Short Stories and Novellas, Story Papers and Dime Novel Romances, Suspense in Romance, Sweet Romances, Sweet/Savage Romance, Time Travel Romance, Urban Fantasy and Romance, Urban Fantasy Romance, Women's Fiction and Romance, Women's Romantic Fiction, Young Adult Romance.

On the more technical side there's: Agent, Audio book, Backlist, Clinch Cover, Covers and Cover Art, Critique Groups/Critique Partners, Cross-genre Romance Marketing, Current Publishing Environment, Decline of the Midlist, Editor, Editorial and Printing Quality, Electronic Publishing, Financial Aspects of the Genre, Formats/Definitions - History and Importance of, Hard cover, History of Romance Publishing, Illustrations, Marketing Romance, Mass Market Paperback, Out-of-Print Titles, Pseudonyms, Publishers' Genre Labels, Publishing Cycles, Publishing Industry and Romance, Romance Blogs/Wikis/Websites, Romance Industry and the Business of Romance, Romances in Bookstores, Self-Publishing and Self-Published Romances, Single Title, Small Presses, Social Media and Romance, Technology and its Impact on the Romance Genre, Titles (selection and importance of), Trade paperback, Video book

Some deal with broad themes/issues/character types in romance: Alpha Hero/Beta Hero, Appeal of the Romance, Censorship in Romance, Characterization (importance of), Characters (secondary or supporting), Cultural and Social Impact of Romance Novels, Description in Romance, Empowerment of Women, Happily-Ever-After-Ending, Hero (role of, importance and types), Heroine (role of, importance and types), Mood and Atmosphere in Romance, Perception of the Popular Romance Genre, Plot Patterns in Romance, Point of View in Romance, Power of Love Theme, Reader/Writer Connection, Romance (Definition), Sensuality Levels in Romance, Sensuality's Effect on the Popular Perception of the Genre, Sequels and Spin-offs of Classic Works, Setting as Character, Setting (Importance), Settings (Typical of Various Subgenres), Sex in Romance, Small Towns/Communities as Settings, Social Issues Addressed in Romance Fiction, Society as Character (e.g. the Regency ton), Subversive Nature of the Romance Novel, Themes in Romance Fiction, Trends in Popular Romance Fiction, Writing Styles (importance of), Writing Styles (types and techniques)

On the organisational side there's: Daphne du Maurier Awards, Libraries and Romance Fiction, Maggie Awards, Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association, Popular Culture Library at Bowling Green State University, Prism Awards, Romance listservs, Romance Readers (who they are and cultural and period differences), Romance Reading Collections, Romance Research Collections, Romance Writers of America, Romance Writers of America Awards, Romance-Related Conferences and Conventions, Romance-Related Organizations, RoNA Awards, Royal Ascot Awards, Scholarly Research and Publication in Popular Romance Fiction.

I may have accidentally missed out some entries because the list is extremely long and, in the time since I received it, it's possible that contributors may already have come forward to claim some of these topics.

If you're interested in contributing to the Encyclopedia, please contact Kristin at kristin.ramsdell@csueastbay.edu

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Amy Reports Back: EUPOP 2012

Amy's back from London, where she attended the first conference of the European Popular Culture Association (EUPOP). Here's what she has to say about the panel on romance,
called Romancing Europe in which I gave my own paper. The panel featured four presenters, who each discussed various aspects of popular romance in Europe.I have previously blogged details of this panel here.
The panel kicked off with An Goris whose paper, entitled ‘From Local to Global: Reading Category Romance in Europe’, discussed the translation of romances, arguing that Harlequin’s cross-cultural appeal is based on its simultaneous use of both localising and globalising strategies to achieve success in the culturally, linguistically and nationally diversified European market.
An’s paper was the perfect frame for the second speaker, Artemis Lamprinou, whose paper ‘Breaking the Rules: Translating Emotions in European Popular Romance’ considered the representation of emotion in popular romances translated from English into Greek. Lamprinou offered a detailed discussion of the apparent disjunction in emotional intensity between romances in Greek and in English.
The third paper was my own, entitled ‘A Very English Place: The Intimate Relationship Between Britain and Arabia in the Contemporary Sheikh Romance’. Examining the setting, content and authorship of some twentieth and twenty-first century sheikh romances, I argued that far from being geographically indistinct, sheikh romances remain deeply rooted within British imperial interests.
The final paper was by Tom Ue, who made a late change and gave a very up-to-date paper on the film The Amazing Spiderman which was released this summer. Tom discussed non-linearity and the protagonists’ inability to articulate. This was the only romance-related panel at the conference (a big contrast to PCA in the USA) and was well attended, with an interesting discussion afterwards.
You can read more about the conference over at Amy's blog.