Romance and the Erotics of Property

Mass-Market Fiction for Women

Romance and the Erotics of Property

Book Pages: 188 Illustrations: Published: 0

Author: Jan Cohn

Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Criticism

Romance and the Erotics of Property examines contemporary popular romance from a number of different points of view, probing for codes and subtexts that sometimes exploit and sometimes contradict its surface tale of romantic attraction, frustration, longing, and fulfillment.
Cohn argues that a full understanding of the contemporary romance requires an investigation of its literary and historical sources and analogues. Three principal sources are examined in the context of women's history in bourgeois society. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Erye, and Gone With the Wind demonstrate the development of romance fiction's themes, yet in all three the central love story is complicated by issues of property, the sign of male power. Jan Cohn further considers the development of the genre n the fictions of Harriet Lewis and May Agnes Fleming, prolific and popular American romance writers of the late nineteenth century who developed the role of the villain, thereby bringing into focus the sexual and economic struggles faced by the heroine.
Romance and the Erotics of Property sets romance fiction against a historic and literary background, arguing that contemporary romance disguises as tales of love the subversive fantasies of female appropriation and male property and power.


"Building upon earlier work on the genre of romance, Romance and the Erotics of Property advances a new claim; Cohn argues compellingly that the romance's story of attraction and love masks a more important, more disturbing tale about how women achieve power and economic success within partriarchy." — Janice Radway, Duke University


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Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments vii

Introduction 1

1. Sex, Love and Marriage 13

2. The Romance Hero 39

3. The Victorian Popular Romance 63

4. Women's Work 93

5. The Erotics of Property 125

6. Romance and Sexual Politics 151

Index 179
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-0799-0