By Jayashree Kamblé

Regardless of pioneering experiences, the time period 'romance novel' itself has now not been subjected to scrutiny. This publication examines mass-market romance fiction within the U.K., Canada, and the U.S. via 4 different types: capitalism, warfare, heterosexuality, and white Protestantism and casts a clean mild at the style.

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Extra resources for Making Meaning in Popular Romance Fiction: An Epistemology

Sample text

It needs a set of conditions that allow the story to be “romantic,” that is desirable and pleasing and erotic, conditions that are constantly changing because what is “romantic” is always changing, albeit slowly; sediments of former traits, that is, recessive traits, remain in most “romance novels”: in When Strangers Marry, Max is still scary and Noeline and other black characters are still enslaved. Yet the romance strand has adapted itself significantly, reflecting in its self-policing a constant awareness of sociopolitical environmental shifts.

These plots did serve as the first models for romance publishing in the United States and the emphasis on the rich man/working woman dynamic has since been a prominent feature of American romance publishing. American contemporary romance in lines such as Silhouette, Candlelight, and Loveswept thus directly explored the contemporary economic reality of the United States as well. Avon and other imprints did, however, diverge from Harlequin Mills and Boon contemporary romances and created the historical romance subgenre as it exists today.

McAleer’s recounting of this period is also striking in that the various people he quotes repeatedly refer to Mills and Boon as a woman wooed or pursued by male firms, a real-life drama that is reenacted in the plots of novels like Lamb’s Possession. For instance, he reports that the Times quoted John Boon equating the firm’s pursuit by buyers to “being the only woman on a Klondike” (137). This feminization of Mills and Boon in the face of overtures by bigger firms is a reminder that the symbolic act of plotting novels in which the heroines (and their families) encounter big business not only narrates a predominant economic climate but also participates in it.

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