Saturday, September 05, 2015

New to the Wiki: "Vocabulary Decay", Medievalism and Julie Garwood, Feminism

This time I thought I'd also include the items I didn't add to the bibliography so you can see the kinds of things I don't include. In the cases below, I omitted some interesting items because they either didn't deal with romance fiction at length or because they weren't secondary academic works.

First, though, are the items I did include:
Arvanitaki, Eirini, 2015. 
"Gender in Recent Romance Novels: A Third Wave Feminist Mills and Boon Love Affair?", in Re/Presenting Gender and Love, ed. Dikmen Yakalı Çamoğlu (Interdisciplinary Net). Index of the book
Diamond, Geneva, 2015. 
"Medievalism and the Courtship Plot in Julie Garwood's Popular Romance Novels", in The Middle Ages in Popular Culture: Medievalism and Genre, ed. Helen Young (Amhurst, NY: Cambria). Excerpt
Elliott, Jack, 2014. 
'Vocabulary Decay in Category Romance'. Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, Online, December 2014. [Abstract]

Writers of a best-selling category romance imprint share a common tendency to decrease their deployment of unique words over the span of their novels—a phenomenon of ‘vocabulary decay’. This tendency cannot be found in the novels of Jane Austen, suggesting this drop is not intrinsic to the romance genre itself, and is unlikely to have any true narrative purpose. A study of Charles Dickens shows that vocabulary decay extends beyond the romance genre. Closer examination reveals vocabulary decay is a result of progressive amounts of linguistic chunking—due to author fatigue or a desire to produce a more readable narrative. 
Elliott, Jack, 2015. 
'Whole Genre Sequencing', Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, Online, August 2015. [Abstract]

[Taking as its corpus] all electronically available Harlequin Presents novels—some 1,400 from 1999 to 2013—this article demonstrates that the genre’s fundamental architecture is a choir of authorial voices, that its evolution is dominated by sudden shifts due to financial pressures on the publisher, and that the order in which elements appear—the plot—is largely fixed.
[Edited to add: I've written at a bit more length about Jack Elliott's articles over at my personal blog.]

In the romance scholarship section we also have (not so comprehensive) chick lit and rom-com bibliographies. New to the chick-lit list is:
Ferris, Suzanne. 
"Working Girls: The Precariat of Chick Lit", in Cupcakes, Pinterest and Ladyporn: Feminized Popular Culture in the Early Twenty-First Century, ed. Elana Levine (University of Illinois, 2015): 177-???.
I also came across a short piece of fiction which tells the tale of a romance writer's rise and fall. Since it's fiction I haven't added it to any of the bibliographies, but it may be of interest/irritation to some of you:

Stamm, Kim (1987) "Confessions of a Romance Novelist," Manuscripts: Vol. 56: Iss. 2, Article 12.

I've also omitted Craig Williams's "Roman Homosexuality in Historical Fiction, from Robert Graves to Steven Saylor", in Ancient Rome and the Construction of Modern Homosexual Identities, ed. Jennifer Ingleheart (Oxford: Oxford UP, 2015): 176-???. That's because it doesn't have a lot to say about romance fiction (at least, not as far as I could tell from the excerpt), but there is a little, starting on page 190 and (from page 192) focusing on Fae Sutherland and Marguerite Labbe's The Gladiator's Master (2011).

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