The Allure and the Shame of Popular Fiction: An Analysis of Mills & Boon Romances

Publication year
Asian Quarterly: An International Journal of Contemporary Issues

The link to a pdf contains only the index of the volume. The paper as it appears in academia appears to be a pre-print or some other unofficial version and it gives the source as a different journal but has the same author and title.

Here's the abstract as it appears in the unpaginated version:

In the 1950s and 1960s, scholars started taking popular culture seriously. In 1969 the Department of Popular Culture at Bowling Green University (USA) launched the Journal of Popular Culture. The journal carried essays on Spiderman comics, rock music, amusement parks, the detective films and other such forms of popular culture. Popular culture is the set of  practices, artefacts and beliefs shared by the masses, it is constituted by the everyday life of the masses: their food habits, fashion, forms of transport, music, reading habits and the spaces they occupy. For a very long time such forms of mass art were dismissed as ‘inferior’. The only ‘true’ culture was that of the elite members of the society. The culture of the ‘elite’ minority section of the population was projected as the ‘true’/ ‘standard’ culture. Academic research only focused on these ‘great works of art’ or ‘classical literature’ ignoring the fact that the majority of the population did not view / read these works of art. Standards of  judgement and ideas of taste were framed by using these elite forms as examples. Thus a familiarity with Shakespeare, Rabindranath Tagore, Thomas Hardy was considered to be a proof of one’s culture, while reading chick-lit and Mills & Boon romances was dismissed as  being mere time pass and a waste of time.

The Mills & Boon writers are used to criticism and many of them use pseudonyms. However, that does not take away from their popularity. Romantic escapism and the dream that noble, manly heroes exist have provided hope to generations of women. The very fact that Mills & Boon has been in business for more than hundred years speaks for itself. This paper aims to study the evolving genre of romance published by the Mills & Boon and the reason behind their continuing popularity.

With regards to its information about Mills & Boon, this piece seems to rely heavily on two articles written for The Guardian.