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



Joined: 17 Feb 2008
Posts: 783

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"...read and admired 100 years after publication" hmm. So let's take 1908. What works of fiction from 1908 are people reading and admiring today? Perhaps teachers of literature and graduate students thereof should exclude works they are reading for professional reasons.

Of course, a hundred years ago you are running into the beginning of the split between high culture and popular culture the reason why some feel entitled to sneer at romance novels. A few decades earlier everyone was allowed to enjoy Dickens, Trollope, THackery and Eliot, and a bit earlier, Austen and Scott.

Admittedly, there is a good deal of dreck put out under the rubric of romance novels, but the same is true of mystery stories or science fiction, which do not attract the same level of scorn. A good question might be, why do people feel obliged to establish their intellectual credentials by sneering at romance? Is it simply because the vast majority of the readers (and writers) are women?
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MarianneM



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 374
Location: Houston, Texas

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 10:28 pm    Post subject: Book Snobs ... I hate 'em Reply with quote

You know, when I saw the first post on this subject I thought, "Oh hell, another book snob. He doesn't read for pleasure so how can one communicate with him in the first place." He belongs to that vast group of people who read to validate their own importance and prove they are better than us, stupid romance readers that we are, sitting in our recliners and eating chocolates and reading trash.

I sometimes think that the reading world is divided between those who read to get credit for brilliance from other people, and those who read for pleasure [their own pleasure] and don't give a dam' what the other guys think. I belong to the second group and, quite frankly, I don't want to have those in the first group in my bunch in the first place. They're a bore, these book snobs. They read three books a year, carefully selected to be impressive to their peers. We who read for pleasure read hundreds of books a year, some good, some not-so-good, some wall-bangers. We usually read in all genres, not just in the romance genre, and we furnish our minds richly with the best from every genre. We can't convert these other people, and at my advanced age, I'm not oging to waste my time trying.

MarianneM
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MarianneM



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 374
Location: Houston, Texas

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 10:31 pm    Post subject: OOOPs ... sorry Reply with quote

Typo in the last line ... "and I'm not going to waste my time trying." Sorry -- even Homer nods, though more often than Mrs. Homer.

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Jenny



Joined: 12 Jun 2007
Posts: 248
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 3:03 am    Post subject: Re: "Romance is looked down because of it's poor litera Reply with quote

Schola wrote:
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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Here are the links:

Red sea responded with his/her comments here first:

http://www.amazon.com/tag/romance/forum?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=FxM42D5QN2YZ1D&cdThread=Tx1XYL5RH7F9YTK
_________________________________________________

Another reader issued a challenge to red sea to try reading a romance novel recommended by her:

http://www.amazon.com/tag/romance/forum/ref=cm_cd_ef_tft_tp?%5Fencoding=UTF8&cdForum=FxM42D5QN2YZ1D&cdThread=Tx34RU9D3MOZFY1&displayType=tagsDetail


Thank you all for your response.

Jenny
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Jane G



Joined: 29 Jun 2007
Posts: 277
Location: Washington, DC

PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In one of my lit classes last semester, we were discussing Cormac McCarthy's appearance on Oprah. One girl didn't like that he did, and said, "Don't you think that if something gets mass appeal, it loses credibility? If a lot of people like it, it's not good anymore."

So, according to her, classics like Their Eyes Were Watching God, Night, Anna Karenina, and As I Lay Dying, all lose credibility and are no longer good, because people actually read them by choice.

I think a lot of this opinion is just scorn for the general population. If so many people read romances, they HAVE to be poorly written and weakly plotted and characterized, because so many people just can't handle "real" books. In one respect, this is sort of true. Romance novels are easier to get through than something like As I Lay Dying. They're not as complicated. But difficulty of reading shouldn't be the judgment of "literary value." If a story is interesting, engaging, and enjoyable, then it has value. If people find romance novels to be those three things, then that is their prerogative, just as it is perfectly okay if someone does not enjoy romances, and instead reads mysteries, or poetry, or science fiction, or non-fiction, or religious books, or any other type of publication.
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Yulie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1145
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jenny, I became curious (and had some free time) so I looked at the second thread. First, I must say I'm very happy to be posting here at AAR rather than on the Amazon boards - this is obviously much more of a community. Also, that thread was a strange combination of actual discussion, accusations of trolling from both the pro- and anti-romance posters, and some conspiracy theories to make it really fun.

Like other posters here, this is hardly the first time I've come across some pretentious, badly articulated and generally ignorant bashing of the romance genre. I'm not sure I would bother trying to convert someone who obviously does not wish to be converted, but if I did, McNaught's Paradise would certainly not be the novel I'd have them read. Not that it's a bad book - personally, I think it's mostly well-written and in the B-range - but it includes so many of the things believed (unjustly, IMO) to be key to all romance novels, that if anything, it would just re-enforce the opinion that romance is indeed formulaic and cliched, as this red sea person seemed to suggest after reading it. It also felt, at least to me, somewhat dated (I read it circa 2003-2004, after first coming across bits in what I believe was an excerpt in Cosmo many moons ago) Very Happy .

If I wanted to prove to someone that "romance isn't what you think it is" I'd use a book that breaks with convention a bit more - Crusie's Welcome to Temptation or Bet Me, Chase's Lord of Scoundrels, Brockway's As You Desire, and Kinsale's Flowers from the Storm would all be good choices (I tend to use WtT). As a romance reader, I can appreciate a more conventional book that is well-written, because after my years of reading in the genre I know how hard it is to put an interesting spin on an old plot (which it was, even at the time of publication). But for a new reader who thinks that all romance novels are alike (filled with rich people, gorgeous and very orgasmic virgins, tycoons and big misunderstandings) well, if they were willing to make the effort and step out of their comfort zone, I'd want to introduce them to the variety and excellence that this genre offers.
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jane G wrote:
In one of my lit classes last semester, we were discussing Cormac McCarthy's appearance on Oprah. One girl didn't like that he did, and said, "Don't you think that if something gets mass appeal, it loses credibility? If a lot of people like it, it's not good anymore."


So, by her reasoning, something can be good before it gets mass appeal and then suddenly become bad afterwards? Rolling Eyes

Jane G wrote:
So, according to her, classics like Their Eyes Were Watching God, Night, Anna Karenina, and As I Lay Dying, all lose credibility and are no longer good, because people actually read them by choice.


I wouldn't say that the "mass appeal" argument applies to those books. People wouldn't have read them in such great numbers if Oprah hadn't endorsed them. I daresay that the interest and sales she has generated won't last longer than a decade and that these classics will soon be "respectably" obscure again and the Oprah's Bookclub phenomenon a footnote in their histories.

Jane G wrote:
I think a lot of this opinion is just scorn for the general population. If so many people read romances, they HAVE to be poorly written and weakly plotted and characterized, because so many people just can't handle "real" books.


Or many women can't handle real books? Rolling Eyes

I don't consider myself a feminist, but nothing raises my hackles faster than the perception that Romances can't be good if men don't read them in droves.

Jane G wrote:
In one respect, this is sort of true. Romance novels are easier to get through than something like As I Lay Dying. They're not as complicated. But difficulty of reading shouldn't be the judgment of "literary value." If a story is interesting, engaging, and enjoyable, then it has value. If people find romance novels to be those three things, then that is their prerogative, just as it is perfectly okay if someone does not enjoy romances, and instead reads mysteries, or poetry, or science fiction, or non-fiction, or religious books, or any other type of publication.


You're right. The "It's really easy to read, so it must be bad" attitude is pretty ignorant.
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"To be in a romance is to be in uncongenial surroundings. To be born into this earth is to be born into uncongenial surroundings, hence to be born into a romance." (G.K. Chesterton)
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