Women's Fiction and Popular Romance: Student Audience and Teaching Dilemma

Publication year
Paper presented at the Annual National Literature Conference (3rd, Chicago, IL, October 14-15, 1988)

Here's the abstract:

In this paper the instructor of a course on contemporary fiction by women about women recounts her experiences with the dissonance that developed between her students and herself during the reading of one of the assigned texts. The instructor explores the reasons underlying the disparate perspectives between two audiences during the act of reading: the instructor who draws on traditional critical insights to understand the aesthetics of literature (along with its inherent ethical and social values), and her students who react affectively and who bring to the literature extraliterary expectations fostered by popular romance formulae. To understand the differences in audience reception, the paper examines three intervals of text from a well-considered contemporary novel and parallel excerpts from a sample of the popular romance genre. The excerpts--the title and introductory paragraph, a prelude to sex, and the sexual encounter--are analyzed in the paper to discern similarities and differences in authorial intent or design, control of language, narrative technique, character delineation, and manipulation of the reader's empathy and point of view. The instructor also considers how best to provide students with critical reading skills so that they might begin to appreciate through traditional means non-traditional but worthy examples of literature which speak to shared human concerns. (One appendix containing questions to facilitate group discussion is attached.)

I have not been able to access this. I have also been unable to access, or even find almost any information, about another work by Aronowitz. Indeed, there is so little information about it that I have not given it a separate entry and simply note here that Elizabeth Reid Boyd (2014) includes

Aronowitz, Beverly-Lynne (1991), ‘The dilemma of teaching women’s fiction: Is it pop, pulp, porn-or poetry?’, Pennsylvania English, 15: 2, pp. 1–20.

in her list of works cited.