Forms of Pleasure in the Reading of Popular Romance: Psychic and Cultural Dimensions

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From the Introduction to this volume:

Chen traces the complex progression of pleasure as a concept in romance criticism. Her comprehensive overview and detailed analysis identify pleasure as originally a concept linked to oppression (the “opiate” of the people) and then a concept that has swung perhaps excessively toward empowerment, as “a concept standing for reader’s agency that is divorced from power politics and textual control” (31). As with the concepts of oppression and empowerment themselves, one of the implications of Chen’s study is that pleasure can never be identified as only one idea. (6)