Romance Scholarship

Scholars study popular romance from many disciplines. Learn about their work, including the study of romance worldwide and the establishment of the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance (IASPR).

What is Love? Center for the Book symposium draws crowds

From left, panelists in session “What Belongs in the Romance Canon?”: 
Susan Ostrov Weisser, Eric Selinger, Nicole Peeler, Beverly Jenkins, Len Barot/Radclyffe. Photo from Margaret Locke’s blog.

Missed the What Is Love? Romance in the Digital Age symposium? Find out what bloggers and journalists had to say about the event, hosted by the Center for the Book.

Writing mature love

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Jennifer Crusie says that the structure of romance novels makes it difficult for them to depict mature love. Rarely do novels cover a several year period, and so writers have to foreshadow a deeper connection than the infatuation that comes from the characters first…

Rewarding women

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The writing process is very different for men and women, says Jennifer Crusie. She compared men’s adventure novels with romance fiction and found a stark contrast between the two. Men’s novels set up women as inferior, while in romance novels, women were rewarded for…

Taking romance seriously

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The conventional wisdom is that women who read romance are “sad, bored housewives,” says Abby Zidle, Senior Editor of Pocket Books. But as a Ph.D candidate reading romance novels, that didn’t jive with her experience as a reader. So how does she square the…

Where women win

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Romance novels are often thought of as straightforward, where the heroine gets her happy ending. But Catherine Roach argues that, for a novel to be about a woman having a rounded and fulfilling life, it’s a transgressive act.

Crafting a persona

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Catherine Roach didn’t think her last name was particularly appealing for a romance writer. So she created a pen name that is a little more “romantic” and “exotic.” Here, she talks about what taking on a pen name can do for your writing and…

Teaching Fifty Shades of Grey

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Professor Jessie Matthews takes on Fifty Shades of Grey and its runaway popularity in her undergrad popular romance literature course.

The stigma of romance


In many business environments, women are held back by what is known as the glass ceiling, where men advance to higher positions faster. So what happens for males working in the female dominated environment of popular romance?

Smart people in romance


Jen Lois and Joanna Gregson set out to study romance writers and see what made the community unique. Along the way, they found that romance writers come from very different backgrounds than they expected.

Gender matters

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What makes the popular romance community so unique? Jen Lois and Joanna Gregson set out to study how writers construct their characters, but ended up finding a much more interesting story in how the romance community supports itself.