Encyclopedia of Contemporary French Culture

By Alex Hughes; Keith Reader | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Further reading

b
Bonitzer, P. (1991) Éric Rohmer, Paris: Cahiers du Cinéma (a subtle philosophical and thematic study).

m
Magny, J. (1995) Éric Rohmer, Paris: Rivages (includes a full and up-to-date filmography and bibliography).

romantic novels

Modern romantic novels (romans a l'eau de rose) comprise 15 per cent of all paperback sales in France. They are produced on a monthly basis to a standard format and length, much like magazines, and sell in supermarkets, railway station kiosks and corner shops as well as by mail order. Harlequin, owned by the Canadian media group Torstar, is the market leader and accounts for well over 60 per cent of sales of romantic novels. It began publication in 1978 with four novels per month and its translations of English-language contemporary romances were so successful that in six years it had reached a sales peak of 20 million books and a readership of 6 million. Harlequin's success stimulated emulation and a number of French publishers followed with locally written contemporary romances, notably J'Ai Lu (who also publish Barbara Cartland), Presses de la Cité, Jean-Claude Lattès and Tallendier.

The romantic novel is a love story, narrating the birth of an affective and sexual bond between a man and a woman. The narrative programme is organized by an initial meeting of the protagonists, usually producing a conflict between attraction and repulsion. There then follows the overcoming of obstacles, both internal and external, and a resolution which culminates in a happy ending. The roots of the theme can be traced back to Ancient Greek mythology, via medieval romances, the classics L'Astrée, La Princesse de Clèves, Manon Lescaut, The New Heloise (La Nouvelle Héloïse) and The Lady of the Camellias (La Dame aux camélias). Its modern form, however, is more usefully seen as emerging in the mass market for literature that developed in the course of the nineteenth century, in the roman-feuilleton (serial novel) appearing in the popular press, via Georges Ohnet's Le Maître de forges (The Ironmaster) and continued into this century by Delly, du Veuzit, Bernage, Magali and Anne and Serge Golon's Angélique, writers whose books dominated the field till the arrival of Harlequin. Thereafter, the dominant model of the successful romantic novel has been derived from the Anglo-Saxon world, originally based on the books of the UK publisher Mills and Boon. The bulk are based on the contemporary workplace, though recently the romantic novel publishers have added series that evoke detective fiction. The central focus of the narrative, however, remains the love conflict of the two main characters, although the social profile and position of the heroine, as well as sub-themes, evolve to reflect the constantly changing expectations and aspirations of women in our times.

GEORGE PAIZIS


Further reading

b
Bettinotti, J. (1990) La Corrida de l'amour, Montreal: XYZ (a study of Harlequins intended to discover how the texts function).

c
Coquillat, M. (1988) Romans d'amour, Paris: Odile Jacob (an attack on the contemporary romantic novel from a traditional feminist point of view).

p
Péquignot, B. (1991) La Relation amoureuse, Paris: L'Harmattan (a sociological study of the modern genre).

l
Le Roman sentimental, actes du colloque (1990/1) 2 vols, Limoges: PULIM (a variety of articles on romantic fiction).

Ronis, Willy

b. 1910, Paris;

d. 1972, Paris

Photographer

-474-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Encyclopedia of Contemporary French Culture
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 619

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?