Constructing the Exotic Other: Paradise Discourse and Environmental Awareness in a Corpus of Popular Romance Fiction Novels

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Here's the abstract:

The corpus of romances compiled for Research Project FFI2014-53962-P1 can be approached from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives. Many of these novels, set totally or partially in the Canaries, narrate the love stories of mixed couples (Spanish hero/English-speaking heroine), thus including Spanish borrowings and codeswitching. Most authors resort to a paradise discourse based on landscape descriptions which incorporate elements from the mythological, fantastic images conjured up by poets and writers throughout history. Due to the wide readerships they enjoy, these romances perform important functions; apart from being a channel for the international diffusion of Spanish vocabulary and of a stereotyped image of the Canaries, they can also play a role as builders of a much-needed environmental awareness, by arousing reflections on the need to preserve the paradise landscapes they describe.

The introduction to the volume describes this chapter as one which

reflects upon the relationship between post-millennial environmental awareness and exoticized environments such as the Canary Islands, popularized and commodified as tourist “paradises” and, therefore, as ideal spaces for romance. The chapter explores the construction of a paradise discourse through the examination of the linguistic and discursive strategies used to represent the exoticism of the islands in a corpus of thirty-five Harlequin and Mills and Boon novels published between 1995 and 2004. (22)