Monday, March 31, 2014

Call for Papers: Teaching Tainted Lit

Janet Casey (a Professor of English at Skidmore College) has recently written to the Middlebrow Network to seek additional contributions to a volume she's editing:
I am currently editing a collection entitled TEACHING TAINTED LIT: POPULAR AMERICAN FICTION AND THE PLEASURES AND PERILS OF THE CLASSROOM.  I have an interested publisher but am open to acquiring one or two more essays before submitting the final product to readers this summer.   Please get in touch with me if you have any interest:  The original CFP is as follows:

Taking as its premise the idea that popular fiction has secured a solid position in higher education classrooms, this collection seeks to explore its pedagogical implications.  Possible topics may include: unusual or insightful uses of the popular in the context of college English; historical or contemporary struggles over the teaching of popular texts; the politics and intersections of popularity and canonicity as they pertain to the classroom; anxieties and pleasures (on the parts of students and/or teachers) located in reading the popular; differences in attitudes about studying historical and contemporary popular texts; relations between teaching the popular and the perceived crisis in the humanities; teaching the American popular outside the U.S.; issues of publication and dissemination that affect teaching (e.g., working with magazines; problems associated with out-of-print materials).  Essays that focus on a particular text and its pedagogical ramifications are also welcome, especially if they put broader questions into play.  Personal/anecdotal postures invited.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Fiction / Romance / Truth in "For My Lady's Heart"

A nicely thoughtful post by Noah Berlatsky this morning over at The Hooded Utilitarian, all about issues of truth and fiction, romance and the real, in Laura Kinsale's novel For My Lady's Heart.  I haven't read the novel in years, but recall loving it, and wishing it were in print and teachable; evidently it's been available for two or three years now as a Kindle book, and also in paperback, but my syllabus hasn't caught up.  Perhaps I'll give it a shot this summer, or next fall, when I get back to teaching romance.

I'm also struck by how casually and effectively Berlatsky uses two of Pam Regis's "8 elements" to talk about some of the structural features of the novel.  It's a throwaway line, only a sentence ("the declaration and marriage come somewhat early on in the book"), but a sign, also, of how that terminology has made its way from academia into more general interest discussions of the genre.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

20 March: Workshops in Washington

Love That Dares
Thursday, March 20, 2014 from 1:00 PM to 7:00 PM (PDT)

The George Washington University in Washington, DC is holding a free event about diversity in popular romance which, while aimed at their students, is open to the public.

Three Workshops on Diversity in Popular Romance

1pm:   theme: GLBTQ romance
hosted by: Sarah Frantz (Riptide Publishing)
book club selectionBlessed Isle, by Alex Beecroft

2:30:   theme: African-American popular romance
hosted by: novelist Beverly Jenkins 
book club selection: her own Deadly Sexy

4:10:  theme: People with disabilities in popular romance, with
hosted by: Emily Baldys (Zane State)

Reception to follow

If you want to attend any or all of these you need to book in advance via this website and Heather Schell, who's involved in organising it, says that as it's
an interactive event, [...] attendees are expected to read the assigned novel (all are available on  Each workshop will also include a brief writing exercise.