Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Past Conference Videos, Current Exhibition Feedback and New Publications

Videos are now freely available of some of the events from last year's Popular Romance Fiction: The Literature of Hope conference, held at Yale University.



Andrea Martucci's Shelf Love podcast episode about this exhibition of John Ennis's art for romance covers is available here: https://shelflovepodcast.com/episodes/season-2/episode-153/covering-romance-john-enniss-art-thoughts-on-fandom

Smart Bitch Sarah's feedback (including lots of photos) on the exhibition can be found here: https://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/2024/02/covering-romance-romance-novel-cover-art-by-john-ennis/


And here are the new publications:

Burge, Amy, Jodi McAlister and Charlotte Ireland (2024). '“Prince Charming with an Erection”: The Sensational Pleasures of the Bonkbuster.' Contemporary Women's Writing https://doi.org/10.1093/cww/vpae002 [This shows how bonkbusters are not romance.]

Johnson, Jacqueline E. (2024) "Lusting out loud: racialized aurality, podcast intimacy, and the uses of thirst". Communication, Culture and Critique. Online First. [Excerpt and details here. As I mentioned over on BlueSky, the focus on "the expansive middle" reminded me of Athena Bellas and Jodi McAlister 's (non-paywalled) recent article on audio erotica. So I wondered if such a focus might have something to do with an audio experience? And/or a difference between what readers/listeners seek from erotica vs. romance fiction? Jodi suggested it could be to do with the length of time available and that the episodes could be thought of as 'a little slice of life from what An Goris calls the "post-HEA"'.]
Markova, M. V. (2024). "Georgette Heyer, history, and historical fiction." Voprosy literatury 1:198-203. [This is written in Russian, and in any case I could not access the pdf from https://doi.org/10.31425/0042-8795-2024-1-198-203.]

Morden, Christina (2023). Innovations in Romance Novel Distribution at Harlequin, Sourcebooks, and Raincoast Books. Master of Publishing, Simon Fraser University. 
Pates, Giuliana (2023). "Reading Practices and Gender Politicization: How do Young Argentinean Women Read Romantic Novels." Revista Interdisciplinaria de Estudios de Género de El Colegio de México 9.1:1–26. [This is in Spanish.]

Spencer, L. (2024). '“Walk like a chameleon”: Reflecting on my teaching journey at a South African university'. Educare, (1), 192–215. https://doi.org/10.24834/educare.2024.1.1093 [Dr Lynda Gichanda Spencer, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Literary Studies in English at Rhodes University, discussed her teaching of African romance fiction as part of a panel at the IASPR 2020 conference. There are a couple of paragraphs about her 2019 third-year elective course titled Global Chick-Lit or Trans-Global Literature? Re-reading Contemporary Women’s Fiction in this online paper, discussing how she asked students to compare Harlequin Mills & Boon romances with romances by African publishers.]


  1. Perhaps relevant to your interests: romance novels as bellwethers for change


  2. Thanks! I'll just see if I can turn that into a hyperlink: https://www.cbc.ca/books/how-social-media-is-influencing-the-romance-novel-genre-and-wider-trends-in-fiction-1.7115076

    And here's a key quote:

    Those involved in romance publishing say the genre has long been nimble, adapting to societal shifts and consumer demand at a comparatively breakneck pace. The changing social views reflected in romance novels — from stories that centre queer joy to books written by and about members of diverse communities — can serve as a bellwether for the direction of general fiction.

    And so, I feel as though I should be uplifted by the article, but unfortunately I can't help wonder if it's precisely this diversity and joy and acceptance that's making books (and libraries, and librarians) a target for bookbanners. Thinking in particular about this legislation in West Virginia which will allow librarians to be criminally prosecuted if "a minor encounters books and content some consider to be obscene."