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"Romance is looked down because of it's poor literary..
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Jenny



Joined: 12 Jun 2007
Posts: 251
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:36 pm    Post subject: "Romance is looked down because of it's poor literary.. Reply with quote

Quote:
red sea says: Romance is looked down because of it's poor literary quality, and the fact that it produces nothing of lasting value.



Quote:
If the romance industry had produced books and authors which were known and respected outside their genre, I think I'd have heard of them, but if you disagree, why not name them?


The above are quotes from "red sea" on amazon's romance message board.

How would you respond to them? Do you agree or disagree?

Do you think a person with such opinon could be converted into liking romance?

What prime examples of romance novels would you suggest he/she try?



Thank you.

Jenny
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Sherry Thomas



Joined: 04 Dec 2007
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's questionable whether someone with such an attitude toward Romance as a whole would be open-minded enough to try anything.

But if they are ostensibly wanting literary quality, then go with Judith Ivory or Laura Kinsale. BEAST and BLISS by Judith Ivory have literary flair coming out of the wazoo. And for Laura Kinsale, I'd recommend FLOWERS FROM THE STORM, which is not my favorite of her work, but is likely exactly the opposite of what this person thinks Romance is, and FOR MY LADY'S HEART--how many literary fiction writers of today are stalwart enough to do their dialogue in Middle English? :-)

Shock and awe, I say.
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Diana



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 1044
Location: Washington DC

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You might want to point out to his pompous literary self that that apostrophe doesn't belong in "it's".

A few names that come to mind: Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, Tami Hoag, Linda Howard, Diana Gabaldon off the top of my head. All authors known for romance who've had great mainstream success.
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Laura V



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Opinions concerning what is or isn't of "poor literary quality" can be extremely subjective. There's nothing inherent in the form (a happy love story) which automatically prevents a romance from being of great literary quality. I've listed a few literary predecessors of the modern romance genre here. As for modern romance authors, if I had to mention just one I'd have to recommend Jennifer Crusie, for the very biased reason that I and a number of my colleagues are currently writing a volume of academic essays about her novels. I don't know whether or not the people making disparaging comments about the genre would recognise these novels as having "literary quality." How good are they at doing literary criticism?

As for why a particular individual might not have heard of any famous romance authors, it could well be due to the fact that there are a great many prejudices against the genre. It seems likely that such prejudices lead to a lack of serious reviews and discussion in places other than those dedicated to the romance genre.
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 6635
Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Diana wrote:
You might want to point out to his pompous literary self that that apostrophe doesn't belong in "it's".

A few names that come to mind: Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, Tami Hoag, Linda Howard, Diana Gabaldon off the top of my head. All authors known for romance who've had great mainstream success.



It is true that Hoag, Gabaldon and Brown have stepped into mainstream, but I don't think Roberts or Howard has. Roberts writes light fare with the same characters with different names. I realize she has written some nice romances, but she doesn't step out of the romance box...ever. And the same thing goes for Howard, although I think she may have a better chance of attracting non romance readers. I only say this because I can't pass off a Roberts book to any of my non romance reading friends...Gabaldon, yes. Anyway, I don't see why this person has to be convinced to enjoy romance anyway. Who cares if he doesn't like it? I think one thing that could be changed in the romance genre are the god awful covers. How is a genre supposed to be taken seriously with most of the cover bordering on silly. I would be more inclined to defend the genre if I didn't have to start with the cover.
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Sandlynn



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
think one thing that could be changed in the romance genre are the god awful covers. How is a genre supposed to be taken seriously with most of the cover bordering on silly. I would be more inclined to defend the genre if I didn't have to start with the cover.


What makes it worse is that oftentimes the covers have no relationship to the story. If there are people on the cover, they look nothing like how the characters are described. Or -- no matter what the design -- the cover art has no relationship to the story. It's just totally arbitrary and, at times, totally ridiculous as well. In addition to having a contest for best cover art and worst cover art, I think someone should have a contest as to the best cover art that acturately reflects the story, however that is judged -- whether literally, in terms of the figures on the cover, or figuratively, in terms of the symbolism or artistic interpretations.
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Diana



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

xina wrote:


It is true that Hoag, Gabaldon and Brown have stepped into mainstream, but I don't think Roberts or Howard has. Roberts writes light fare with the same characters with different names. I realize she has written some nice romances, but she doesn't step out of the romance box...ever. And the same thing goes for Howard, although I think she may have a better chance of attracting non romance readers. I only say this because I can't pass off a Roberts book to any of my non romance reading friends...Gabaldon, yes. Anyway, I don't see why this person has to be convinced to enjoy romance anyway. Who cares if he doesn't like it? I think one thing that could be changed in the romance genre are the god awful covers. How is a genre supposed to be taken seriously with most of the cover bordering on silly. I would be more inclined to defend the genre if I didn't have to start with the cover.


I was one of those insufferable snobs who turned up my nose at romance only 10 years ago. Confused I picked up Linda Howard's All the Queen's Men without the slightest idea that it was OMG romance and loved it. Tess Gerritson is another who wrote category romance and I had no idea as I gobbled up her single titles. Howard's romance readers have done a lot of grumbling about her last two books that they're not romantic enough. However, her new one Death Angel is way hotter than she's done in quite a while. I don't know what Jennifer Crusie is about these days. After her famous essay promising that she'd never abandon her romance fans, there are those who think she has. I know a lot of women who read Nora Roberts who would deny with their last breath that they're reading OMG romance. Since none of these authors has had the actual word "romance" on their covers for a long time, those who scoff can feel smug and secure in that they're reading a "novel."

Totally agree with you about the covers. Couldn't have said it better. And without making any comment about the actual books, those Harlequin billionaire/sheikh/mistress/daddy/virgin titles are a joke and completely indefensible.
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NoirFemme



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 2:19 am    Post subject: Re: "Romance is looked down because of it's poor litera Reply with quote

*Le Sigh*

I don't really care about people claiming the romance genre has no lasting literary value, and neither do I care to "convert" anyone because it's difficult to push people out of their comfort zones. The OP obviously has an irrational dislike for the romance genre and I'd really ask them what their point was in entering a forum for romance fans to slag on the genre. Seems to me they just want attention. Rolling Eyes
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 3:23 am    Post subject: Re: "Romance is looked down because of it's poor litera Reply with quote

Quote:
red sea says: Romance is looked down because of it's poor literary quality, and the fact that it produces nothing of lasting value.


+IHS+

Romance produces nothing of lasting value? Neither does a bath, mate, but we don't look down on showers.

I personally would not let anyone disparage Romance to me without first reading something by Jo Beverley or Mary Jo Putney. I sometimes describe them as "brilliant writers who 'just happen' to write in the Romance genre." (Well, okay, they don't "just happen" to write Romances, but that description seems to disarm people who think that Romance writers are automatically mediocre writers.)

Quote:
If the romance industry had produced books and authors which were known and respected outside their genre, I think I'd have heard of them, but if you disagree, why not name them?


Now that's just silly. Is he implying that "known and respected outside their genre" means that "lasting value" he was talking about?

For me, the test should be not (perceived) versatility on the part of a writer, but whether or not her books will stand the so-called test of time. (It's lasting value he's talking about, isn't it?) There is a lot of Contemporary Fiction that is respected today but that may not be read or remembered in ten years.

Unfortunately, we'll have to wait a while to see which writers we love today will be taken up by our daughters in the future.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 7:45 am    Post subject: Re: "Romance is looked down because of it's poor litera Reply with quote

NoirFemme wrote:
I don't really care about people claiming the romance genre has no lasting literary value, and neither do I care to "convert" anyone because it's difficult to push people out of their comfort zones.

I read inside and outside of the romance genre. As long as the story is interesting to me, I really have no need to defend my position to anyone else. It's great when others agree with me, but that won't happen in the 100 percent range ever. So, I agree, NoirFemme, that it doesn't matter what people say about romance fiction. If it doesn't stand the test of time, then so be it. A lot of things don't, but that doesn't mean they didn't have their purpose for the moment.

I too have quit trying to convert people to read one way or another. I read what I enjoy and let it go.

Your comment regarding why a person disliking romance fiction so much would be frequenting a romance message board is interesting. It would be similar to my posting on a sci-fi board and dissing them, knowing I don't like nor read their kind of books. Makes no sense. It just stirs the pot and really to no avail.
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dick



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, if schola is correct (and I think she is) that literary value is determined by whether a piece of fiction is read and admired 100 years after publication, I have to agree, a bit reluctantly, that the person is probably correct. The requirements of the genre don't allow enough scope to examine the kinds of questions that we usually associate with the canon; the HEA doesn't allow for the inevitability of circumstances. Still, the operative word in "literary value" is "value" and since a remarkably large number of readers "value" romance fiction, that it has it can't really be questioned. If by "literary," the person making the comment means good prose, good plots, good characterization, that person is wrong.
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was one of those insufferable snobs who turned up my nose at romance only 10 years ago. Confused I picked up Linda Howard's All the Queen's Men without the slightest idea that it was OMG romance and loved it. Tess Gerritson is another who wrote category romance and I had no idea as I gobbled up her single titles. Howard's romance readers have done a lot of grumbling about her last two books that they're not romantic enough. However, her new one Death Angel is way hotter than she's done in quite a while. I don't know what Jennifer Crusie is about these days. After her famous essay promising that she'd never abandon her romance fans, there are those who think she has. I know a lot of women who read Nora Roberts who would deny with their last breath that they're reading OMG romance. Since none of these authors has had the actual word "romance" on their covers for a long time, those who scoff can feel smug and secure in that they're reading a "novel."





Yes, I was one of those people too, sort of a book snob. Actually, my first "romance" was Gabaldon and I went on from there. As for Roberts, I know people say that many non romance readers read her, but I don't know any of those people. However, at the moment I have all my Emily Giffens, Marsha Moyers and the first 2 Gabaldons borrowed out to 5 of my non romance reading friends and they are loving the books (and they say that they don't read romance...ha!). Like I said, I can't pass off a Nora Roberts book to any of them.
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graceC



Joined: 28 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

......yawn..... yet another romance basher Rolling Eyes .... another yawn.....

I used to get all worked up reading or hearing comments like that, now I just roll my eyes and keep on reading my romance books. What you read doesn't make you any more or less intelligent. It's a matter of taste.
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 1:09 pm    Post subject: Re: "Romance is looked down because of it's poor litera Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
Quote:
red sea says: Romance is looked down because of it's poor literary quality, and the fact that it produces nothing of lasting value.



Quote:
If the romance industry had produced books and authors which were known and respected outside their genre, I think I'd have heard of them, but if you disagree, why not name them?


The above are quotes from "red sea" on amazon's romance message board.


Jenny, do you have a link? I'm having trouble navigating Amazon and would like to read the original thread. Thanks!
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Em



Joined: 30 Mar 2007
Posts: 189

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, if schola is correct (and I think she is) that literary value is determined by whether a piece of fiction is read and admired 100 years after publication, I have to agree, a bit reluctantly, that the person is probably correct. The requirements of the genre don't allow enough scope to examine the kinds of questions that we usually associate with the canon; the HEA doesn't allow for the inevitability of circumstances. Still, the operative word in "literary value" is "value" and since a remarkably large number of readers "value" romance fiction, that it has it can't really be questioned. If by "literary," the person making the comment means good prose, good plots, good characterization, that person is wrong.

I absolutely agree with this statement of Dick's--it's logical and academically correct.
But having recognized this, I join all the other posters who in effect said, "Who cares?" Most people read what they enjoy without agonizing over whether a book will or will not have ultimate " literary value". Moreover, every now and then the romance genre produces little gems that enrich our actual knowledge. Just recently, I was in Europe viewing the Bayeux tapestry after a semester of teaching about the Norman invasion etc.--but a great deal of my pleasure in visiting the museum came from remembering a Maura Seger romance I had read years ago called "Tapestry". In that book, Seger brilliantly speculated on all the history and emotions surrounding the tapestry's creation --in a romance novel--and did it better and more intriguingly than a recent 2004 history book called "1066: The Hidden History in the Bayeux Tapestry."
I know which book I enjoyed and valued more.
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