« nightmare | Main | Radway, J. A. (2000). The act of reading the romance: escape and instruction. In J. Schor and D. B. Holt (eds.) The Consumer Society Reader, pp. 169-182. New York: New Press. »

2005.03.30

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Romance Novels

The last question here is a doozy. While I DO agree that Radways's question is insoluble AND deeply problematic, it also contains some academic judo I have issues with. Because the question is described as "eternal, unresolved, and probably insoluble," it really weights the second half of the quote. It seems like (as the ends of many lectures do) we're supposed ot have a "whoa, dude, that's deep" moment. Instead, let's focus on the first part, "does the romance's endless rediscovery of passive female sexuality...." While I know this is 1991, Radway needs to explore some more Romance. Female sexuality has NOT always been passive in romance, and this is especially true today. Every combination of men and women in power situations exist, along with female vampires (empowered, I would argue), gay and lesbian romance, etc. Sure, for 4 out of 5 books Radway's question is relevant and troubling... but the story doesn't end there, and she should be aware of it.

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