Wednesday, February 17, 2021

History and Julia Quinn

I ended up writing a post which was far too long for here, on history, "social mentalities" and some comments by Julia Quinn about what (she thought) was and wasn't possible to write given the historical record and reader preferences. It's over at my personal blog:

Friday, February 12, 2021

The Romance Wiki's Back - and more online romance conversations

Dr Amy Burge has just announced that "the RomanceWiki is now back online, hosted by the University of Birmingham". You can find it here: 

Amy adds that "As before, the RomanceWiki is open source and collaborative, so all contributors and contributions are welcome."


A Georgette Heyer "Un-Conference" – February 25th 2021

2021 sees the centenary of the publication of Georgette Heyer’s first novel, The Black Moth, whose legacy UCL Press is recognising through the February 25th publication of a series of essays –  Georgette Heyer, History and Historical Fiction edited by Dr Samantha Rayner and Professor Kim Wilkins. 


Publication Keynote: The Black Moth & Beyond
In Conversation with Biographer Jennifer Kloester & Professor Kim Wilkins

Guest Keynote: Philippa Gregory In Conversation

Writing Historical Fiction: What can we Learn from Heyer
with novelists Kate Forsyth & Alison Goodman. Chair: Professor Kim Wilkins

Heyer: The Nonesuch of her Time & the Original Influencer
with authors & Heyer aficionados including Katie Fforde, Lois McMaster Bujold, Harriet Evans, Cathy Rentzenbrink. Chair: Jacks Thomas

Georgette Heyer, History & Historical Fiction: A volume of essays brought to life with Tom Zille, Vanda Wilcox & Kathleen Jennings. Chair: Dr Samantha Rayner

Shelf-Healing Podcast: Carriages & Costumes: Regency Replicated & Reimagined hosted by Rebecca Markwick, with guests Zack Pinsent & Amy Bracey

All that information and more can be found here. Tickets cost £10 but Dr. Samantha Rayner tweeted "Please quote heyerfan when booking for free tickets!"

[Edited to add: a query was raised on Twitter with regards to how to do this and the answer is that the place to enter the code is:

on the first page, after you have clicked on 'tickets'. Above 'Georgette Heyer: An Unconference - 25 Feb 2021' you see the words 'enter promo code', click on that, and enter 'heyerfan'


From Feminism to Orientalism: a Panel of Current Romance Research

On 26 February Pauline Suwanban (Birkbeck, University of London) and Ali Williams (University of Brighton) will be chatting online about their research. 

More details here.

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Forthcoming Online Romance Talks: Horror, Serial Killers and Race

Sunday 14th February - 10 am and 7 pm UK time

Romancing the Gothic

Dr Sam Hirst and Tanagra on "Horror, Race and Romance: Love Doesn't Conquer All."

We'll be talking Black British and US history and looking at fictional representations in romance and horror. We'll be looking at love in horror, love as horror and horror in love! Discussing Bridgerton, Candyman and Get Out.

Sign up form here.


Thursday 25th February - 17:30 – 19:00 UK time

The University of Birmingham (UK)'s Romance Reading Group 

Katrina Jan "brings you 'Fifty Shades of the Ripper' & why the 19th-century serial killer is being reimagined as ‘sexy’ in the 21st-century contemporary novel."
More details here


Thursday 25th February - 4 to 5.30 pm Eastern US time

Professor Jayashree Kamblé on "Whose London? Migration and Multiple Identities in K.J. Charles’s Queer Historical Romance Novels." This is

about London's racial geography in romance novels (focusing on @kj_charles An Unseen Attraction) on Feb. 25 (4:00 p.m. ET). Seems timely in light of conversations on race in the genre & #Bridgerton in particular

Andrea at ShelfLove says:

I had the pleasure of enjoying a version of this talk and it’s VERY relevant to contextualizing POC in London in the 19th century, from a geographical and social perspective. For anyone interested in actual recorded history of POC at the time (even if not dukes or rich).

More details and link to sign up here.

Friday, January 29, 2021

New Publications: Brazil, Nigeria, Scholarship, Resisting Objectification, Politics, Readers and Marketing

Andrade, Roberta Manuela Barros de, Erotilde Honório Silva, Ricardo Augusto de Sabóia Feitosa, and Thiago Mena Barreto Viana, (2020) Um século de romances de amor: A trajetória da literatura sentimental no Brasil (1920 - 2020). [Details here.]

Haruna, Alkasim Kiyawa, 2021. "Female Readers as Literary Critics: Reading Experiences of Kano Market Romance Fiction." International Journal of English and Comparative Literary Studies 2.1: 34-45. [More details here.]

García Fernández, Aurora and Paloma Fresno-Calleja, 2020. “Competence, Complicity and Complexity: Hsu-Ming Teo on the Pitfalls and Nuances of Reading and Researching Popular Romance.” Raudem, Revista de Estudios de las Mujeres 8: 261-280. [More details here.]

Kolmes, Sara and Matthew A Hoffman, 2021. "Harlequin Resistance? Romance Novels as a Model for Resisting Objectification." The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. [This was online first, so the year may change and I don't have volume or page numbers for it. It is available for free here.]

Michelson, Anna, 2021. "The politics of happily-ever-after: romance genre fiction as aesthetic public sphere." American Journal of Cultural Sociology. [This was online first, so the year may change and I don’t have volume or page numbers for it. More details here.]

Nibafasha, Spes, 2020. “The politics of the popular: Definitions and uses of African popular fiction.” Hybrid Journal of Literary and Cultural Studies 2.4. 59-75. [More details here.]

Reyes, Daisy Verduzco, Annika C. Speer and Amanda Denes, 2021. “White Women and Latina Readers’ Ambivalence Toward Fifty Shades of Grey.” Sexuality & Culture. [This was online first so the year may change and I don’t have volume or page numbers for it. More details here.]

Saxena, Vandana, 2021. “Afterlives of Colonialism: Nostalgia, Reader’s Response and the Case of Noel Barber’s Tanamera.” The Journal of Commonwealth Literature. [Also online first, so I’m not sure if the 2021 date for it will change. It seems to be open access, so should be freely available. The novel discussed seems to be both a romance and a "saga" due to its length.]

Sutton, Denise Hardesty, 2021. “Marketing Love: Romance Publishers Mills & Boon and Harlequin Enterprises, 1930–1990.” Enterprise & Society. Online First. [More details here.]

Friday, January 01, 2021

Hoping 2021 is better than 2020

Romance is, after all, a genre of hope and

To cope with all the feelings of uncertainty that 2020 has brought, many have been turning to one place guaranteed to bring a happy ending and sense of optimism: romance novels.

Sarah Wendell, an author, podcaster, and co-creator of the romance community blog Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, has seen a 75% surge in traffic on her website since the pandemic began in March. Her site was so overwhelmed, in fact, that she had to upgrade to a new server. (Copeland)

Carolyn Copeland's article at Prism also offers a roundup of some of the romance activism that took place in 2020, most notably "Romancing the Runoff" which I haven't mentioned on the blog so far, I think, but which ought to be recorded here for posterity. It got a lot of coverage (including in the New York Times, but I couldn't read that because it was behind a paywall), and I've collected some of the items written about it below:

Bustle, Lily Herman, 24 November 2020

Entertainment Weekly, Maureen Lee Lenker, 25 November 2020

Jezebel, Kelly Faircloth, 25 November 2020

Newsweek, Katherine Fung, 25 November 2020

The Guardian, Lois Beckett, 25 November 2020

Kirkus Reviews, Michael Schaub, 27 November 2020

Slate, Rachelle Hampton, 7 December 2020

Vogue, Elena Sheppard, 8 December 2020

Just for the record, the last reference I saw to the total amount raised was (as of 17 December) $475k

Another thing I forgot to mention earlier in the year (but which maybe someone would like to contribute to as part of a New Year's Resolution) is that the Journal of Popular Romance Studies now has a new section.

This section will be a Notes and Queries section. It is meant to create a more immediate dialogue on issues and trends in the field. Moreover, it offers the opportunity for our community of scholars to share insights on aspects of popular romance that would not fit the scope and requirements of a more traditionally published academic article, but nevertheless, cultivates our shared knowledge and furthers our research.

You can find out more about it here. So if you have insights to share with romance scholars, please consider submitting to JPRS. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes up in the new section in 2021.