The word "romance" has been used to describe a wide variety of types of literature. As Barbara Fuchs has observed, "Romance is a notoriously slippery category. Critics disagree about whether it is a genre or a mode, about its origins and history, even about what it encompasses" (1). Such slipperiness tends to complicate the search for scholarship about any specific type of romance.
This Romance Scholarship Database is therefore intended as a tool to assist popular romance scholars in their research into modern popular romance novels, which the editors of The Routledge Research Companion to Popular Romance Fiction define as:
novels that are written in various parts of the world, aim at a broad (mass-market) readership, and center around a love plot that holds the promise of a future with a unified emotional life for two or more protagonists [...] it is only in the twentieth century that the romance novel emerges as a distinct category of publishing and readership, marked both by textual features (the necessity of a "happy ending" of successful relationship formation) and by the array of paratextual features (cover art, gendered marketing practices, distinctive networks of distribution and reception) that distinguish it both in the public eye and in the eyes of potential readers. That said, inasmuch as the romance novel is a story of successful courtship, the genre has an old and complex history. (2-3)
Due to this focus, I do not generally include items about works which, while "romantic fiction" do not fit the narrower definition of "romance." In some cases, however, items may be included if they are about precursors of the modern romance, if they draw heavily on romance scholarship, or if I deemed them relevant for some other reason. Given the contested generic nature of the Twilight saga and the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, for example, and the sheer volume of academic literature about them, I have chosen only to include a small number of the many works written about them.
The entries often include a hyperlink to a place where the item may be viewed, or where more details about them are located, but none of the items are stored within this database.
Entries may include abstracts, short commentary, or selected quotations. This material is intended to assist scholars but is not intended to serve as a review. In some cases entries are less complete than I would like, for example if I have been unable to verify the page numbers of a chapter or article, or if I have been unable to locate an abstract. In addition, although I have always aimed at accuracy, I cannot guarantee a total absence of typos or other errors.
I have included tags for each of the entries to make it possible to search by topic. It is also possible to arrange entries by date or alphabetically.
All the entries have been created by me, Laura Vivanco.