Review of Janice Radway’s “Reading the Romance” (reblog)

nelson coverOddly enough, I ran across a citation for the book that’s reviewed here, during my reading of Robert Nelson’s German Soldier Newspapers of the First World War. This kind of analysis appeals to me as I ponder the instinctive way I wrote Irish Firebrands, while not being an aficionado of my book’s main genre.

radway cover*

What has “worked” for you, as a reader?

How do you think that has influenced you, as a writer?

(Here’s a more up-to-date cover for the Radway book.)


Function Follows Forme

Janice A. Radway, _Reading the Romance_ (1984) Janice A. Radway, _Reading the Romance_ (1984)

This week I assigned my students Janice Radway’s classic Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature (University of North Carolina Press, 1984; repr. 1991) as the text for our discussion of the history of reading and the history of book use.  As an American Studies scholar, Radway wanted to expose the culture of patriarchy that pervades modern life in America.  The hope being that if the public is alerted to a problem in cultural life, they will use this knowledge to advocate resistance and social change.   The political goals behind this argument are of less interest to me than the example of active readership she demonstrates throughout the book.

Reading the Romance is an ethnographic study of a group of 42 romance novel readers.  These readers, almost all of whom are white, middle class, married women, live in a commuter…

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