When I Paint My Masterpiece: Bob Dylan, Ekphrasis, and the Art of Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Publication year

Selinger analyses Susan Elizabeth Phillips' Natural Born Charmer (2007):

My goal in this chapter is to take a romance novel [...] and to show, as well as I can, that this novel is a smart, reflective work of art, not least because of the ways it reflects on what it means for a work of popular art to be at once generically self-conscious, profoundly conventional, and unabashedly commercial. [...] I will assume that when the book does something clever, metatextual, or lovely, it deserves credit, as does its author, Susan Elizabeth Phillips. As for the novel's politics, sexual and otherwise, my sense is that the book invites us to put them in quotation marks, to read them primarily as functional elements, part of the novel's nostalgic themes and structures of consolation. The moments when I cock an eyebrow at those politics are thus, to me, neither threats nor embarrassments, but simply one more part of the novel's interest. (299-300)