New Frontiers in Popular Romance

Essays on the Genre in the 21st Century


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About the Book

In the twenty-first century, the romance genre has gained a growing academic response, including the creation of the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance. Popular romance has long been so ignored and maligned that seemingly every scholarly work on it opens with a lengthy defense of the genre and its value for academic study. Even the early scholarly works on the genre approach it in ways that, while primarily respectful, make sweeping generalizations about popular romance, its texts, and its readers.

This essay collection examines the position of the romance genre in the twenty-first century, and the ways in which romance responds to and influences the culture and community in which it exists. Essays are divided into six sections, which cover the genre’s relationship with masculinity, the importance of consent, historical romance, representation, social status and web-based romance fiction.

About the Author(s)

Susan Fanetti is a professor of English at California State University, Sacramento, where she serves as Coordinator of the English Education program and teaches courses in teaching English Language Arts and in American literature, genre literature, composition, and popular culture. Her scholarship tends to explore the intersections of teaching and popular culture.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Susan Fanetti
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 246
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8246-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4622-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction—Popular Romance in the 21st Century: Time to Claim Its Due
Susan Fanetti 1
Part One: Problematic Masculinities
Healing Toxic Masculinity in Sweatpants Season by Danielle Allen
Jonathan A. Allan 17
From Darcy to Dickheads: Why Do Women Love the Bad Boy?
Ashleigh Taylor Sullivan 31
Part Two: Navigating Consent After #MeToo
Tingles and Shivers: First Kisses and Intimate Civility in Eliza Redgold’s Historical Harlequin Romances Pre–and Post-#MeToo
Debra Dudek, Elizabeth Reid Boyd, Madalena Grobbelaar, and Rose Williams 47
I Thought You’d Never Ask: Consent in Contemporary Romance
Courtney Watson 62
Part Three: History and Historicity
“Say, could that lass be I?” Outlander, Transmedial ­Time-Travel, and Women’s Historical Fantasy
Ashley Elizabeth Christensen 79
“Place the glass before you, and draw in chalk your own picture”: The Recasting of Jane Eyre
Lucy Sheerman 97
Part Four: Representation Matters
“The Realness” in Jasmine Guillory’s Sista Lit Rom Com Novels
Camille S. Alexander 121
Eating Disorders and Romance
Ellen Carter 136
The “Grandly and Inhospitably Strange” World of Autistic Heroines in Romance Fiction
Wendy Wagner 150
Part Five: Romance Tropes and Social Status
Women Policing Whiteness: Deviance and Surveillance in Contemporary Police Procedural Romance
Nattie Golubov 167
“I’m a mehfil, I’m a gathering to which everyone is invited”: Reading “Outcast” Romances in Arundhati Roy’s Fiction
Lucky Issar 187
Part Six: Romance Tropes in Online Spaces
The System That Loves Me: The State of Human Existence in ­Web-Based Romantic Fiction from ­Post-Socialist China
Jin Feng 201
Original Slash, Romance, and C.S. Pacat’s Captive Prince
Maria Alberto 216
About the Contributors 233
Index 237