Exploring His/Her Library: Reading and Books in Russian Romance

Publication year
Journal of Popular Romance Studies

are metafictional allusions to the genre of romance fiction significantly more common in English-language books written for the major Western markets? This article aims to open up a discussion of these issues by looking at patterns of literary references in recent Russian-language romance novels. With evidence gleaned from an examination of forty original Russian works of romance fiction, I will show that, on balance, the Russian genre is less self-referential than its Western counterpart. Russian writers reference reading and books less frequently than Western authors do; moreover, the literary allusions that do appear in their work focus overwhelmingly on the classics or on Soviet literary fiction and poetry—not on romance fiction.