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Transnational Book Groups and the Reception of Difference

Aug 10, Stefani rated it it was ok Shelves: ebooks , romance. For once, a Harlequin romance was set elsewhere in Italy. Loved the backdrop of Venice, as little as there was of it. Otherwise, a quick billionaire man vs. Very good reading!!! The book starts out with Angelo in a coma. Drago found out that his cousin had been living with Jess Harper. He hopes she is the key to getting his cousin to wake up. Jess had no idea that her roommate had been in an accident, and is in the hospital.

She is torn between leaving her business, and traveling out of country to help her friend. Jess knew she had to try to help her Angelo. Angelo and his family are very wealthy. Jess had no idea. Drago had her investigated, and found out she had been The book starts out with Angelo in a coma. Drago had her investigated, and found out she had been charged with fraud. He knows his cousin just lost most of his trust fund, and blames Jess. The emotions in that part of the story is raw, and my heart went out to Jess. She had been charged for fraud, but she was set up, when she was only 17, The only thing she did wrong was trust, and fall in love with the wrong man.

Years later she is still paying for her mistake. The only person that can prove her innocents, that she did not steal from Angelo, is laying in a hospital bed in a coma. I like the chemistry between Jess, and Drago. The sexually tension between the two was fierce. What I loved most about this book, is the two talked things out, and really communicated. The two acted like adults. I needed to read this book. I'm sick of heroine's, or hero's acting like jerks, or throwing fits.

If you are looking for a book with strong emotions, and little drama, I recommend this one. Sep 15, Roub rated it liked it. Dec 02, Radhika rated it liked it. Drago Cassari is livid with Jess Harper who he thinks swindled his younger cousin. When his cousin is badly injured in an accident and is lying in ICU and is asking for Jessie, Drago to help his family inheritance traces her and flies her to Greece to get his cousin bac from a coma But the unexpected happens and Jess is not at all like Drago thought her to be, but still cynical he keeps up his guard though he is attracted to her Dec 26, Mary rated it really liked it.

I really liked it. Main characters were funny and sweet and I wanted a happy ending for them. After she view spoiler [ found out that she was pregnant hide spoiler ] , everything was a bit hurried and I wanted more big gestures from him. But all in all, not bad. I really enjoyed this book and although I don't recall reading many books from this author, I look forward to finding more.

What happened to the business she loved, that she just abandoned to marry Drago. Jan 18, Martina rated it it was amazing. Jun 12, Jennifer rated it liked it. Good, quick romance. Pretty typical plot with a twist. I enjoyed reading this one. May 01, Harlequin Books added it Shelves: largeprint , Category: Passion. May 11, Jennifer rated it really liked it. Gonna need kleenex Barbara rated it really liked it May 31, Sherry Walker rated it it was amazing Mar 28, Talia rated it it was amazing Aug 10, Frieda rated it really liked it Jul 02, Beth Martin rated it did not like it Jul 11, Connie Begley rated it it was amazing Mar 11, Gege86 rated it really liked it Jan 07, Rena rated it liked it May 18, Lily rated it really liked it Aug 10, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.

Readers also enjoyed. About Chantelle Shaw. Chantelle Shaw. I still remember that feeling of anticipation when I settled down with a pile of books - all bearing the famous rose logo - knowing that I would be drawn into a world of love, passion and emotional intensity that I have never found in any other books. I enjoy reading a wide range of books, especially historical novels, and I am a big fan of Agatha Christie, mainly I think because her characters seem so real, but I love romances and unashamedly admit that I only want to read books with a guaranteed happy ending.

When I married my own tall, dark, but sadly not wealthy hero, we moved out of London to the Kent coast and started a family that grew and grew. My imagination soared and I decided to try and write a book myself. My first attempt was typed up on a manual type-writer with the full-stop key and the letter p missing. Luckily my hero and heroine were not called Paul and Poppy, but it still meant going over my manuscript with a pen to fill in the gaps!

That first book was duly rejected as were my next two. I suppose I was disheartened and by now I had four small children and very little spare time, so although I continued to read romances, I gave up writing. I was struggling to come to terms with the death of my darling mum Gabrielle and writing became my therapy. It was one of the most exciting moments of my life - but instead of chatting to the editor about contracts I had to dash off and pick my sick daughter up from school. Reality is never far away in my house! I have now had nine books published - At the Sheikh's Bidding was released in September Kit has social power, which she enjoys wielding, while Jude is content to stand by her side.

This perception of negative femininity in Jude seems to revolve around his emotional vulnerability, which becomes more pronounced as Kit strips his costumes from him. We might read this as a stripping of armour, and thus of power, leading to a reading of Jude as disempowered and thus taking on the feminine role in a heterosexual binary.

As Jessica Tripler notes in her review of the reviews of Untamed , the vulnerable hero who needs comforting is a romance staple. Despite [End Page 10] this, other reviewers — notably, reviewers who enjoyed the book — found him distinctly appealing. For her, cross-dressing is not a way of performing gender: instead, it enables her to perform social power. Crispin is thus — for a little while, at least — able to utilise the social power afforded to a man of such high status. It does not necessarily express a queer sexual identity — although her normatively masculine qualities, such as physical and mental strength, are part of her erotic appeal to Jude — but it is a definite challenge to the normal, legitimate and dominant in her society: the patriarchal structures of power.

This claim is one that Kit makes deliberately and consciously, something which sets her apart from many of her fellow cross-dressing heroines. Prudence in The Masqueraders does not use her cross-dressing to claim any real kind of power, nor is it allowed to her by the text in any real measure — for example, when she is goaded into a duel, she is rescued by her eventual husband Sir Anthony Fanshawe, who engages her prospective opponent in another duel the day before she is due to fight. Prudence passes as [End Page 11] a man, but Kit does not, and this lack of interest in doing so is key to her claim for power.

The shoulders were crusted with jewels that refracted candlelight from the chandeliers above. It made her look even stronger. Hard and incomparable. She wore breeches tight as skin, her long, muscled legs on display for everyone to see, feet planted firmly in shining black boots. Her hair was gathered in a tight knot on top of her head. Her face with its crooked nose and severe brows, was plain and exposed. Her collars were short, so that the expanse of her brown throat was clear. She was like something new and badly understood that was going to change everything.

Like electricity. When Kit dons male clothing, it is the culmination of a running narrative thread around her inability and refusal to perform conventional femininity, and a claim for social power. It is this to which Jude is drawn, both emotionally and sexually. The stereotypical tropes of virginity loss in historical romance, where the virgin heroine is initiated into sexual pleasure by the experienced hero, are almost totally absent.

Instead, Kit and Jude are constructed as equal participants and desiring agents in all ways in this scene. The masculine power that Kit lays claim to via cross-dressing extends to the bedroom, where she regularly takes control, and is ultimately vital to her relationship with Jude. Unlike Jude, Kit is generally liked by readers of Untamed. The biggest criticism of her cross-dressing is that it is anachronistic. Overall, she is a far less troubling figure for reviewers than Jude.

She becomes a less problematic figure than Jude, whose more pathetic characteristics are read as reinforcing a version of femininity that is fragile and disempowered. As many reviewers note, Untamed is not an especially historically accurate representation of the nineteenth century. While elements of nineteenth century British life and politics are important to the plot — for example, one major subplot revolves around the Corn Laws — it appears to be informed more by a kind of historical verisimilitude than history itself.

So too does the Edenic scene that takes place at the end of the novel, where a heterosexual couple, a homosexual couple, and Kit and Jude all picnic together. Arguably, there is a retrofuturist function at play in Untamed : that is, it presents an alternative view of the future as imagined from the past. This anachronism makes the narrative — especially the queer elements of the narrative — possible.

While Untamed is recognisably a heterosexual romance, it also attempts to construct an alternative history with a distinctly queer bent: one where the link between heterosexuality and history is complicated. This makes certain requirements of the reader. Because Untamed is marketed as historical romance rather than as part of an overtly retrofuturistic genre such as steampunk , some readers, unsurprisingly, are unwilling to do this.

Name That Book

This reader is one such:. But the issues in this book were really egregious, both in their level of inaccuracy and their importance to the story. Major plot points turned on events that did not or could not have occurred. This is noted as a personal reading preference, but the appeal to realism is telling: this particular reader has certain expectations of the historical romance genre, and is not open to a retrofuturist reading. Other reviewers, however, had a different view. In her review, Kat Mayo specifically identifies the fluidity of the historical backdrop as necessary to the narrative:.

This will be a deal breaker to many readers, but it seems clear to me, by the way the story is crafted, that Cowan never really makes an attempt to be faithful to history. The setting is more like a stage in which Cowan sets up her characters, and the backdrop is fluid as it needs to be to tell their story. Essentially, Untamed presents a request to the reader to treat history as malleable: something which might be uncomfortable to those reading the book with the expectations of historical romance, but acceptable to those who read it via a more speculative lens.

As such, Untamed requires a kind of unhistorical reading from its readers, asking them to embrace anachronism so that the retrofuturistic queer space in which the romantic happy ending takes place can be established. However, given that the book has been marketed as and is largely discussed as historical romance, readers reading Untamed with the generic requirements of that subgenre in mind have not necessarily been prepared to undertake this unhistorical reading. This, in turn, would suggest that Sedgwick and Fletcher are correct when they assert that history and heterosexuality are entangled: it is very difficult, it seems, to imagine a historically plausible queer love story that is not clandestine and private, but public.

Untamed is remarkable not because it is necessarily successful — and, indeed, arguing whether it is objectively a successful novel or not is a fraught and ultimately unproductive practice — but because it is unusual. In correspondence with me, Cowan asserted that she sought to queer the heterosexual romance, [63] and reader reactions to this are instructive when we think about the way the genre might evolve in the future. Similarly, few readers seem to have taken issue with the project of queering the hero.

The figure of the cross-dressing duke was exciting for many readers. The fact that readers generally enjoyed the book greatly when they were able to read Jude as a fluid character, and were disappointed when they read him simply as taking on the role normally played by the heroine is particularly interesting: it signals that there is in fact an appetite among historical romance readers, even readers of exclusively [End Page 15] heterosexual historical romance, for a queered narrative. The willingness of many readers to accept the anachronisms of the book would seem to be another sign of this appetite, although the number that did not suggests that the historical romance genre encodes a requirement for realism, and that it is difficult to write a queered romance within these realistic historical requirements.

Overall, the responses to Untamed demonstrate that there is an appetite among historical romance readers, for a kind of fluidity that we might call queer, particularly in terms of portrayals of gender. Regardless of whether or not the book was considered successful by the individual reader, the publication of Untamed would seem to signal a new horizon of possibility for the historical romance, and a growing enthusiasm for a kind of fluidity that we might call queer.

Destiny Romance, a. Kindle edition, location Saint Foucault: Towards a gay hagiography. A similar function is used in steampunk novels, another popular and pseudo-historical genre. In steampunk, this is a vision of the future as imagined from the nineteenth century: usually a future in which the major technologies are based on steam and clockwork. Stirling, SM. New York: Penguin, , ; Perschon, Mike. While this exists across many different fan cultures and can feature protagonists of many gender, particular pleasure seems to be generated for many readers by positioning male characters of the sufferers and object of comfort.

Fathallah, Judith May. Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women. Jayne Ann Krentz. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, , Vested interests: Cross-dressing and cultural anxiety. New York: Psychology Press, , Masculinity and femininity were thus figured as polar opposites. Historical romance fiction: Heterosexuality and perfomativity.


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Burlington: Ashgate, , A Subversive Regency. While Kit was generally liked and I could find no criticism of the minor female characters, some reviewers took issue with the portrayal of the other male characters in the book. The vulnerability of the male characters — Jude in particular, but also some of the minor characters — seems to have been a sticking point for some reviewers. Lady Marmotte is shown as dangerously powerful throughout the novel: however, the book does not ultimately pathologise her as a powerful woman. In the romance novel… the woman always wins.

With courage, intelligence, and gentleness she brings the most dangerous creature on earth, the human male, to his knees. More than that, she forces him to acknowledge her power as a woman… Romance novels invert the power structure of a patriarchal society because they show women exerting enormous power over men. The books also defy the masculine conventions of other forms of literature because they portray women as heroes. Durham: Duke University Press, , Cowan, Anna. Fletcher, Lisa. Burlington: Ashgate, Garber, Marjorie B.

New York: Psychology Press, Goldberg, Jonathan, and Madhavi Menon. Hall, Alexis. Halperin, David M. Horne, Jackie C. Kinsale, Laura. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, Krentz, Jayne Ann. Laqueur, Thomas. Making Sex: body and gender from the Greeks to Freud. Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press, Luhrs, Natalie.

Mayo, Kat. Perschon, Mike. Rule, Belinda. Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. New York: Penguin, Tripler, Jessica. This article examines the proceedings of the seminar and the applied approach to teaching the popular romance in three distinct ways. First, it documents and reflects on the planning, structuring, and delivery of the module.

Lastly, it argues popular romance as a topic for academic study can appeal to both BA and teaching degree university students who study English in a German academic setting. But this did not deter the participants from engaging in the texts and assignments. Finally, with regard to the academic setting, it will be shown that such a module can very well be integrated into courses which focus on the study of literature and culture in general, and can enliven academic discussion by shedding light onto genres which are underrepresented even in the study of popular culture.

Which of these seminars the students attended was up to their preference in topic and depended on how they managed their personal study schedule. For them, the module offered the chance to actively incorporate and apply the knowledge they gained in introductory and advanced seminars, which focus mainly on theoretical approaches and exemplary case studies. In pursuit of their degree, the Proseminar is intended to be the next step in becoming proficient at producing coherent close readings and analyses of a text, followed by incorporating the analyses into a sound argumentative structure—first with the lecturer in class and then with a more narrow focus in their end-of-term-papers.

Acquiring academic skills at this level also includes honing research abilities and being able to conform to the desired formalities both when preparing presentations and the end-of-term-paper, especially with regard to the bibliographical details.

Table of contents

In order to facilitate this learning, I used a mixture of teaching approaches. Learning objective oriented measures, such as recaps on central approaches and summaries of the results of analyses, were central in relaying the necessary information to the students Johansen In addition, some elements of activity-oriented teaching Johansen were incorporated to enliven the teaching style and encourage student participation as well as increase interest. The pedagogical aims in the first stages of planning and structuring the seminar were quite basic, since it is difficult to judge the exact possibilities of a class without getting to know the students and the dynamics among them first.

The seminar structure was in itself very conducive to discussions and group work, as it let students develop trains of thought and arguments on their own, share them in a group of their peers, and then present them to other groups and the lecturer. Developing skills at both accepting but also formulating constructive criticism and delivering it to a fellow student were likewise part of the aims for this module. Thus, bringing everyone onto a level that the class could start from was of utmost importance in the first weeks.

Concerning linguistic abilities, the seminar provides a stage for the students to practice speaking English freely in front of an audience especially important for those doing a teaching degree and bringing them closer to complete fluency in the English language. At times, though, especially in group discussions, it became apparent that their passive language skills and vocabulary were more developed than their active ones. Most prevalent were problems with grammar and tenses in spoken English.

As a result, the class was comprised of a medium-level group of readers, speakers and writers, with exceptions on both ends of the spectrum. Some of the students also intended to go abroad at the end of their second year in order to perfect their language skills. Since the class was offered as part of the English Literary and Cultural Studies elective seminar for second to fourth year BA and teaching degree students, the syllabus material had to be limited to primary literature by British authors.

Thanks to the work I had done in my Magister thesis, I was deemed capable of choosing the primary and secondary texts myself, running them by my supervisor for final approval. Special emphasis was put firstly on an introduction to the popular romance as a genre, as a mode, and a functioning cultural construct within an economic context.

Secondly, we concentrated on the aspects of hierarchical difference presented in the texts, which were supposedly overcome by the end of the novel. It turned out that a few of the students were actually romance fans while others were either oblivious to the genre beyond the common stereotypes, or reluctant to admit that they had read popular romances before. When I inquired as to why the students had actually chosen this particular class, the majority of them admitted that they had seen the title and had never encountered a seminar that dealt with popular romance before and were actually quite surprised it would be a topic that fourteen weeks could be devoted to in academia.

Of immediate concern to the students were, of course, the assessments. To successfully complete the seminar, they had to perform an in-class presentation which was mandatory in order to be admitted to the final assessment. The latter was in form of an end-of-term paper pages, i. All topics were primarily chosen and worded by the individual students themselves, thereby making them familiar with the thought processes that go into putting together and verbalizing a thesis on a specific topic as well as researching and describing it in a limited number of words.

A further requirement was the weekly reading of required texts designated as essential for each session. In the last session of the semester, the students were required to present their assessment topic of choice to the whole class and to elaborate on their approach to the assessment, getting feedback and constructive advice from both their colleagues and the lecturer. Structurally, the lessons were divided up into a presentation which was a collaborative effort of several students , a discussion about the required reading with the lecturer adding information from various other texts , and finally the application of the approaches and ideas we had talked about to the primary text s in question.

The overall structure of the fourteen-week seminar was as follows:. After the introductory session, we started out with the basics: general facts about the popular romance as a genre in terms of definition Hollows ; Engler , and in terms of approaches that had been used in order to analyse the romance to date. We then set out to have a look at the cultural framework of producing publishing industry guidelines, marketing techniques, authors as figures of fame and consuming the popular romance in a popular cultural context.

Here, students were asked to participate and comment based on their own experience also by making comparisons to other popular genres they knew. Having outlined the basic premises of the publication conventions and possibilities, the students again had a chance to contribute, this time via group activities. This exercise drove home the possible distinctions to be made within a certain set of current romance publications.

The students responded positively to the activity and made observant remarks about the romances they had chosen and how they thought the elements of marketing were incorporated in order to ensure high customer interest. All groups had at least one older historical romance cover that featured the stereotypical bodice-ripping male protagonist and the heroine with excessively luxuriant hair. Most students commented that even if they were looking for a novel with a romance plot, the covers would quite possibly deter them from buying the book for fear of the reactions of the cashier and people who might observe them carrying or reading a book with such a cover.

Consequently, even though we had discussed and dispelled this stereotype of the reader, it became obvious that it is so ingrained in cultural imaginations about the popular romance as to become almost unshakeable. Fixing images of excessive heterosexual interaction onto the cover and thus referencing both a female tradition of romance production and female pleasure in the consumption of romantically motivated sexual action indicates connections to possibly illicit, private reading practices that could be considered culturally transgressive and maybe even part of a taboo which surrounds female-centric depictions of sexual interaction.

Throwing authors like P. James, who writes crime fiction, into the discussion made some of the students realize that if no full name with indication towards the sex of the author is given on the cover or in the paratexts, the genre and cultural practices associated with it are most often the origin of assumptions about gender identity and writing practice.

Especially surprising was also the fact that students very quickly started to pick up on the sexualized codes of the cover tradition and its system of signification which had been shortly discussed the week before. This indicated an aptitude with visual signifiers that boded very well for the planned film analysis. Part of assessing in-class participation was having the students give presentations on topics such as the historical development of the genre, marketing techniques, gendered and heterosexual discourses in the popular romance, and the depiction of sexuality and sexual interaction in the novels examined.

When it came to literary analysis, we started out by going over the narrative basics and laid the groundwork for understanding the subgenre [End Page 7] specific plot motifs, settings, and the recurring set of stereotypical characters. Moreover, it encompassed analysing the narrative situation and devices on the level of discourse , and figuring out how the different characters are constructed by the text, taking into account different levels of mediation. The Regency romance deals with a set of stereotypical characters for example the rake, the Byronic hero, and the bluestocking or the spinster , which were introduced in order for the students to be able to judge adherence to and deviation from these roles.

Going over constructions of gender and gender difference in Bath Tangle required a short introduction to Freudian psychoanalysis and Lacanian psychosemiosis especially the concept of the mirror stage in order to illustrate the emergence of structures of difference and desire. Psychoanalytical questions included inquiries into oedipal structures and absent parental figures. We then moved on to questions of how the gender roles presented in the novel are constructed as normative.

This was achieved by an analysis of the linguistic and stylistic markers which have become conventionalized and thus help consolidate the gender stereotypes within the fictitious realm. This doubling allows two separate courtship plots to unfold and while one is given more narrative space, it was interesting to note that the more conventional pseudo historical upper class courtship failed, whereas the courtship depicted and constructed as not in keeping with the ideals of the Regency romance upper class was the more successful and more prominent one.

On the level of discourse, however, the love-hate type of romance is still a stereotypical feature of the Regency romance since it provides more internal obstacles to be overcome by the potential couple, as the students determined. Another important part of this task was gaining the ability to identify history as related to tradition and nostalgia on the level of story. These markers could take the form of dress or customs, but could also surface in allusions to contemporaneous political or social Regency events and historical persons.

Concerning the second subgenre of choice, the desert romance, we began by determining the specific plot motifs, the set of what are now stereotypical characters, and the aspects of the setting that are specific to the subgenre. The differences between the book and the film, such as the omission of rape scenes or the change in the first meeting of the protagonists, were analysed in light of the background of the time and place of production e.

These differences and hierarchies also became apparent in the analysis of the different cover illustrations that have graced the novel The Sheik throughout the decades. Furthermore, the silent film version was used to illustrate the practice of hiring European actors to play non-European characters, thereby enforcing the notion of a possible slippage from the privileged category of difference into a non-privileged one, but prohibiting any movement from the non-privileged category to the privileged one.

Silent film practices such as title cards, intertitles, background music and the distinctive acting style were analysed in comparison to contemporary and current expectations of a narrative film, in addition to the general implications of choice of actors and scenery.

Teaching in this segment was also highly influenced by student input. For example, one of the presenters on silent film analysis was not sure how to rate the importance and [End Page 9] effect of the real name of an actor appearing beneath the name of his character on the intertitle instead of being named in the final credits.

In so doing, it was possible to demonstrate the impact these seemingly tangential questions that arise during a presentation can have, and to expose the intricate network of discursive effects that affects each and every form of representation in a certain medium. By now, the students were, for the most part, able to work with concepts such as Orientalism on their own in study groups with only marginal input from the lecturer and could present their findings to the other groups, who had been performing analyses using a different approach.

Whereas in The Sheik the male protagonist and his thought process remain closed-off from the heroine, and, by extension, also from the reader, the hero of The Governess and the Sheikh , Jamil, becomes available not just from the outside, by being described and looked at by the heroine, but actually by having his thought processes and feelings represented through character focalization as well.

This serves to establish his attraction to and developing love for the heroine from the start, as opposed to the older novel, where the Declaration Regis 34 has to take place in direct speech at the very end of the novel. Moreover, the historical setting again provided for an interesting interpretation of the Regency and desert setting as liminal spaces for the negotiation of modern cultural issues.

Thus, a fantastical space is produced that is nevertheless imbued with plausibility. This clears the future for a modernized i. The male student, in contrast, was confident in discussing the sexual aspects of the books, and was particularly interested in applying a psychoanalytical approach to the romances we discussed. The final topical session was dedicated to the noticeable changes in the popular romance as we had traced them in the three exemplary texts.

The seminar ended with a revision session in which we collected the knowledge we had accumulated concerning the popular romance in general and the exemplary sub-generic texts in particular, while applying different approaches to the novels. Interactive collection of assembled knowledge made up most of this session, with the students devising a huge blackboard sketch with colour coding for information we had collected over the semester.

This exercise was met with much enthusiasm and carried out very satisfactorily. Also, out of fourteen students who took part in the evaluation, eleven claimed a notable increase in their interest in and knowledge about the topic of the seminar. The focus of this interest was also reflected in the choice of seminar paper topics.

Twelve students completed the end-of-term assignment and were successful. The rest of the students finished the seminar as such, but did not hand in a seminar paper, some due to internships abroad and some due to mismanagement of time. As for The Governess and the Sheikh , four students decided to work with the text, respectively analysing gendered discourses, the gaze, Orientalism and the construction of power relations through categories of difference.

In general, the students exhibited a very good grasp of the approaches to the romance, even though a small number of the seminar papers that were handed in proved that they sometimes had difficulty distinguishing between the levels of story and narrative mediation. Moreover, they tended to conflate the retrospective fictional construct of a historical era as a setting in the novel with the actual historical era and its characteristics—especially when dealing with topics such as gender constructions in Bath Tangle.

This level of abstraction was, however, achieved by most of the students after having dealt with the issue in class in the session on constructions of history. In conclusion, if I offered this seminar again, I would attempt to incorporate different secondary texts and include one session to actually analyse first-wave romance novel criticism in detail to help historicise judgments about the popular romance and its readers. It would also be interesting to focus on different subgenres, such as paranormal romance and maybe historical [End Page 12] paranormal romance, with emphases on conceptualizations of the Other and the inclusion of gothic or horror elements.

To sum it up, though, the seminar touched upon various literary and cultural studies approaches and demonstrated the multiplicity of possibilities as well as the versatility of the Regency and desert romance and its changing strategies of negotiating social position, class issues, gender standards and stereotypes as well as ideas of racial and ethnic categories.

Thus, the degree I studied for was the Magister Artium M. The average period of education was nine semesters, i. This period could be extended if, for example, students were to go abroad for one or two semesters. After passing final examinations in both written and oral form, I was awarded the title M. The main difference to the Master of Arts is that there was no prior degree like a BA that had to be attained before you could complete your studies at M.

Both terms also hint at the difference from a lecture, which would mainly involve input from the lecturer and less actual work i. There are some German romance authors, like Michelle Raven, for example, who writes romantic suspense, but they are few and far between. Thus, those students who attended my seminar and professed to be actual fans of popular romance were already familiar with the genre being dominated by British and US-American authors.

Therefore, they were already familiar with authors like Georgette Heyer or Barbara Cartland. The advanced module in Cultural Studies, in which the students are supposed to read and analyse first-hand scholarly texts, is obligatory only for BA students Krug , not for those pursuing a teaching degree Mittmann These basic or advanced seminars last one semester each, so by the time the students are eligible to attend the Proseminar described here, they are at least into their second year, i.

The majority of my students were advanced undergraduates, most of them in their fourth semester, with two fifth-semester students, one sixth-semester student, and one who was in their eighth semester at the time. BA students made up the bulk of attendees, followed closely in number by the teaching degree students, the latter aspiring to become English teachers for the German classroom. For the different Proseminare to result in students having the same formal academic training in oral and written argumentation, which is essential in order to advance to the next level of their studies, the examinations and final assignments have to be comparable concerning their basic requirements.

Belsey, Catherine. Desire: Love Stories in Western Culture. Oxford: Blackwell, Daniel, David B. William Buskist and Victor A. London: Sage, Dixon, jay. London: UCL, Engler, Sandra. Historical Romance Fiction: Heterosexuality and Performativity. Haddad, Emily H. Sally Goade. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, Heinecken, Dawn.

Anne K. Kaler and Rosemary E. Hollows, Joanne. Feminism, Femininity and Popular Culture. Manchester: Manchester UP, Hull, Edith Maude. The Sheikh : A Novel. Hutcheon, Linda. New York: Routledge, Johansen, Kathrin et. Darmstadt, WBG, Kaye, Marguerite. The Governess and the Sheikh. Krug, Christian. Manchester: Manchester University Press, Mittmann, Brigitta. Paizis, George. Basingstoke: Macmillan, Regis, Pamela. A Natural History of the Romance Novel. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Taylor, Jessica. Teo, Hsu-Ming. Ned Curthoys. Carlton: Melbourne University Press, The Sheik.

George Melford. Paramount, White, Hayden V. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, During a career that spanned the years to her death in , British author Georgette Heyer wrote fifty-six novels and achieved enviable fame and fortune. However, [End Page 1] despite her commercial success, Heyer was never seen to belong in the higher literary circles, and, to this day, her work has been largely dismissed as escapist romantic nonsense.

By the late s she increasingly wanted others to acknowledge their worth and the quality of her writing. Alluding to some of the great works of literature was, to some extent, a seeking of attention for herself and acknowledgment of her own talents. Additionally, Heyer simply enjoyed showing off her knowledge, playing with the literature and poetry she loved, and bending it to her own purposes.

Venetia was the antithesis of the novel Heyer really wanted to write. Feeling confined by her own formula, Heyer manipulated her writing of Venetia so as to please her fans with the romantic and historical elements that they expected from her, while still satisfying her own intellect and trying to appeal to other intellectuals by including frequent references to canonical literary works. With Venetia , she was able to insinuate herself into a higher level of literary achievement—or, rather, she brought the great works to herself, incorporating them into her own creation.

Simply put, intertextuality occurs whenever one [End Page 2] text refers, whether explicitly or implicitly, to another text. Thus, when writers explicitly quote another author, they are putting their own work into discourse with the work or the author they are quoting. As I will discuss later, this quoting serves a dual purpose—one inside the text, and one outside. The person to whom the character is quoting is expected to recognize the source or at least that the source is not the speaker and understand the referential language.

When, however, a speaker-character quotes something, not expecting the listener-character to recognize the quotation, if the quotation is understood, the speaker-character is surprised and forced to reconsider his or her assumptions about the listener-character. This type of surprise occurs in Venetia , most notably when Damerel and Venetia first meet. Similarly, a reader who recognizes what a character has quoted is aware of the significance of that quotation to some degree—perhaps merely recognizing that it is a quotation rather than spontaneously produced dialogue—and feels in harmony with the culturally-aware character.

A reader who does not recognize a quotation, however, misses the information that the context or meaning of the quotation was intended to convey. Quotation thus serves not only the character who uses it, but also those within the text who hear it, the author who includes it, and the reader who either does or does not recognize it. Therefore, I contend that Heyer continually references and quotes classic poets and authors as a way of putting her work in conversation and on a level with those who are acknowledged as great writers.

By so doing, Heyer attempted to raise the cultural value of her work in her own eyes and in the eyes of literary critics and the reading public. In Venetia , quotation functions in a variety of sometimes overlapping ways. The most frequent use involves references, characters, or situations used ironically to mock established romantic tropes and conventions. In Oswald Denny, Heyer created the perfect means of satirizing the melancholy pretensions of the Byronic hero.

Oswald desires nothing more than to appear just like Lord Byron. A ridiculously romantic boy, five years younger than Venetia but pining after her, he suffers delusions of heroic, knightly grandeur in addition to his ridiculous pretensions of experience and turmoil. Only that I have no history! In this instance of quotation, Venetia has to backtrack somewhat and to clarify her words so they do not appear melodramatic or self-pitying. She may be willing to engage Damerel in exchanges of quotation and attempts at stumping each other with particularly good quotations, but she does not stoop to misrepresentation of herself in order to keep the context of the quote intact.

In his drunken state, Damerel stubbornly tries to be noble; having made the sacrifice of giving up Venetia, he will not allow her to ruin herself for him. Furthermore, he recognizes the utter impropriety of her being alone with him in his house and tries to send her away, a move that Venetia just will not allow. It may seem contradictory that Venetia and Damerel fall in love while they so consistently scorn the extreme dramatics and tropes of literary lovers, but the way in which they refer to these things presents their love as more realistic and self-aware.

Priddy deploys biblical quotations, which serve an interesting purpose in the novel. First, the fact that she—the lower-class servant—borrows only religious language, while Damerel and Venetia—members of the gentry—rely on heavily secular, often suggestive works, puts the two classes in opposition on a literary level and cements prevalent beliefs about the conservative nature of servants versus the more temporal concerns of the aristocracy. Recognising from the sudden Biblical turn of the conversation that her guardian was strongly moved, Venetia applied herself for the next twenty minutes to the task of soothing her agitation, pointing out to her that they had more reason to liken Damerel to the Good Samaritan than to the wicked, and coaxing her to accept her own determination to go to Aubrey as something as harmless as it was inevitable.


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In all of this she was only partially successful, for although Nurse knew that once Miss Venetia had made up her mind she was powerless to prevent her doing whatever she liked, and was obliged to admit some faint resemblance in Damerel to the Good Samaritan, she persisted in referring to him as The Ungodly, and in ascribing his charitable behaviour to some obscure but evil motive.

The significance of this conversation, beyond its continuation of the religious dialogue, will be discussed later on. This is high praise from Nurse, and it allows Venetia to visit [End Page 5] Aubrey and Damerel daily for the several weeks Aubrey must spend in recuperation.

Much to the dismay of the neighbors, Damerel continues the acquaintance after the Lanyons return home, paying visits to Undershaw whenever he wishes. She said he roared in the congregation. Do you know where it comes? We could not find it, though we looked in all the likeliest places.


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Damerel lifted his glass again, and sipped meditatively. We need Mrs Priddy to set us right. The references he makes here are particularly apt, for he is himself at a parting of the ways, stuck between his past life of wickedness and a future with Venetia that would require reformation. Damerel is forced to question whether or not he can change his internal character as the leopard or the Ethiopian would wish to change externally.

However, he recognizes that she would probably view him as a hopeless case, too far gone to reform. He continues:. She would be more likely to depress me with pithy sayings [End Page 6] about pits [16] and whirlwinds, [17] or to remind me that whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap. Finishing off, Damerel returns to secular works to express his intentions:.

He tossed off the rest of his brandy, and set the glass down, thrusting it away. He is still uncertain of his future with Venetia, trusting not in God and the homilies of the Bible, but in man and the language of quotation that has brought him and Venetia together. Significantly, all the biblical references in Venetia come from the Old Testament, with only two exceptions.

Nurse quotes only once from the New Testament instead of the Old, when she is weighing her opinion of Damerel against what has been spoken about him:. Perhaps it was wrong to let them form the habit of such easy intercourse with a sinner, but although the Scriptures warned one that the wicked were like a troubled sea, whose waters cast up mire and dirt, they also yielded some pretty pungent warnings against backbiters and unrighteous witnesses.

Every neighbour will walk with slanders , said the prophet Jeremiah, and one had only to cast an eye over the district to know how true that was. Nurse was much inclined to think that his lordship had been a victim of false report. While Nurse draws most of her allusions from the Old Testament, she counterbalances her warnings about the wicked with an allusion from the New Testament. It is generally accepted that the Old Testament God is vengeful, while the New Testament God is merciful, so it is crucially important that the only time Nurse quotes from the New Testament is when she is advocating the possibility that Damerel is innocent of the slanders uttered against him.

While the reader knows that this hopeful perspective is not fully accurate, it does introduce an opportunity for forgiving a reformed Damerel, which the Old Testament passages would not allow. The second allusion to a New Testament quotation occurs when Damerel is hypothesizing what Nurse may think of his hopes for reformation. By pointing to a less forgiving passage than did Nurse, [20] Damerel indicates his fear that he will reap the results of his wicked sowing. The practice of quotation provides them with freedom from the constraints of polite society conversation.

Venetia in particular is freed from having to speak and behave like a proper lady, and her quotations and references often carry her away into what would not be socially acceptable and what would very likely distress religiously-minded Nurse. The fact that these two can speak to each other without constantly worrying about the codes of proper society conversation allows them to fall into an almost anachronistic level of friendly intimacy. Venetia explains that, as a child, she was never told much of Damerel, due to the salacious nature of the details.

While Hamlet pretended to be mad in order to avenge his father, Venetia decides that Damerel resolved to act the part of a rake in order to mask his crushed feelings after the abandonment of his ladylove. Damerel speaks candidly and scathingly of his former love affair and describes his studiousness and therefore his aptness to quote as being part of why he was abandoned for a wealthy, foppish Italian:.

Chuck-full of scholarship, and with no more commonsense than to bore her to screaming point with classical allusions! I even tried to teach her a little Latin, but the only lesson she learned of me was the art of elopement. Since Damerel is an educated man, he would assume that Venetia was intentionally insulting his father with Shakespearean comparisons. When she tries to apologize for her forthrightness, Damerel stops her with another quotation, for once using a source that Venetia does not recognize, and seizes the opportunity to comment on her beauty and renew his attempts at flirtation:.

Sweet Mind, then speak yourself…! What was she like? It makes you sound like a would-be beau at the York Assemblies! Appersett lent to me.

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I daresay perfectly amiable when one came to know her. Her eyes twinkled at him. Yes, and sympathize with her, besides wishing I had her resolution! Though I think I should rather have buried your remains tidily in the garden, my dear! Dear, odious Aubrey! Do lend me your ears! Just one of your ears, love! From these exchanges, it becomes clear that, despite their mutual affection, Aubrey and Venetia are not the best of companions, the former being far too engrossed in his studies to attend to the latter, unless she speaks to him in his own language, the language of literature. This is a striking parallel to how Heyer herself was attempting to attract attention: like Venetia, she uses literature to demand acknowledgement.

Related to these ploys for attention are utterances that appear to be offhand and that indicate hidden intent and the transformation of characters. Venetia immediately recognizes that this brooding stranger must be Lord Damerel himself, so perfectly does he fit the part. Clearly, Damerel is intent on debauchery. Would she could make of me a saint, or I of her a sinner— Who the devil wrote that? And for the second—it was precisely my intention, and a rare moment this is to discover that if I could I would not! After originally deciding to stay in Yorkshire in order to seduce Venetia, Damerel finds himself affected more than he thought possible and is unable to see a way of making the relationship work either on his original terms seduction or the only respectable offer he could make her marriage.

A complex sub-category of these references involves instances where Damerel is trying to make Venetia think that he is using quotation offhandedly as a sign of his disinterest or lack of concern at their parting. In actuality, Damerel is trying to hide his own emotions, sending Venetia away thinking that he has appropriated the manner in which they had used quotation as a signal of their ease with each other.

Venetia perceives that he has changed it into a more cynical, almost brutal distancing mechanism. He does this with the rapid-fire way in which he shifts from quotation to quotation in his farewell scene with Venetia in order to disguise his real feelings of despair, trying to make her able to forget about him and move on:. Let us agree that it was a lovely interlude! It could never be more than that, you know: we must have come to earth—we might even have grown a little weary of each other. We must be able to look back smilingly, my dear delight, not shuddering!

So very beautiful they are —and about the eyelids much sweetness! Venetia sees that Damerel is eager to get her out of his life which, of course, is exactly what he wants her to believe :. He was holding open the door, a suggestion of impatience in his attitude.

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The second line of the sonnet he had quoted came into her mind: Nay, I have done: you get no more of me. He had not spoken those words; there was no need: a golden autumn had ended in storm and drizzling rain, an iridescent bubble had burst, and nothing was left to her but conduct, to help her to behave mannerly.

Convinced that Damerel has no serious intentions, Venetia leaves for London, heartbroken. The moment at which Damerel fully, honestly and desperately proclaims his love for Venetia, he avoids any use of quotation. His feelings are too raw to be expressed using the words of anyone but himself. In Venetia , Heyer also makes literary allusions that reinforce the fact that Venetia relates to the world through the books she has read. Heyer also makes literary allusions in subtler ways, consciously paralleling her characters with famous literary characters in order to demonstrate her own knowledge.

Collins with the insufferable Edward Yardley In addition, Lady Denny and Mrs. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice , Mrs. Jennings from Sense and Sensibility , and Mrs. Allen from Northanger Abbey. Indeed, Heyer referred to Mr. Rochester as an enormous influence on her own heroes Kloester Like Rochester, Damerel shuns his ancestral home, only deciding to stay once he has met Venetia. Rochester—she discovers that he is brooding [32] and utterly drunk.

He is so drunk in fact that, upon first seeing Venetia, he is convinced she is an apparition. Heyer uses quotation not only as a device through which to demonstrate the compatibility of her romantic leads, but also in an attempt to reach out to her educated, literary audience. Her moderately educated readers might chortle at her Shakespeare references and feel self-congratulatory for recognizing them, but a true scholar or the literati her dream audience would appreciate the less obvious allusions.

Where did you find that? Embarrassed to remember the original context, Venetia refuses to tell him. Hence Venetia feeling the context did not suit the situation. My curiosity is now thoroughly roused! My reputation, Iago, my reputation! They look like rosebuds filled with snow! He nodded, much entertained by her suddenly intent look. Her eyes sparkled with triumph; she uttered a tiny gurgle of laughter; and retorted:. Yet them no peer nor prince can buy, Till Cherry-ripe themselves do cry!

So let that be a lesson to you to take care what poets you choose! However, her response—and her lesson for him—is also from Campion, not Herrick. Heyer shows that, even when they have become confused as to what they are quoting, Damerel and Venetia and, hopefully, the reader are able to correctly complete the quotation.

As a voracious reader, Heyer had a huge store of literary knowledge from which to draw inspiration and quotations. Hodge argues that Heyer had forced herself to avoid using quotations in her previous work for fear of alienating her audience, but, in this novel, released herself from such constraint and effectually flaunted her own reading habits:. The book is thick with [quotations], used like the Regency language as a kind of distancing for the serious romantic plot.

Contrary to Hodge, I believe that Heyer was not just indulging herself, but, rather, trying to appeal to a higher level of audience. In a letter to her publisher at Heinemann, A. Frere, she acknowledges her inclusion of the quotations:. You may think this frivolous of me, but have you ever read what Aubrey said of Venetia? My hero, I should add, is rather given to quotation. Letter, 7 March [End Page 14]. This character trait of his also gave Heyer the opportunity to present her readers with evidence of her own research, education, and literary prowess. Thus, the profusion of highbrow quotations in Venetia allowed Heyer to pay tribute to authors that she admired as a reader and to use them in order to assert her own worth as a writer.

Similarly, Heyer borrows the words and narratives of other mostly male authors while working within the narrative expectations of her own readers in order to shape her novel into something that both appeased her audience and reached out to the people and literature with which she wanted to be identified. Ultimately, when Damerel and Venetia quote back and forth to each other, they demonstrate their suitability as a couple, speaking the same language and viewing the world in the same way. Contrary to S. Rather, their quotations show that their minds are of the same stamp.

This mental likeness is most forcefully illustrated when Venetia is able to complete the couplet of an Alexander Pope sonnet, once prompted by Damerel, who provides the first line:. You remained, and always will, a beautiful, desirable creature. Only my intentions were changed. I resolved to do you no hurt, but leave you I could not! Damerel believes that he does not deserve Venetia because of his rakish past and that it would require an act of the gods to make him worthy of her.

This back-and-forth illustrates that they quite literally or literarily? Hendred, in a stupefied tone. At the end of the novel, the rake has been reformed; Damerel, whose previous attempts have been interrupted or aborted, proposes marriage to Venetia for the fourth time. Once Damerel makes peace with his past and begins to look forward to a happy future, quotation in the novel ceases, as least so far into the future as we readers are allowed to see. Similarly, Heyer demonstrated with Venetia that, because of her tremendous literary knowledge and skillful references to classic works and authors, readers should not mistake her for a trashy romance novelist.

Thus, both Venetia the character and Venetia the novel, allowed Georgette Heyer to proclaim herself a serious literary force, capable of taking on and repurposing some of the great works of literature—all with her trademark wit and style. Assuming that because Venetia is walking alone she must be a lower-class girl, Damerel does not hesitate to kiss her against her wishes. As he advanced upon her Venetia perceived that he was dark, his countenance lean and rather swarthy, marked with lines of dissipation.

Venetia thinks of more of the sonnet as she departs. His hand fell; for one instant he gazed at her incredulously, then he was on his feet, knocking over his wineglass. Aubrey, John. Richard W. Congreve, William. Montague Summers. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger, Drayton, Michael. Arundell Esdaile. London: Chatto and Windus, Anniina Jokinen, Oct. Jonson, Ben. London: G. Routledge, Pope, Alexander. The Works of Alexander Pope, Esq. William Warburton. London: A. Millar, J.

Tonson, and Others, Shakespeare, William. Howard, and Katharine Eisaman Maus. New York: W. Norton, Cavendish, Henry. Chicago Sunday Tribune 4 Sept. Dirda, Michael. Orlando: Harcourt, Eco, Umberto. Martin McLaughlin. Garrett, Heather-Joy. Palimpsests: Literature in the Second Degree. Channa Newman and Claude Doubinsky. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, Hodge, Jane Aiken. The Private World of Georgette Heyer. London: Bodley Head, Kempf, Andrea.

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