Here's an abstract:
Romances date back to the creation of stories. Although the definition of the genre has changed in time from the Ancient Greeks to the Bildungsromans,to the 19th century and today’s courtship novels, both scholarship and widely-held attitudes towards romance has remained fixedly and prioritized only the universality, unoriginality, and continuity of romance fiction instead of its sociocultural effect of promoting positive ideals like female empowerment. The portrayal of women in social roles has been in a state of constant change including their relationship with and relation to men. This thesis explores only medieval historical romance fictions and their changes through the course of the time. I examine three medieval romances’s content— Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe (1820), Kathleen Woodiwiss’ The Wolf and the Dove (1974), and Amanda Quick’s Mystique (1995)-- written in different time periods based on content analysis using Anthony Giddens’s (1992) theories of intimacy. In addition, it will address romance novels’ views about sex, gender and love roles. Some significant results emerge from this dissertation. First of all, romance novels’ major themes of love, intimacy and gender relationships have altered a lot considering the time period they have been written. The stereotyped image of romance novels has been deconstructed regarding the notions about love, sex and the patriarchal image of women as the genre evolves. Moreover, this project demonstrates that romance novels depict changing status of women and how gradually they have become equal with men by gaining more power and freedom.