Book 41: A Natural History of the Romance Novel

TITLE: A Natural History of the Romance Novel
AUTHOR: Pamela Regis
STARTED: I have no idea.
FINISHED: July 24, 2007
PAGES: 225
GENRE: Books about Books

FIRST SENTENCE: This book defines the modern romance novel written in English and traces its development from 1740 through the 1990s.

SUMMARY: [From] The romance novel has the strange distinction of being the most popular but least respected of literary genres. While it remains consistently dominant in bookstores and on best-seller lists, it is also widely dismissed by the critical community. Scholars have alleged that romance novels help create subservient readers, who are largely women, by confining heroines to stories that ignore issues other than love and marriage.

Pamela Regis argues that such critical studies fail to take into consideration the personal choice of readers, offer any true definition of the romance novel, or discuss the nature and scope of the genre. Presenting the counterclaim that the romance novel does not enslave women but, on the contrary, is about celebrating freedom and joy, Regis offers a definition that provides critics with an expanded vocabulary for discussing a genre that is both classic and contemporary, sexy and entertaining.


THOUGHTS: This book made me even more interested in romance novels. I've always been a fan and knew they were more literature than trash, but Regis actually broke down the literary make-up for the romance novel. It was awesome.

I was grew more than a little bored when Regis decided to analyze book by book and author by author. When she was discussing romance novels as a genre, however, it was a fun read.

MISCELLANEOUS: My TBR list just keeps growing

RATING: 5/10 [Meh.]