K. J. Charles (on BlueSky, which I don't think I can link to) posted a link to a New York Times article about
new editions of Heyer with the antisemitism removed. I'm not honestly sure how I feel about that. She *was* antisemitic and racist, and if it is going to be done, there should absolutely be an afterword saying it was done.
I feel the same. The author of the New York Times article, the appropriately named Alexandra Alter, states that:
When Heyer’s American publisher, Sourcebooks, decided to release new editions of her romances this year, they had to strike a precarious balance. Leaving the original scene could repel some readers. But changing it risked provoking a backlash from fans and scholars who see posthumous revisions as a form of literary reputation laundering, or censorship.
After a lengthy back and forth with the Heyer estate, Sourcebooks made small but significant changes to “The Grand Sophy.” In the new version, the moneylender’s name has been changed to Grimpstone. References to his Jewish identity and appearance have been deleted, along with other negative generalizations about Jews.
Acknowledgment of the changes appears on the copyright page, which says “this edition has been edited from the original with permission of the Georgette Heyer Estate.”
Originally, Sourcebooks had brought in Mary Bly/Eloisa James to write introductions to all the new editions but "After the estate declined to include Bly’s explanation of the changes in an afterword, she quit the project."
The acknowledgment which will be included is, presumably, in small print and rather easy to miss, which is what makes this solution problematic to me from an academic perspective (which as our subtitle states, is what Teach Me Tonight's all about). While the publication of a text which includes such changes may in itself be of interest to future scholars of Heyer for what it implies about Heyer's ongoing status in the genre and the attitude of the Heyer estate, and may also be of wider interest because of what it might tell us about the economic calculations made by this publisher, and their assessments of the preferences/attitudes of twenty-first century readers, none of these questions will arise in the minds of scholars who use this edition of the text while unaware that it has been changed. And, obviously, a scholar's close reading of the text, and their assessment of Heyer and her oeuvre, will undoubtedly be flawed if they base their analysis on this text without being aware of its altered status.
In a comment attached to the New York Times article a reader called "emmel" observed that:
There was a major incident this past summer when romance readers discovered that Lisa Kleypas updated about 50% of her beloved Secrets of a Summer Night to meet "today's" standards versus those of 2004, when the book was published. Readers were horrified that major elements had been changed (which many perceived to be detrimental to understanding the hero's actions) with no notification in the 2021 edition. (This was discovered in a group read when the readers couldn't understand one another's reactions until they deduced the editions had fundamental differences.) So notifications and explanations are vital; you can't just say it's been "updated."
I found some discussion about that at https://www.reddit.com/r/RomanceBooks/comments/rme2tc/secrets_of_a_summer_night_completely_changed/ and another, Reddit discussion mentioning another Kleypas novel which has been significantly altered: https://www.reddit.com/r/RomanceBooks/comments/ob98yp/revised_lisa_kleypas/ . I'm not sure if there was even a note made on the copyright pages of the texts themselves that changes had been made. Maybe someone more knowledgeable can let me know? Do you know of any other romances which have been reprinted in an updated, significantly altered, version that don't make it clear what's been done?
By the way, if any regular readers of Teach Me Tonight would like an invite code to BlueSky, I have a couple available. Let me know via the contact form on my website: https://www.vivanco.me.uk/contact/contact !
On to new, scholarly, publications:
Garciano, Shylyn G., Cuevas, Gloria Con-ui,
Geraldizo-Pabriga, Maria Gemma
Macabodbod, Saira Jay J.
Yu, Jaciah Mae B.
Pinote, Ma. Jezan A.
"Romance-Themed Novels: Influenced on Relationship Satisfaction."
International Journal of Literature Studies
Garton, Stephen (2023). "Return Fantasies: Martial Masculinity, Misogyny and Homosocial Bonding in the Aftermath of Second World War." Gender & History ONLINE FIRST. Open access (and it complements an earlier article which is behind a paywall).
"Stripping The Vampire. Erotic Imaginations and Sexual Fantasies In Paranormal Romances (A Study Of Selected Examples)." Manifestations of Male Image in the World's Cultures. Ed. Renata Iwicka, Kraków:
Jagiellonian University Press. 137-156. [Details can be found here. Although it was published in 2021, the electronic version from Cambridge University Press only became available in October 2023. An open access version written in Polish was published in 2015 and details about that can be found here.]
van Hattum, Fatima Y. (2023). "Orientalist Public Pedagogy: Visual Representation of Muslims in Pop Culture and Desert Romance Novels." Thesis from the University of New Mexico. It's embargoed until 2025. https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/educ_llss_etds/148