Recent Developments in English Studies at the Centre

Publication year

This is Chapter 19. The pagination given is for the Routledge edition (2005).

‘Work in progress 2’ [...] draws on work in 1978–9 concerned with the relations between popular fiction and popular culture, in which the issue of common sense became important. Bromley’s characterization of masculine and feminine romance was extremely suggestive, and we turned to women’s romance, especially Cartland, for a detailed case. (242)

The section titled "Work in progress 2" is on pages 250-262. They

If we identify certain basic structural features of popular female romance, we can begin to see how these features closely tie in with the texts’ predominant concern, reproduction through the heterosexual family. They compose a cluster of assumptions concerning the natural inevitability of love and marriage. In fact, a conflation of the two takes place, with an ideology of ‘romantic love’, infused with religiosity, becoming the guarantor and site of reproduction. Romantic love leads to the family and children. Romance and reproduction are harnessed together. Popular female romance enacts a closure as the knot is tied by the collapsing of emotional commitment into marital inevitability. (256)