Romance: The History of a Genre is a collection of essays devoted to the highly popular and no less controversial genre of romance. A genre often disregarded for its stereotypical language, shallow characters, and predictable plots, dismissed as “women’s” fiction, accused of conventionalism, romance is a genre which, after ups and downs in its millennial history, is now holding a leading position on the international bookselling market. This achievement has also been possible with the endorsement of contemporary media and modern technology, cinema, television, the Internet, etc. Much has been written in both traditional and more recent literary theory about the origins and evolution of the early forms of romance, from the classical Antiquity, through the Middle Ages, and into the Renaissance and early modernity in Western Europe. A corpus, which is becoming more and more substantial today, is already available about the gendered status of contemporary romance, both in terms of the writing ethos and in terms of reader response, with theories coming from the combined areas of feminism, social sciences, and psychoanalysis. The aim of the present volume is that of noting the fluid character of the genre, with the great number of subcategories, mixed and hybrid, bringing evidence to the polymorphous nature of contemporary popular culture.
This book proposes, in four parts and twelve chapters, a fascinating and multifaceted journey into the history, substance and geography of romance. From its origins to the latest developments, from its subgenres to its features, from print to film, from television to Facebook, romance comes in various shapes and colours, which the reader can fully explore. The journey in the world of romance takes the reader from familiar corners to less familiar ones: from North America, Great Britain, Romania, or Turkey, to India or South Africa. The numerous approaches to romance generate diverse data, varied analytical frameworks and interesting, fresh and solidly grounded findings.