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Encyclopedia > Romance novel

A romance novel is a literary genre developed in Western culture, mainly in English-speaking countries. To be considered a part of the romance genre, a novel should place its primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people, and must have an "emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending."[1] These novels come in two main types, category romances, which are shorter books with a one-month shelf-life, and single-title romances, which are generally longer with a longer shelf-life. Separate from their type, a romance novel can exist within one of many subgenres, including contemporary, historical, and paranormal. Look up genre in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Leonardo da Vincis Vitruvian Man, for many a symbol of the changes of the Western culture during the Renaissance Western culture or Western civilization is a term used to generally refer to most of the cultures of European origin and most of their descendants. ... A novel (from French nouvelle Italian novella, new) is an extended, generally fictional narrative, typically in prose. ... Note: This article primarily discusses philosophical ideologies in relation to the subject of romantic love. ...

Contents

Definition

According to the Romance Writers of America, the main plot of a romance novel must revolve around the two people as they develop romantic love for each other and work to build a relationship together. Both the conflict and the climax of the novel should be directly related to that core theme of developing a romantic relationship, although the novel can also contain subplots that do not specifically relate to the main characters' romantic love. Furthermore, a romance novel must have an "emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending."[1] In general, romance novels reward characters who are good people and penalize those who are evil, and a couple who fights for and believes in their relationship will likely be rewarded with unconditional love.[1] Bestselling author Nora Roberts sums up the genre, saying "The books are about the celebration of falling in love and emotion and commitment, and all of those things we really want."[2] These books differ from women's fiction (including chick lit) in one major way -- in a romance novel the relationship between the hero and heroine is at the core of the story, while in women's fiction the heroine's relationship with her family or friends may be equally as important.[3] Romance Writers of America (RWA) is a national non-profit genre writers association. ... A subplot is a series of connected actions within a work of narrative that function separately from the main plot. ... Eleanor Marie Robertson (b. ... Womens fiction is a wide-ranging genre that includes various types of novels one expects would appeal more to women than men. ... Chick lit is a term used to denote genre fiction written for and marketed to young women, especially single, working women in their twenties and thirties. ...


Some romance novel authors and readers believe the genre has additional restrictions, from plot considerations such as the protagonists meeting early on in the story, to avoiding themes such as adultery. Other disagreements have centered on the firm requirement for a happy ending, or the place of same-sex relationships within the genre. Some readers admit stories without a happy ending, if the focus of the story is on the romantic love between the two main characters (e.g. Romeo and Juliet). Others believe the definition should be more strictly worded to include only heterosexual pairing. While the majority of romance novels meet the stricter criteria, there are also many books that are widely considered to be romance novels that deviate from these rules. Therefore, the general definition, as embraced by the RWA and publishers, includes only the focus on a developing romantic relationship and an optimistic ending. [4][5] The protagonist is the central figure of a story, and is often referred to as a storys main character. ... Adultery is voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a partner other than the lawful spouse. ... Note: This article primarily discusses philosophical ideologies in relation to the subject of romantic love. ... Image:Manny and Promil brown. ... Heterosexuality is a sexual orientation characterized by esthetic attraction, romantic love or sexual desire exclusively for members of the opposite sex or gender, contrasted with homosexuality and distinguished from bisexuality and asexuality. ...


As long as a romance novel meets that twin criteria, it can be set in any time period and in any location. There are no specific restrictions on what can or cannot be included in a romance novel.[1] Even very controversial subjects are addressed in romance novels, including topics such as date rape, domestic violence, addiction, and disability.[6] The combination of time frame, location, and plot elements does, however, help a novel to fit into one of several romance subgenres.[1] Despite the numerous possibilities this framework allows, many people in the mainstream press claim that "all [romance novels] seem to read alike."[7]


Romance novels are sometimes referred to as "smut" or female porn.[8][9] While some romance novels do contain more erotic acts, in other romance novels the characters do no more than kiss chastely. The romance genre runs the spectrum between these two extremes.[10] Because the vast majority of the romance novel audience are women, most romance novels are told from a woman's viewpoint, in either first or third person.[11] First-person narrative is a literary technique in which the story is narrated by one or more of the characters, who explicitly refers to him or herself in the first person, that is, I. The narrator is thus directly or indirectly involved in the story being told. ... The Narrator is the entity within a story that tells the story to the reader. ...


Others believe that all romance novels are similar to those of Danielle Steel, featuring rich, glamorous people traveling to exotic locations.[12] Many romance readers disagree that Steel writes romance at all, considering her novels more mainstream.[13] Danielle Steel (born Danielle Fernande Schuelein-Steel on August 14, 1947 in New York City, New York) is one of the best-selling authors in the United States. ...


Formats

Romance novels are divided into two sub-sets, category romances, also known as series romances, and single title romances.[1] Many authors write only within one of the formats, but others, including Jayne Ann Krentz and Jennifer Crusie, have achieved success in both formats.[14] Jayne Ann Castle Krentz was born in 1948 and is an American writer of romance novels. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...


Category romance

Category romances are short (usually no more than 200 pages).[15] The books are published in clearly delineated lines, with a certain number of books published in each line every month. In many cases, the books are numbered sequentially within the line.[1] These novels have widespread distribution--often worldwide--but a single U.S. print run, remaining on a bookseller's shelves until they are sold out or until the next month's titles are released and take their place.[14] Writers for the largest publisher of category romance, Harlequin/Mills & Boon, can find their novels translated into twenty-six languages and sold in over 100 international markets.[16] Harlequin Enterprises Limited is a Toronto, Ontario-based company that is the worlds leading publisher of series romance and womens fiction. ...


Category romance lines each have a distinct identity which may involve similar settings, characters, time periods, levels of sensuality, or types of conflict. Publishers of category romances usually issue guidelines for each line, specifying the elements necessary for a novel to be included in each line.[17][18] Depending on the current market and perceived reader preferences, publishers frequently begin new lines or end existing ones. Most recently, erotic and Christian lines have been introduced while traditional Regency romance lines have ended.[19]


The publishing house Harlequin Enterprises Ltd, conventionally referred to as Harlequin/Silhouette, along with its British arm Mills and Boon, is best-known for publishing category romances. As of 2007, Harlequin was the largest publisher of category romance in the world, releasing 500 titles each month in 25 different languages, representing every major market in the world. Harlequin Enterprises Limited is a Toronto, Ontario-based company that is the worlds leading publisher of series romance and womens fiction. ... Mills & Boon is a British publisher of romance novels, part of Harlequin Mills & Boon Ltd. ...


Other publishers, including Avalon and Avon, also release category romance novels. Some publishers of ethnic romances also publish in monthly series.[20] Avon is a paperback imprint of HarperCollins. ...


Single title romances

Romance novels which are not published as part of a publisher's category are known as single-title novels. These novels are longer than category romances and average around 350 to 400 pages.[15] Publishers may release the novels over a shorter space of time for sales velocity and publicity reasons, but on average authors write 1.5 novels per year and have one each year published.[3][21]. Single-title novels remain on the booksellers' shelves at the discretion of the store.[22]


Despite their name, single-title novels are not always stand-alone novels. Some authors prefer to write several interconnected books, ranging in number from trilogies to long-running series, so that they can revisit characters or worlds. Such sets of books often have similar titles, and may be labelled as "Number 1 in the XXX Series", but they are not considered series romances because they are not part of a particular line.[23]


Currently, there are several large houses publishing romances, including Avon Books, an imprint of the HarperCollins publishing house. The following are the largest publishers of single title romance novels, in term of the number of titles published in 2002: Avon is a paperback imprint of HarperCollins. ... HarperCollins is a publishing company owned by Rupert Murdochs News Corporation. ...

Harlequin also publishes some single title romances under its HQN, Signature, Silhouette, and Mira imprints. Headquartered in the legendary Flatiron Building in New York City, St. ... Kensington Books is the largest publisher in the United States that is not considered one of the six major publishers. ... It has been suggested that Penguin Modern Poets, Penguin Great Ideas be merged into this article or section. ... Dorchester Publishing has been involved in the publishing of mass market books since 1971, making Dorchester the oldest independent mass market publisher in America. ... // Random House is a publishing house based in New York City. ... HarperCollins is a publishing company owned by Rupert Murdochs News Corporation. ...


SubGenres

Because the definition of a romance novel does not limit the types of plot devices, time frames, or locations that can be included, the genre has grown to encompass a wide variety of material and spawned multiple sub-genres. Sub-genres of romance are often closely related to other literature genres, and some books could be considered a romance <subgenre> novel and <another genre> novel at the same time. For example, romantic suspense novels are often similar to mysteries, crime fiction and thrillers, and paranormal romances use elements popular in science fiction and fantasy novels. Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes Detective fiction is a branch of crime fiction that centers upon the investigation of a crime, usually murder, by a detective, either professional or amateur. ... Sherlock Holmes, pipe-puffing hero of crime fiction, confers with his colleague Dr. Watson; together these characters popularized the genre. ... The thriller is a broad genre of literature, film, and television. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ...


The primary subgenres of the romance novel include:


Contemporary romance

Contemporary romance, which is set after World War II.[24] Chick lit often falls under contemporary romance.[citation needed] Over half of the romantic fiction published in 2004 (1468 out of 2,285 books) were contemporary romance novels.[25] Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Chick lit is a term used to denote genre fiction written for and marketed to young women, especially single, working women in their twenties and thirties. ...


Contemporary romance novels have twice been chosen by Kelly Ripa to be featured in her Reading with Ripa book club.[26] Kelly Maria Ripa (born October 2, 1970 in Stratford, New Jersey) is an American Daytime Emmy Award winning actress and talk show host. ...


Historical romance

Main article: Historical romance

Historical romance is set before World War I.[24] This subgenre includes a wide variety of other subgenres, including Regency romance. Historical romance novels are rarely published in hardcover, with fewer than 15 receiving that status each year. The contemporary market usually see 4 to 5 times that many hardcovers. Because historical romances are primarily published in mass-market format, their fortunes are tied to a certain extent to the mass-market trends. Booksellers and large merchandisers are selling fewer mass market paperbacks, preferring trade paperbacks or hardcovers, which prevent historical romances from being sold in some price clubs and other mass merchandise outlets.[27] Historical romance is a subgenre of the romance novel literary genre. ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ... Regency romances are a subgenre of romance novels set during the period of the English Regency or early 19th century. ...


In 2001, historical romance reached a 10-year high as 778 were published. By 2004, that number had dropped to 486, which was still 20% of all romance novels published. Kensington Books claims that they are receiving fewer submissions of historical novels, and that their previously published authors are switiching to contemporary.[27][25]


Romantic suspense

Romantic suspense involves an intrigue or mystery for the protagonists to solve.[24] Typically, however, the heroine is the victim of a crime or attempted crime, and works with a hero, who tends to be in a field where he would serve as a protector, such as a police officer, FBI agent, bodyguard, or Navy SEAL.[28][29] By the end of the novel, the mystery is resolved and the interaction between the hero and heroine has evolved into a solid relationship.[28] These novels primarily take place in contemporary times, but authors such as Amanda Quick have broadened the genre to also include historical timeframes.[30] The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is a federal criminal investigative, intelligence agency, and the primary investigative arm of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). ... SEALs in from the water. ... Jayne Ann Krentz is an American author of romantic novels. ...


Like all romances, romantic suspense novels must places the development of a relationship between the protagonists at the heart of the story. The relationship "must impact each decision they make and increase the tension of the suspense as it propel the story. In turn, the events of suspense must also directly affect the relationship and move the story forward."[31]


Romantic suspense novels tend to have more "clean" language, without the "emotional, intimate" descriptions often used in more traditional romances.[31] Because the mystery is a crucial aspect of the plot, these novels are more plot-driven instead of character-driven.[31]


Paranormal romance

Paranormal romance blends the real with the fantastic. The fantastic elements may be woven into an alternate version of our own world in an urban fantasy involving vampires, demons, and/or werewolves, or they may be more "normal" manifestations of the paranormal--humans with psychic abilities, witches, or ghosts. Time-travel, futuristic, and extraterrestial romances also fall beneath the paranormal umbrella. [24] [32] Paranormal romance is a literary subgenre of speculative fiction, blending together themes from the genres of traditional fantasy, science fiction, or horror. ... Contemporary fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy, also known as contemporary urban fantasy, modern-day fantasy, or indigenous fantasy. ... Philip Burne-Jones, The Vampire, 1897 Vampires are mythological or folkloric beings that subsist on human and/or animal lifeforce. ... An artists interpretation of a ghostly woman on a flight of stairs, based on common descriptions A ghost is usually defined as the apparition of a deceased person, frequently similar in appearance to that person, and encountered in places he or she frequented, or in association with the person... Unsolved problems in physics: Is time travel theoretically and practically possible? If so, how can paradoxes such as the grandfather paradox be avoided? Time travel is the concept of moving backwards and forwards to different points in time, in a manner analogous to moving through space. ...


These novels often blend elements of other subgenres--including suspense, mystery, or chick lit--with their fantastic themes.[33] A few paranormals are set solely in the past and are structured much like any historical romance novel. Others are set in the future, sometimes on different worlds. Still others have a time-travel element with either the hero or the heroine traveling into the past or the future.[5] Between 2002 and 2004, the number of paranormal romances published in the United States doubled to 170 per year. A popular title in the genre can sell over 500,000 copies.[34]


As in the science fiction subgenre of urban fantasy, many paranormal romances rely on the blend of contemporary American life with the existence of supernatural or magically-empowered beings, human or otherwise; sometimes the larger culture is aware of the magical in its midst, sometimees it isn't. Some paranormal romances focus less on the specifics of their alternative worlds than do traditional science fiction or fantasy novels, keeping the attention strongly on the underlying romance.[30] Others develop the alternate reality meticulously, combining well-planned magical systems and inhuman cultures with contemporary reality. Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... Contemporary fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy, also known as contemporary urban fantasy, modern-day fantasy, or indigenous fantasy. ...


The first futuristic romance, Jayne Ann Krentz's Sweet Starfire, was published in 1986 and was a "classic road trip romance" which just happened to be set in a separate galaxy.[35] This genre has become much more popular since 2000. Krentz attributes the popularity of this subgenre to the fact that the novels "are, at heart, classic historical romances that just happen to be set on other worlds."[35] Jayne Ann Castle Krentz was born in 1948 and is an American writer of romance novels. ...


Time-travel romances are a version of the classic "fish out of water" story. In most, the heroine is from the present day and travels into the past to meet the hero. In a smaller subset of these novels, the hero, who lives in the past, travels forward into his future to meet the heroine. A successful time-travel romance must have the characters react logically to their experience, and should investigate some of the differences, both physical and mental, between the world the character normally inhabits and the one in which they have landed. Some writers choose to end their novels with the protagonists trapped in different time periods and unable to be together--to the displeasure of many readers of the genre.[36]


Inspirational romance

Inspirational romance, as the market exists today, combines explicitly Christian themes with the development of a romantic relationship. [24] In 2004, 167 novels were published in the inspirational romance subgenre.[25] These novels typically do not include gratuitous violence or swearing, and the central courtship is chaste. Sex, if it is present at all, occurs after marriage and is not explicitly detailed. Many novels in this genre also focus on the hero or heroine's faith, turning the love story into "a triangle: the man and the woman and also their relationship with God."[37] Themes such as forgiveness, honesty, and fidelity are common.[38] Christian literature is writing that deals Christian themes and incorporates the Christian worldview. ...


The first line of series inspirational romances debuted shortly after the 1980 U.S. presidential election, when Silhouette launched their Silhouette Inspirations line. The books were aimed at born-again Christians and were marketed in religious bookstores. The line was closed after Harlequin acquired Silhouette in 1984 because it was not profitable.[39] Presidential electoral votes by state. ... Born again is a term used originally and mainly in Christianity, where it is associated with salvation, conversion and spiritual rebirth. ...


Multicultural romance

Multicultural romance typically features a hero and/or heroine who is African-American, although some multicultural lines also include Asian or Hispanic heroes or heroines or interracial relationships.[40] The first line of multicultural romance novels, Arabesque, was launched by Kensington books in 1994. BET Books purchased the line in 1998, and the number of new authors that they publish has continued to expand each year. BET has also developed some of the Arabesque novels into made-for-television movies.[41] Languages Predominantly American English Religions Protestantism (chiefly Baptist and Methodist); Roman Catholicism; Islam Related ethnic groups Sub-Saharan Africans and other African groups, some with Native American groups. ... An interracial couple is a romantic couple or marriage in which the partners are of differing races. ...


Although romance novels featuring African-Americans and Hispanic protagonists are becoming more popular, those featuring Asian or Asian-American characters are rare. Author Tess Gerritsen believes this is due to the fact that there are fewer Asian-American women who read romances; "We read romances because we want to feel good about love...in order to do that, the reader must identify with the heroine." [42] Tess Gerritsen is a physician as well as an international and New York Times-bestselling thriller writer. ...


Erotic Romance

Erotic romance, sometimes called romantica, is a blend of romance and erotica. These books are predominantly romance novels that are characterized by strong sexual content, but can contain elements of any of the other romance subgenres. Erotic romance novels tend to use more frank language, avoiding many of the euphemisms used in books with milder content. These novels also usually include more sex scenes, often focusing more on the sex act rather than being a more traditional love scene, and may include more unusual positions or acts.[43] Despite a greater emphasis on the sex scenes, however, erotic romance is not to be confused with pornography. While pornography would concentrate solely on the sex acts, erotica novels include well-developed characters and a plot which could exist without the sex acts.[44] For the album by Madonna, see Erotica (album). ... Porn redirects here. ...


Erotic romances also tend to be shorter than single-title novels. Some of these are published as part of a category, such as Harlequin Blaze, while others are published as part of an anthology and are only novella length. Even single-title erotic romances may be as short as a novella, however.[45]


Many of the publishers of erotic romance are either small press publishers or electronic book publishers. Writers often have more leeway in what types of erotic acts can be included when working with an electronic publisher than they would have working with a print publisher. Some subjects are still considered taboo, even with erotic romance. Themes such as pedolphilia, incest, and bestiality are discouraged by all publishers.[45] The Dun Emer Press in 1903 with Elizabeth Yeats working the hand press Small press is a term often used to describe publishers who typically specialize in genre fiction, or limited edition books or magazines. ... An ebook is an electronic (or digital) version of a book. ...


The market for erotic romances has been growing rapidly. Ellora's Cave, an electronic publisher which focuses on erotic romance, became the first electronic publisher to be recognized by the Romance Writers of America as a legitimate publisher.[44]


History of the romance novel

The earliest English novels in this genre appeared in the 19th century. Pride and Prejudice (1813) by Jane Austen, Wuthering Heights (1847) by Emily Brontë, and Jane Eyre (1847) by Charlotte Brontë are highly-regarded as classic romantic novels.[3] Pride and Prejudice, see Pride and Prejudice (film). ... 1873 engraving of Jane Austen, based on a portrait drawn by her sister Cassandra. ... Wuthering Heights is Emily Brontës only novel. ... Emily Jane Brontë (July 30, 1818 – December 19, 1848) was a British novelist and poet, now best remembered for her only novel Wuthering Heights, a classic of English literature. ... Jane Eyre is a classic novel by Charlotte Brontë that was published in 1847 by Smith, Elder & Company, London, and is one of the most famous British novels. ... Charlotte Brontë (IPA: ) (April 21, 1816 – March 31, 1855) was an English novelist and the eldest of the three Brontë sisters whose novels have become enduring classics of English literature. ...


Romance novels can also trace their roots back to gothic novels, if not to the idea of the "Roman" itself through the romance (genre), a heroic prose and narrative form of medieval/Renaissance Europe. Ann Radcliffe's gothic novels influenced writers ranging from Jane Austen (who parodied it in her Northanger Abbey), Charles Dickens, and the Brontës. Strawberry Hill, an English villa in the Gothic revival style, built by seminal Gothic writer Horace Walpole The gothic novel was a literary genre that belonged to Romanticism and began in the United Kingdom with The Castle of Otranto (1764) by Horace Walpole. ... As a literary genre, romance or chivalric romance refers to a style of heroic prose and verse narrative current in Europe from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. ... This article is about the 19th-century author. ... 1873 engraving of Jane Austen, based on a portrait drawn by her sister Cassandra. ... For films named Northanger Abbey, see Northanger Abbey (1986 film). ... “Dickens” redirects here. ... The Brontë sisters, painted by their brother, Branwell c. ...


Rise of the category romance

In the 1930s, Mills and Boon began releasing hardback romance novels. The books were sold through weekly two-penny libraries and were known as "the books in brown" for their brown binding. In the 1950s, the company began offering the books for sale through newsagents across the United Kingdom.[46]


A Canadian company, Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd., began distributing the category romances published by Mills and Boon in the British Commonwealth in North American in 1957. These novels were short and formulaic, featuring heroines who were sweet, compassionate, pure and innocent. The few heroines who worked did so in traditional female jobs, including as nurses, governesses and secretaries. Intimacy in the novels never extended beyond a chaste kiss between the protagonists.[47] Flag of the Commonwealth of Nations The Commonwealth of Nations is a voluntary association of independent sovereign states, most of which were once governed by the United Kingdom and are its former colonies. ... // A nurse is a health care professional who is engaged in the practice of nursing. ... A governess is a female employee from outside of the family who teaches children within the family circle. ... A secretary is either an administrative assistant in business office administration, or a certain type of mid- or high-level governmental position, such as a Secretary of State. ...


Birth of modern romance

Kathleen Woodiwiss's The Flame and the Flower
Kathleen Woodiwiss's The Flame and the Flower

The modern romance genre was born in 1972 with Avon's publication of Kathleen Woodiwiss's The Flame and the Flower, the first romance novel "to [follow] the principals into the bedroom."[48][49] Aside from its content, the book was revolutionary in that it was one of the first single-title romance novels to be published as an original paperback, rather than being first published in hardcover, and, like the category romances, was distributed in drug stores and other mass-market merchandising outlets.[50] The novel went on to sell 2.35 million copies.[51] Avon followed its release with the 1974 publication of Woodiwiss's second novel, The Wolf and the Dove and two novels by newcomer Rosemary Rogers. One of Rogers's novels, Dark Fires sold two million copies in its first three months of release, and, by 1975, Publishers Weekly had reported that the "Avon originals" had sold a combined 8 million copies.[50] The following year over 150 historical romance novels, many of them paperback originals, were published, selling over 40 million copies.[51] Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Kathleen Erin Hogg Woodiwiss (born June 3, 1939 in Alexandria, Louisiana) created the historical romance genre as Kathleen E. Woodiwiss with the 1972 publication of her novel The Flame and the Flower. ... Avon is a paperback imprint of HarperCollins. ... Kathleen Erin Hogg Woodiwiss (born June 3, 1939 in Alexandria, Louisiana) created the historical romance genre as Kathleen E. Woodiwiss with the 1972 publication of her novel The Flame and the Flower. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Rosemary Jansz Navaratnam Rogers (b. ...


The success of these novels prompted a new style of writing romance, concentrating primarily on historical fiction tracking the monogamous relationship between a helpless heroines and the hero who rescued her, even if he had been the one to place her in danger.[6] The covers of these novels tended to feature scantily clad women being grabbed by the hero, and caused the novels to be referred to as "bodice-rippers."[48] A Wall St. Journal article in 1980 referred to these bodice rippers as "publishing's answer to the Big Mac: They are juicy, cheap, predictable, and devoured in stupifying quantities by legions of loyal fans."[52] The term bodice-ripper is now considered offensive to many in the romance industry.[48] The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) is an influential international daily newspaper published by Dow Jones & Company in New York City, New York with Asian and European editions, and a worldwide daily circulation of more than 2 million as of 2006, with 931,000 paying online subscribers [2]. It was the...


In this new style of historical romance, heroines were independent and strong-willed and were often paired with heroes who evolved into caring and compassionate men who truly admired the women they loved.[53] This was in contrast to the contemporary romances published during this time, which were often characterized by weak females who fell in love with overbearing alpha males.[54] Although these heroines had active roles in the plot, they were "passive in relationships with the heroes."[55] Across the genre, heroines during this time were usually aged 16-21, with the heroes slightly older, usually around 30. The women were virgins, while the men were not, and both members of the couple were described as beautiful.[56] An alpha male or alpha female is the individual in the community to whom the others follow and defer. ... A virgin is most commonly seen as a person who has not engaged in sexual intercourse. ...


Category romance adapts

Category romance lines were slower to react to some of the changes that had swept the historical romance subgenre. Harlequin acquired the majority stake in Mills & Boon in 1972 and immediately began their own form of mass-merchandising. By choosing to sell their books "where the women are", they allowed many mass-market merchandisers and even supermarkets to sell the books, all of which were exactly 192 pages. Harlequin then began a reader service, selling directly to readers who agreed to purchase a certain number of books each month. Despite the fact that the former Mills & Boon lines were now owned by North American company, the lines did not have any American writers until 1987, when they began publishing works by Janet Dailey.[57] Harlequin Enterprises Limited is a Toronto, Ontario-based company that is the worlds leading publisher of series romance and womens fiction. ... Political highlights of North America North America is the third largest continent in area and the fourth ranked in population. ... Janet Dailey (born May 21, 1944 in Storm Lake, Iowa) is a popular American author of romance novels. ...

The first release Dell Candlelight Ecstasy category.
The first release Dell Candlelight Ecstasy category.

Harlequin had failed to adapt quickly to the signs that readers appreciated novels with more explicit sex scenes, and in 1980, several publishers entered the category romance market to fill that gap. That year, Dell launched their Candlelight Ecstasy line with Amii Lorin's The Tawny Gold Man, becoming the first line to waive the requirement that heroines be virginal. By the end of 1983 sales for the Candlelight Ecstasy line totaled $30 million. Silhoeutte also launched similar lines, Desire and Special Edition, each of which had a 90-100% sellout rate each month.[58] Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Joan Hohl (b. ...


A 1982 survey of romance readers confirmed that the new style of writing was attracting new readers to the genre. 35% of the readers surveyed had begun reading romances after 1977. An additional 31% of those surveyed had been readers for between 6 and 10 years, meaning they had become interested in the genre after 1972, when Woodiwiss's revolutionary novel was published. This means that two-thirds of those surveyed joined the genre after it had begun to change.[59]


The sudden increase in category romance lines meant an equally sudden increase in demand for writers of the new style of romance novel. This tight market caused a proportionate decrease in the quality of the novels that were being released. By 1984, the market was saturated with category lines and readers had begun to complain of redundancy in plots.[60] The following year, the "dampening effect of the high level of redundancy associated with series romances was evident in the decreased number of titles being read per month."[61] Harlequin's return rate, which had been less than 25% in 1978, when it was the primary provider of category romance, swelled to 60%.[62]


Further change

The genre continued to expand in the mid-to-late 1980s, as publishers realized that the more popular authors were often those who stretched the boundaries of the genre. A 1984 novel by LaVyrle Spencer featured an overweight, middle-aged hero who had to make drastic changes to his lifestyle to win the heroine, while a 1987 Dailey novel involved an ugly hero and a heroine who was searching for her birth mother.[63] Jayne Ann Krentz's 1986 novel Sweet Starfire became the first futuristic romance, combining elements of traditional romance novels and science fiction.[35] By the 1990s, the genre had grown enough that it was rare to see a book which featured a man raping his future wife.[54] LaVyrle Spencer (born 1944 in Browerville, Minnesota) is a U.S.American best-selling author of contemporary and historical romance novels. ... Jayne Ann Castle Krentz was born in 1948 and is an American writer of romance novels. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ...

A Knight in Shining Armor, the first book to published by a romance author transitioning from mass-market originals to hardback. The cover uses the new landscape cover style.
A Knight in Shining Armor, the first book to published by a romance author transitioning from mass-market originals to hardback. The cover uses the new landscape cover style.

In the mid-to-late 1980s, contemporary romances began to feature women in more male-dominated jobs, such as offshore oil rigs and the space program. By the early 1990s, the pendulum had swung back to feature heroines who were self-employed. The age range of heroines also began to expand, so that books began to feature women who had already reached 30 and even 40. Heroes also changed, with some authors veering towards a more sensitive man. Despite the broadening of some aspects of the plot, other taboos remained, and publishers discouraged authors from writing about controversial subjects such as terrorism, warfare, and masculine sports.[64] Romance novels began to contain more humor beginning in the 1990s, as Julie Garwood began introducing a great deal of humor into her historical romances.[65] Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... This article needs to be wikified. ...


The romance novel began to expand in other ways as well.[66] In 1989, author Jude Deveraux became the first romance author to transition from writing original mass market paperbacks to being published in hardcover. Her novel, A Knight in Shining Armor, "became a natural bestseller."[3] Several authors found success writing single-title romances set in contemporary times, and publishing houses began to encourage the growth in the genre. Because the novels were set in modern times, they could include more of the elements that modern women could relate to, and soon began to touch on themes such as single parenthood, adoption, and abuse.[66] Jude Deveraux (born September 20, 1947 as Jude Gilliam White) is a Romance novel author who is well-known for her historical romance. ...


By 2000, the covers had begun to evolve from featuring a scantily clad couple to instead showing a view of the landscape featured in the novel.[3]


As women have become more successful in real life, so have their fictional counterparts. In the earliest Harlequin romance novels, heroines were typically nurses and secretaries. As time as passed and women have entered the workforce in larger numbers, romance heroines have spanned the career spectrum.[67] Modern romance novels now feature more balanced relationships between men and women.[6]


Markets

North America

The romance fiction market "has been impervious to the overall economic recession, with faithful readers spending up to $40 a month" on romance novels in 1982.[68] That year, paperback romances totaled $300 million in sales, and the total audience was estimated at 20 million readers. A survey of 600 regular romance readers the same year "found that they mirror the general population in age, education, and marital and socioeconomic status." Over half of the women had at least some college education, and 40% were employed full-time. 60% of the women surveyed read at least one romance every two days. The women admitted to reading romances as an antidote to stress, for mental escape, and to learn about history and new careers.[69]


The romance novel market continued to expand, so that by 1991, they comprised 46% of all mass market paperbacks sold in the US. This expansion was due in part to voracious readers, with over half of Harlequin's customers purchasing 30 novels per month. By this time, the romance novel audience had become more educated, with 45% having a college degree, and more than half of the audience worked outside the home. [70]


By the 2000s, romance had become the most popular genre in modern literature. In 2004, romantic fiction generated $1.2 billion in sales, with 2,285 romance novels published. Almost 55% of all paperback books sold in 2004 were romance novels, and this genre made up 39% of all fiction sold that year. Over 64 million people claimed to have read at least one romance novel in 2004, according to a Romance Writers of America study, a 26% increase over their 2001 study. Twenty-two percent of romance readers identified themselves as male, and the romance readers were split evenly between people who were married and those who were single. People of all ages read romance novels, with one percent of readers younger than 13, and forty-two percent of them have at least a bachelor's degree.[25] To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ...


International markets

Harlequin sells more than 4 books per second, half of them internationally. Author Heather Graham attributes this to the fact that "emotions translate easily." [71] In the United Kingdom, over 20% of all fiction books sold each year are romance novels.[72] Although romance novels are translated into over 90 languages,[49] the majority of authors of these works are from Great Britain, the United States, Canada, or, to a lesser extent, Australia.[73] Even in France, where over 12 million romance novels are sold each year, all of the books are translations.[49] This leads to a more Anglo-Saxon perspective in the fiction, which at times can be much less successful in a European market. Although Italy is the strongest foreign market for the chick lit sold by single-title imprint Red Dress Ink, in that country romance readers do not care to read books about cowboys, as this type of occupation was not common in their culture. The paranormal romance genre is not popular in countries such as Poland and Russia, although historical romance tends to be very successful.[73] Inspirational romance does not sell well in Europe, where romances that feature babies are very popular.[49] For the author, see Heather Graham Pozzessere. ... Languages English Religions Christianity (Anglicanism, Roman Catholicism and other minority denominations), and other faiths. ... For other uses, see Cowboy (disambiguation). ...


Some publishing companies in Germany refuse to allow their romance authors to use their own names, fearing that the German audience will not buy a romance novel that does not have an American pseudonym. German readers enjoy reading more erotic romance novels,[73] and some German translations of English romance novels expand or insert love scenes into otherwise tame stories. The alternate scenario also occurs, as other German translators censor the love scenes.[74]


In 2004, sales of romance novels in Australia increased 28% over the year before. Between 1999 and 2004 there was an increase of 40-50% in the number of new titles released. harlequin received 20,000 unsolicited manuscripts each year.[75]


Genre criticisms

The romance genre is one of the few to have a "cultural stigma", with some dedicated readers even embarrassed to admit to buying or reading the books.[2] Fans of the genre often claim that the perceived stigma is due to the fact that romance is the only genre "written almost exclusively by women for women."[2] Critics point to a lack of suspense, as it is obvious that the hero and heroine will eventually resolve their issues, and wonder whether it is beneficial "for women to be whiling away so many hours reading impossibly glamorized love stories."[2]


According to fiction author Melissa Pritchard, romance novels "perpetuates something slightly dangerous, that there's this notion, that they's this perfect love out there, and it can distract you from the work of loving yourself."[76] Romance novelist Jennifer Crusie counters that in the modern romance novel "a woman is rewarded with unconditional love [only] if she remains true to herself"[55], while novelist Susan Elizabeth Phillips believes that romance novels are popular because the heroine always wins, sometimes overcoming great odds so that she is no longer a victim.[22] This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Susan Elizabeth Phillips (born Cincinnati, Ohio) is a best-selling American author of romance novels. ...


Footnotes

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Romance Novels--What Are They?. Romance Writers of America. Retrieved on 2007-04-16.
  2. ^ a b c d Gray, Paul (March 20, 2000), "Passion on the Pages", Time. Retrieved on 2007-04-23
  3. ^ a b c d e What's in a Name?. Publishers Weekly (July 2, 2001). Retrieved on 2007-04-30.
  4. ^ Crusie, Jennifer (March 2000), "I Know What It Is When I Read It: Defining the Romance Genre", Romance Writer's Report, PAN
  5. ^ a b Submission Guidelines. Dorchester Publishing. Retrieved on 2007-04-30.
  6. ^ a b c White, Pamela (August 15, 2002), "Romancing Society", Boulder Weekly. Retrieved on 2007-04-23
  7. ^ Gold, Laurie (July 30, 1997). Laurie's News and Views - Issue #30. All About Romance Novels. Retrieved on 2007-04-23.
  8. ^ Bly, Mary (February 12, 2005), "A Fine Romance", The New York Times. Retrieved on 2007-04-16
  9. ^ Faircloth, Kelly (April 28, 2005), "Who Wrote the Book of Love?", The Harvard Independent. Retrieved on 2007-04-23
  10. ^ Hank, Melissa (March 5, 2007). Of supple breasts and manly chests. TV Guide. Retrieved on 2007-04-16.
  11. ^ Shepherd, L. (February 22, 2007). How to Write a Romance Novel. How To Do Things. Retrieved on 2007-04-16.
  12. ^ Bellafante, Gina (August 8, 1994), "Affairs to Remember", Time. Retrieved on 2007-04-23
  13. ^ Gold, Laurie (March 1, 2005). At the Back Fence Issue #197. All About Romance Novels. Retrieved on 2007-04-30.
  14. ^ a b Eykelhof, Paula & Debbie Macomber (July 31, 2006), "Romancing the Store", Publishers Weekly. Retrieved on 2007-04-16
  15. ^ a b Hamilton, Melissa. Romance Categories: The Different Kinds of Romance. Romance Ever After. Retrieved on 2007-04-16.
  16. ^ About Romantic Fiction. Romance Novelists' Association. Retrieved on 2007-04-23.
  17. ^ Eykelhof, Paula. Writing Guidelines: Harlequin Everlasting Love. eHarlequin.com. Retrieved on 2007-04-16.
  18. ^ Jeglinski, Melissa. Writing Guidelines: Silhouette Desire. eHarlequin.com. Retrieved on 2007-04-16.
  19. ^ Industry Statistics. Romance Writers of America (2005). Retrieved on 2007-04-16.
  20. ^ The Mystery of Harlequin Romance. MyRomanceLife (2007). Retrieved on 2007-04-16.
  21. ^ Author Statistics. Romance Writers of America. Retrieved on 2007-04-16.
  22. ^ a b Leopold, Todd (August 11, 2000). Writing from the heart. CNN. Retrieved on 2007-04-30.
  23. ^ Ward, Jean Marie. Eloisa James: Regencies with a Shakespearean Twist. Crescent Blues. Retrieved on 2007-04-23.
  24. ^ a b c d e Romance Novels--Subgenres. Romance Writers of America. Retrieved on 2007-04-16.
  25. ^ a b c d Romance Writers of America's 2005 Market Research Study on Romance Readers. Romance Writers of America (2005). Retrieved on 2007-04-16.
  26. ^ "The Year in Books 2003: Mass Market", Publishers Weekly, November 17, 2003. Retrieved on 2007-04-30
  27. ^ a b Dyer, Lucinda (June 13, 2005), "Romance: In Its Own Time", Publishers Weekly. Retrieved on 2007-04-30
  28. ^ a b Romantic Suspense. Text in Transit: A guide to genre in Popular Literature. The Canada Research Chair Humanities Computing Studio (May 21, 2005). Retrieved on 2007-04-30.
  29. ^ Day, Michele (August 13, 2002), "Love stories with suspense, humor top charts", The Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio). Retrieved on 2007-04-30
  30. ^ a b Marble, Anne M. (2001). The Subgenres of Romance. Writing-World.Com. Retrieved on 2007-04-30.
  31. ^ a b c Clayton, Becci. My Heroine is in Love With the Killer! Romantic Suspense 101. Heart of Denver Romance Writers. Retrieved on 2007-07-30.
  32. ^ Paranormal Romance. Text in Transit: A guide to genre in Popular Literature. The Canada Research CHair Humanities Computing Studio (May 25, 2004). Retrieved on 2007-04-30.
  33. ^ Arthur, Keri (2007). Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy--defining two popular subgenres. The Romance Writers of Australia. Retrieved on 2007-04-30.
  34. ^ Luscombe, Belinda (February 19, 2006), "Well, Hello, Suckers", Time. Retrieved on 2007-04-23
  35. ^ a b c Gelsomino, Tara (2002). Review of Smoke in Mirrors. Romantic Times. Retrieved on 2007-07-26.
  36. ^ Marble, Anne M. (September 2002). Writing Time Travel Romances. Writing-world.Com. Retrieved on 2007-07-30.
  37. ^ Duffy, Martha (November 13, 1995), "The Almighty To The Rescue", Time. Retrieved on 2007-04-23
  38. ^ Layne, Sandy (2001). Christian Romance Novels?. Write to Inspire. Retrieved on 2007-04-30.
  39. ^ Thurston, pp 190-192.
  40. ^ Dunford, Natalie; Lucinda Dyer & Karen Holt et al. (December 1, 2003), "Toujours l'Amour", Publishers Weekly. Retrieved on 2007-04-30
  41. ^ Adlerstein, David (September 8, 2000), "Multicultural Book Room", South Florida Business Journal. Retrieved on 2007-04-30
  42. ^ Nguyen, Lan (September 2005), "The Color of Romance", Audrey Magazine. Retrieved on 2007-04-30
  43. ^
  44. ^ a b Cooper-Posey, Tracy (2004). An End to Euphemisms: Is Erotica Right for You?. Writing-world.Com. Retrieved on 2007-07-30.
  45. ^ a b Marble, Anne M. (January 2005). Getting to Know the Erotic Romance Field. Writing-World.Com. Retrieved on 2007-07-30.
  46. ^ [http://www.millsandboon.co.uk/cgi-bin/millsandboon.filereader?461262c700a12d24273f5 8d0dc9e068f+EN/catalogs/1124 Mills & Boon - Our History]. Harlequin Mills and Boon. Retrieved on 2007-07-19.
  47. ^ Thurston, p. 42.
  48. ^ a b c Athitakis, Mark (July 25, 2001), "A Romance Glossary", SF Weekly. Retrieved on 2007-04-23
  49. ^ a b c d Zaitchik, Alexander (July 22, 2003), "The Romance Writers of America convention is just super", New York Press. Retrieved on 2007-04-30
  50. ^ a b Thurston, pp 47-48.
  51. ^ a b Darrach, Brad (January 17, 1977), "Rosemary's Babies", Time. Retrieved on 2007-07-17
  52. ^ Thurston, p 67.
  53. ^ Thurston, p 72.
  54. ^ a b Grossman, Lev (February 3, 2003), "Rewriting the Romance", Time. Retrieved on 2007-04-03
  55. ^ a b Crusie, Jennifer (1998), "This Is Not Your Mother's Cinderella: The Romance Novel as Feminist Fairy Tale", in Kaler, Anne & Rosemary Johnson-Kurek, Romantic Conventions, Bowling Green Press, at 51-61
  56. ^ Thurston, p 75.
  57. ^ Thurston, pp. 46-47.
  58. ^ Barrett, Mary Ellin (January 9, 1983), "Pure as the Driven Slush", Family Weekly. Retrieved on 2007-05-24
  59. ^ Thurston, pp. 127-128.
  60. ^ Thurston, p 188.
  61. ^ Thurston, p 128.
  62. ^ Thurston, p 190.
  63. ^ Thurston, p 109.
  64. ^ "Rules of the Game", Entertainment Weekly, August 16, 1991. Retrieved on 2007-07-19
  65. ^ Susan Wiggs - And Now (as usual), Something New. All About Romance Novels (May 25, 2003). Retrieved on 2007-07-25.
  66. ^ a b Park, Michael Y. (August 28, 2002). Reading True Romance. Fox News. Retrieved on 2007-04-30.
  67. ^ Witmer, Karyn (August 28, 2006). Of Books and Baby Boomers. All About Romance. Retrieved on 2007-04-30.
  68. ^ "Expanding Romance Market", New York Times, March 8, 1982. Retrieved on 2007-05-24
  69. ^ Thurston, Carol (April 1983), "The Liberation of Pulp Romances", Psychology Today. Retrieved on 2007-05-24
  70. ^ Linden, Dana Wechsler & Matt Rees (June 6, 1922), "I'm Hungry But Not For Food", Forbes. Retrieved on 2007-05-24
  71. ^ Larsen, Kristin (August 9, 2005). Romance Writers are Passionate About Their Work. Voice of America. Retrieved on 2007-04-30.
  72. ^ "Labour of love a boon for Mary", Cambridge Evening News, June 14, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-07-19
  73. ^ a b c Povoledo, Elisabetta (October 18, 2004), "Women's Fiction for Europe: 'No cowboys, no babies'", International Herald Tribune. Retrieved on 2007-04-23
  74. ^ Fritsche, Vivien (July 1999). Impressions from a Romance Reader Overseas. All About Romance. Retrieved on 2007-04-23.
  75. ^ Bantick, Christopher (February 13, 2004), "A Quiver Through the Bookshelves", The Age. Retrieved on 2007-04-30
  76. ^ Hall, Melissa Mia (February 23, 2004), "Wickedly Savage Passions", Publishers Weekly. Retrieved on 2007-04-30

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Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 106th day of the year (107th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Romance Writers of America (RWA) is a national non-profit genre writers association. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 106th day of the year (107th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 17 November is also the name of a Marxist group in Greece, coinciding with the anniversary of the Athens Polytechnic uprising. ... Year 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link displays 2003 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 164th day of the year (165th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... 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References

  • Thurston, Carol (1987). The Romance Revolution. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-014421-1. 

See also

Mens romantic fiction refers to any fictional portrayal of romantic love either in film, text, or other media and is usually either told from the male protagonists point of view or taking particular interest in the romance as viewed from a male perspective. ... ± This is a list of published novelists who specialise or specialised in writing romance novels. ... Lesbian literature includes works by lesbian authors, as well as lesbian-themed works by heterosexual authors. ...

External links

  • Romance Writers of America
  • Romance Wiki A wiki dedicated to documenting the history of Romance Novels.
  • The Romantic Novelists' Association UK professional organisation for writers of romance.
  • Romantic Times The first romance novels review publication, founded by Kathryn Falk. Print and online reviews, booklovers convention, interviews, message boards.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Romance novel - definition of Romance novel in Encyclopedia (1352 words)
Category romances are widely regarded as cliched, unrealistic, poorly written, disposable pulp fiction-style stories that set out only to titillate readers and fulfill their fantasies.
Most category romances are published by Harlequin (known as Mills and Boon in the United Kingdom); Zebra and Signet publish three or four category romances in the Regency subgenre every month.
Sub-genres of romance frequently draw on other genres - romantic suspense draws on mysteries, crime fiction and thrillers, and futuristics are romances in a science fiction mode.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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