Thursday, February 04, 2010

Bibliography of Romance Novels

In re the Academic Study of Romance.
For all you home gamers:

Here -- I don't know how long this will be posted so you may want to copy it -- is the
Supplemental Reading List for Yale College seminar, “Reading the Historical Romance Novel”  Instructors: Andrea DaRif (Cara Elliott) and Lauren Willig


  1. Wow, I so want to take this class!

  2. @ Sandy --

    Me too.

    This is another time I wish universities woudld record classes and make them widely available.
    I have campus envy.

  3. Anonymous3:47 PM

    I would have added Patricia Veryan's, Clare Darcy's and your books on the syllabus though. Jeanine

  4. @ Jeanine --

    I agree about my own books -- I did get a mention in there, actually.

    I also agree wholeheartedly with the Patricia Veryan thought.

    I suspect Clare Darcy got left out in favor of sneaking in a couple more of the Heyer books.

  5. It's a great list and very cool to see it coming out of Yale. I would love to see them add some "bodice rippers" to it. The big 70s and 80s epic historical adventures tend to get short shrift these days. They don't quite stem from the same lineage as Heyer and modern Regency.

    MIT had great recorded lectures. Of course, a good portion of them are in physics and other sciences...

  6. Hi Jo,

    Thanks for posting the syllabus and reading list here. Lauren and I are having an amazing time teaching this course—the student discussions are wonderful!

    I know we're going to get LOTS of comment about the reading lists. We know we've left off many great books, but we did it rather quickly and consider it a work in progress. Everyone should feel free to give us suggestions. Just visit my website and send me an e-mail.

    Cara Elliott (Andrea DaRif)

  7. @ Sabrina Darby --

    Beatrice Small is on the list with a work I don't actually know. It occurs to me that the sheer length of the epic side of the genre may have forced them to choose a single representative work.

    I have to wish it could have been Sergeanne Golon, but Small is doubtless more typical.

  8. Anonymous8:58 AM

    I thought Diana Gabaldon for first person narrative. Maybe she's not there because she's listed under historical fiction?

  9. @ Anon --

    Romance genre is delighted to claim Diana Gabaldon as one of our own . . . but I think we're kinda cheating.

    My own take is, except for Outlander -- admittedly a rather large except -- Diana's work belongs in General Fiction. In fact, Diana waged a determined campaign with B&N, back in the day, to get them pulled off the Romance shelves and put -- well, about anywhere else. This was, as I understand it, both seeking a better 'fit' for the content of the books and a desire to reach a wider audience.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. @ Annie --

    Childe Harold as the archetype of the alpha hero *g*.

    I'd add Manfred from the castle of Otranto as his dark mirror twin . . .
    and maybe we add just a dash of Prometheus from Shelley's 'Prometheus Unbound',
    (see how I didn't use the word eponymous. See? See? My self-restraint is widely applauded.)
    maybe Werther, maybe Casanova's Histoire.

    Add 'em up and we got ourselves the 'Byronic hero' -- a kinda Mary Sue from all these C18 bildungsromans, created by male authors.

    Then women come along and take the Byronic hero -- a male indulgence -- and make him Heathcliffe, make him Rochester, make him a Romantic hero. I gotta LOL.

  12. I'm with you, Jo! No woman with a brain would want to hang out with the "original" Byronic hero. That bloke can't be redeemed, though Don Juan is loads of fun. (I'd say neither can Heathcliffe, but that's just my opinion and probably not a popular one.)

    If we want to get all snarky about the Romantics, maybe we can add Keats's poor knight at arms from "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" as a type for the beta hero? Though I don't suppose any self-respecting heroine would have left him alone and palely loitering. And his Porphyro from "Eve of St Agnes" is a pretty cool, rescuing beta. Be still my heart.

  13. P.S. I moved my post to the other thread, which is where I thought I was when I wrote it. I'm frequently not where I think I am. Sigh.

  14. Good grief, I meant to say Porphyro could be seen as a rescuing alpha. And I used to work as a proofreader. Go figure.
    *doesn't know where she is or what she's saying*

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. Lord -- I love that poem. Though I have to say it's not so much for the hero -- he seems fairly milky to me -- but for the images. The language.

    You have to tease it out from the purple, but there is some lovely stuff in there.

    St. Agnes' Eve--Ah, bitter chill it was!
    The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;
    The hare limp'd trembling through the frozen grass,

    It's been a while since I thought of that one.

    And they are gone: aye, ages long ago
    These lovers fled away into the storm

    I am just a sucker for lyric language.

    ETA -- I, too, never know where I am or what I'm spelling. I like to think my mind is on higher things, but I am fooling myself.

  17. Elisa Beatty1:08 PM

    Yes, yes--you're so right about the Byronic hero transmuted (and made WAY more palatable) in romances written by women. Love it!

  18. @ Elisa --

    I think we're still in the middle of this process. If I write a cool, cerebral spy with an eye to fashion . . . do I owe a debt to Ian Fleming who was writing male wish fulfillment?

  19. Anonymous10:18 PM

    I pulled a lot of things I want to read off that list. But where were Laura Kinsale and Julia Ross?
    I must remember to go back and see what they add after they get all the comments.

  20. @ Anon --

    On my keeper shelf -- Kinsale. Ross. Great stuff.

    Was Pam Rosenthal on the list?

  21. Anonymous5:45 PM

    Don't think so--I want to go back and look at it again.