A compelling study of how Mills & Boon romances adapt the forms and metaphors of canonical literature to romance purposes.
Laura Vivanco’s study challenges the perception that Harlequin Mills & Boon romances are merely mass-produced commodities, churned out in accordance with a strict and unchanging formula. She argues that many are well-written, skilfully crafted works, and that a few are small masterpieces. For Love and Money demonstrates the variety that exists beneath the covers of Harlequin Mills & Boon romances. They range from paranormal romances to novels resembling chick lit, and many have addressed serious issues, including the plight of post-Second World War refugees, threats to marine mammals, and HIV/AIDS. The genre draws inspiration from canonical texts, including Shakespearean comedies and Austen’s novels, as well as from other forms of popular culture. Though adapting a stock of common plots, the way such plots and metaphors are incorporated into any given novel renders it unique.
Eric M Selinger writes: 'Laura Vivanco’s For Love and Money is the book that scholars and fans have both been waiting for: a deft, attentive introduction to the Harlequin Mills & Boon romance novel as a work of art. [...] Vivanco traces the connections between these books and the classical myths and medieval romances they so often deliberately echo, and she shows how the novels use allusion and metatextual reflection to defend their genre. ('Scorn not the sonnet,' Wordsworth warned in a sonnet—Harlequin Mills & Boon novels have long taught readers to 'scorn not the romance.') Vivanco’s conversation with earlier critics, from the 1930s “Battle of the Brows” through 21st century scholars like Pamela Regis, is lively, engaging, and good-humored, and she has a remarkable eye for the textual details that bring each novel to life. I am profoundly impressed." - Professor Eric M. Selinger, author of What Is It Then Between Us? Traditions of Love in American Poetry.
About the author
Laura Vivanco is an independent scholar of romance fiction, including both modern popular romance and mediaeval Hispanic literature and is the author of Death in Fifteenth-Century Castile: Ideologies of the Elites and of essays on modern and mediaeval Hispanic romance. She has a PhD from the University of St Andrews and is a member of the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance and a regular contributor to Teach me Tonight, an academic blog devoted to the study of popular romance novels.
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