Desire and the Marketplace: A Reading of Kathleen Woodiwiss's The Flame and the Flower

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In an analysis of Woodiwiss's The Flame and the Flower, I propose to show that contemporary romance embodies a distinctive point of view, one that departs in significant ways from longstanding assumptions about the character of modern liberal market ideology. [...] When Jayne Ann Krentz describes the basic trajectory of contemporary romance novels as the "taming" of the alpha male by the heroine (112), she is describing a process, I contend, in which traditional masculine economic ideals of self-sufficiency, rationality, and rugged individualism are modified, if not overthrown, by a new commitment to the civilizing and feminizing virtues of sociability, empathy, and interdependence. (148-149)