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).

Misquoting the Bard

Oil on canvas, Ophelia, 1851-1852, John Everett Millais, Photo by Gandalf's Gallery, 7 April 2010, Flickr, creative commons

Shakespeare quotations (and misquotations) appear often in romance novels. Why? asks scholar Tamara Whyte.

True love’s kiss

Photo, T2i - Yellow frog, 21 April 2010, @Doug88888, Flickr, creative commons

Were fairy tales originally all that romantic? Not by modern standards, says scholar Linda J. Lee.

Myth in Mills and Boon

Sculpture, The Abduction of Proserpine by Pluto, François Girardon, Photo by austinevan, 14 August 2007, Flickr

Category romances can demonstrate sophisticated themes drawn from classical archetypes, says scholar Jayashree Kamble.

Hero or stalker?

Margaret Mahy, The Changeover, Magnet, 1994

How do we know if a hero’s being heroic–or creepy? Deborah Kaplan looks at Twilight (2005) and The Changeover (1984).

Nora, most popular of all

Digital collage, Nora Roberts' Covers, Vision in White, Bed of Roses, The Next Always, Collage by Popular Romance Project, Publishers: Berkley Trade

Nora Roberts’ novels are such a success because Roberts captures a basic optimism about human relationships, says scholar An Goris.

Pamela as precedent

Samuel Richardson, Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded, British Library, 1740-1

Pamela Regis set out to track the romance novel’s history, from Samuel Richardson’s Pamela to the present day.

Medieval romance

Miniature, Herr Werner von Teufen, 69r, Große Heidelberger Liederhandschrift, c. 1300-1340, University Library Heidelberg

The medieval romance and the modern romance novel have more than a few points in common, according to scholar Amy Burge.

Male virginity

Yosuke Muroya, "Unicorn," Flickr, 2012.

As the number of virgin heroines in romance novels decreases, is the number of romance heroes rising?

Austen, romance novelist

Engraving, J. Austen, c. 1873, Johnson Wilson & Co., Publishers, Library of Congress

Was Jane Austen a romance author? Yes, says scholar and editor Sarah Frantz.

More than the happily ever after

Illustration, He Must Have Died if the Little Mermaid Had Not Come to His Rescue, 1911, Edmund Dulac

If all romances have a happy ending, the argument goes, what’s the point of reading them? Scholar Sarah E. Frantz answers.