What do we mean when we say or write "romance novel"? In her Introduction, Kamblé points to the two quite different literary genres that make up this compound genre label, and examines what characteristics of "romance" and what characteristics of "novel" the mass-market popular romance has inherited.
From the novel:
• storytelling in prose
• written form, which "permits silent communion with the story"
• the "use of perspectives or point of view that can tap into interiority, particularly through narrative monologue"
• the pleasure of "sentiophilia," or "pleasure in thinking and feeling another's thoughts and feelings"
• an "adaptive tendency," a chameleon-like ability to change in response to social, historical, literary, and/or other change (3, 3, 7, 10, 11)
Again, Kamblé does a more detailed compare/contrast to illustrate her larger point, this time focusing on two versions of the same written text: Lisa Kleypas's 1992 Only in Your Arms, revised and reissued in 2002 as When Strangers Marry. Kamblé proves herself an attentive, focused close-reader here, demonstrating how the "makeover" Kleypas gives her novel is not simply cosmetic, but highlights shifting ideologies about what constitutes desirable masculinity and acceptable racial politics in the ten years between her novel's original publication and its reissue.
More about which next Friday...
Making Meaning in Popular Romance Fiction: An Epistemology
Palgrave Macmillan, 2014