Tingles and Shivers: First Kisses and Intimate Civility in Eliza Redgold’s Historical Harlequin Romances Pre–and Post-#MeToo

Publication year

From the introduction:

the group of scholars [...] examine - from various perspectives, including the author's - Redgold's novels' response to changing mores around consent. Eliza Redgold is Boyd's penname.

From the essay itself:

Post #MeToo, issues of consent have come to the forefront in everyday life - and in the romance genre. In this essay, we analyze four Historical Harlequin romance novels written by Eliza Redgold - two published before and two published after #MeToo - and argue that these four novels can serve as a case study for how #MeToo informs the representation of desire between lovers. In particular, we analyze these relationships via the intertwined concepts of consensuality and Intimate Civility. We approach this essay from an interdisciplinary perspective, bringing together academics from the following four areas: literary studies; social science; psychology (psychosexual therapy); and creative arts psycho-therapy.

Our essay is structured around three sections. In the first section, Elizabeth Reid Boyd, who writes Historical Harlequin romances under the name Eliza Redgold, discusses her inspiration to return to writing Harlequin romances post #MeToo and its effect upon her creative process. In the second section, Elizabeth Reid Boyd, Madalena Grobbelaar, and Rose Williams parse their impetus constructing the Decalogue of Intimate Civility. In the third section, Debra Dudek composes a close anaysis of first-kiss scenes in Redgold's four novels and argues that while each of these novels represents Intimate Civility, the two post-#MeToo novels position the female subject in a more active role as a being of desire. (47)