The Historical Romance

The Historical Romance

The Historical Romance

The Historical Romance

Synopsis

The Historical Romance explores the ways in which romance authors seek to represent our fantasies of life in the past. Examining how the cut-and-thrust swashbucklers of the 1930s gave way to female-orientated romances, Helen Hughes takes a comprehensive look at how romance authors have dealt with the turbulent question of female independence, and how traditional attitudes towards love, marriage and women's sexuality have been approached in more recent texts. Hughes also charts the ways in which the marketing of romance has developed, with the eventual explosion of the mass market and the blockbusting family sagas of the eighties. The Historical Romance unravels the formulaic and mythical nature of historical romance to provide a fascinating study of this highly popular genre.

Excerpt

There are many good reasons for studying popular fiction. The best, though, is that it matters. In the many and varied forms in which they are produced and circulated-by the cinema, broadcasting institutions and the publishing industry-popular fictions saturate the rhythms of everyday life. In doing so, they help to define our sense of our selves, shaping our desires, fantasies, imagined pasts and projected futures. An understanding of such fictions-of how they are produced and circulated, organized and received-is thus central to an understanding of our selves; of how these selves have been shaped and of how they might be changed.

This series is intended to contribute to such an understanding by providing a context in which different traditions and directions in the study of popular fiction might be brought into contact so as to interanimate one another. It will thus range across the institutions of cinema, broadcasting and publishing, seeking to illuminate both their respective specificities as well as the relations between them with a view to identifying the ways in which popular film, television and writing interact as parts of developed cultural technologies for the formation of subjectivities. Consideration of the generic properties of popular fiction will thus be situated within an analysis of their historical and institutional conditions of production and reception.

Similarly, the series will represent, and co-ordinate a debate between, the diverse political perspectives through which the study of popular fiction has been shaped and defined in recent years. Feminist studies of the part popular fictions play in the production of gendered subjectivities and relations; Marxist perspectives on the relations between popular fictions and class formations; popular fiction as a site for the reproduction and contestation of subordinate racial and national identities: in encompassing contributions from

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