Romance novels as literature

ImageQuilt 2015-05-01 at 11.18.08 AMA tweet from Julie Anne Long pointed me in the direction of an article on Penetrating Analysis, and I’ve now subscribed to the blog. In her description of the blog’s intention, blogger Anne N. Bornschien says:

This space is devoted to mass market romance novels as texts worthy of literary consideration. Approaching them both as an avid reader of the genre and as a scholar of literature, I examine the language, structure, and tropes that mark popular romance. In so doing, I hope to dispel some of the stereotypes that contribute to romance’s marginalization and to share the genre with a broader readership.

The specific article is about why romance as a genre is worthy of study. Along with several other important points, Anne says:

The past five years in particular have given rise to a new crop of novelists whose work hinges upon moral and ethical impediments that defy easy solutions. Unlike in romances predicated upon a misunderstanding (e.g., he wrongly suspects her of infidelity, she thinks he only married her for her money), where once all is revealed all is well, these texts place a dilemma at the heart of the story. They put the couple’s interests or the beloved’s interests in opposition to another person, group, or cause that is very near to the protagonist’s heart. These novels demand sacrifice or creativity of their heroes and heroines in order to arrive at the HEA.

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4 thoughts on “Romance novels as literature

    • It’s an area that really interests me, Anne. I’ve posted before about the reaction from colleagues when I said I was writing historical fiction. One colleague said: ‘but you’re an intelligent woman!’ To which I replied: ‘and I write intelligent books.’

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