Imagine picking up a magazine from a friend’s coffee table. The title tells you it’s devoted to romance. You read one story, and then another, and then another. Some of the stories have happy endings, but others end in death, madness, or imprisonment. In some, the hero and heroine give up the chance to be together in order to uphold other ideals. These can’t all be romance stories! Where’s the HEA?
In the 19th century, publishers began printing mass-market “story papers” full of stories like these. How well did they sell? What did readers think of never knowing if a story would end in a wedding, a funeral, or the asylum? William Gleason looks at how these papers changed over time.
Paranormal novels let readers and writers explore real world differences through fantastic beings. Eric Selinger, DePaul University professor of English, on ways that paranormals let us pose difficult questions:
What makes a good paranormal read? Is it species or societies at odds? Characters who live among humans, but are somehow different? Imagining having psychic or magical abilities? What plots, characters, or features do you look for when you pick up a paranormal? Read More
William Gleason, professor of English at Princeton University, explores the idea of the tragic love story. In doing so, he questions the assumption that it has a greater value than the story that ends well.
Why do you think the tragic ending is given more cultural and critical weight than the happily ever after? Were you ever assigned a book with a happy ending in a middle school, high school, or non-genre fiction course? Read More
The nature of slavery broke families apart, and instilled great emotional yearnings. Darlene Clark Hine connects the importance of today’s African American romances to the cultural legacy of slavery and Reconstruction.
Do the romances you read connect to your genealogy in any way? Do you prefer ancestral settings? Do you feel that romances have the ability to heal or to address deep historical pain, be it in women’s rights, African American history, or any other field? Read More
I have developed a stock response. I smile and say, “What on earth is stopping you?” I know full well that writing romance, like writing any kind of fiction, is no holiday lark.
So when I decided to design a romance writing sequence of courses, I proposed them to the Graduate and Professional Studies division of my academic home, McDaniel College, because I knew that romance writing belonged where creative writing programs have long flourished—at the graduate level.
I also knew that the First Principles, McDaniel’s vision statement, which articulates my and my colleagues’ promise to ourselves that we will place our students at the center of a humane environment, coincides perfectly with the values of the romance community, one of Read More
Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel as inspiration? DePaul University professor of English Eric Selinger feels that paranormal fiction gives authors and readers the opportunity to think through ethics and politics of desire with higher stakes than in more realistic subgenres.
What do you think triggered the popularity of paranormal romance? Why do you (or don’t you) enjoy reading the subgenre? If you do, do you only read certain types of paranormal fiction—vampire, shapeshifter, demon, or something else? Read More
What my mother and I did not know 30 years ago was that a black world of love and romance waited to be discovered in the pages of early 20th-century black Read More
Many concerned citizens agonized over the undue influence wielded by sexual rebels, with their disregard for traditional Read More
Could you recognize love in another time or part of the world or even another subculture? DePaul University professor of English Eric Selinger ponders the wide variety of actions and thoughts encompassed within one word.
How do you define love? What’s required for you to read or view or feel something and accept it as love? Do you have family or acquaintances whose definitions seem different than your own? Read More