JANICE RADWAY READING THE ROMANCE PDF

Radway emphasizes the idea of a happy, satisfying ending as well as the struggle of the heroine, who often, if not always, lives in a state of weakness in a patriarchal society. Language and Narrative Discourse[ edit ] Radway also analyzes the romance genre, yet instead of listing her own preferences or specific works, she examines the genre by examining the language of the romance novel and how that language affects the readers. The style, Radway points out, is relatively simplistic. The successful, fulfilling romance novel exists when the author herself has provided meaning for her story through the words she has written.

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Among those who have disparaged romance reading are feminists, literary critics, and theorists of mass culture. Radway questions such claims, arguing that critical attention "must shift from the text itself, taken in isolation, to the complex social event of reading.

Asking readers themselves to explore their reading motives, habits, and rewards, she conducted interviews in a midwestern town with forty-two romance readers whom she met through Dorothy Evans, a chain bookstore employee who has earned a reputation as an expert on romantic fiction. Indeed, Radway found that while the women she studied devote themselves to nurturing their families, these wives and mothers receive insufficient devotion or nurturance in return.

In romances the women find not only escape from the demanding and often tiresome routines of their lives but also a hero who supplies the tenderness and admiring attention that they have learned not to expect. These romance readers resent not only the limited choices in their own lives but the patronizing atitude that men especially express toward their reading tastes.

In fact, women read romances both to protest and to escape temporarily the narrowly defined role prescribed for them by a patriarchal culture. Paradoxically, the books that they read make conventional roles for women seem desirable. It is this complex relationship between culture, text, and woman reader that Radway urges feminists to address.

Romance readers, she argues, should be encouraged to deliver their protests in the arena of actual social relations rather than to act them out in the solitude of the imagination.

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Reading The Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature

Among those who have disparaged romance reading are feminists, literary critics, and theorists of mass culture. Radway questions such claims, arguing that critical attention "must shift from the text itself, taken in isolation, to the complex social event of reading. Asking readers themselves to explore their reading motives, habits, and rewards, she conducted interviews in a midwestern town with forty-two romance readers whom she met through Dorothy Evans, a chain bookstore employee who has earned a reputation as an expert on romantic fiction. Indeed, Radway found that while the women she studied devote themselves to nurturing their families, these wives and mothers receive insufficient devotion or nurturance in return. In romances the women find not only escape from the demanding and often tiresome routines of their lives but also a hero who supplies the tenderness and admiring attention that they have learned not to expect. These romance readers resent not only the limited choices in their own lives but the patronizing atitude that men especially express toward their reading tastes.

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Edit Radway plainly states that simply reducing the practice of book buying to a relationship between the book and its audience leaves out the institutional and economic concerns of book publish and distribution. Radway summarizes the history of romance novel publishing in the United States, concluding that economic demands dictated a system in which ideal audiences for novels were selected ahead of time rather than engage in complex and expensive advertising. Publishers set out to create lines of novels that were known quantities among these groups, controlling the production and creating a set formula that was facilitated by new binding and production technologies allowing for more books to be published faster. The goal with these lines was to reduce uncertainty and increase the predictability of sales without having to find a new audience for each book - if women knew what to expect from the line of novels, they would know what to expect from the new one. This essentially turned romance novels into a commodity, unlike more traditional forms of literature sold through traditional revenues. Over time, as companies consolidated and the pressure to increase profit has increased, most publishers sought out new manuscripts rather than reprinting old ones, seeking out original works by authors who fit into the existing publishing framework and providing guidelines about house style and story structure to those they publish.

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