Laura Haley-McNeil

8/11/19, The Romance Novel, Part III

The Romance Novel

Hello, Everyone!

Are you like me and wonder about the most minute detail about things? I’m an avid researcher and find myself clicking link after link after link when I read something and a question pops into my mind that I need an answer to. That’s how this series about the romance novel started. So let’s continue with The Romance Novel, Part III!

As mentioned in the first and second blogs on this subject, romance novels date back to ancient Greece. One of the first novels to resemble the current pattern of romance novels is Pamela by Samuel Richardson (1741). Jane Austen follows in the 19th century. Later came the contributions of the Brontë sisters.

The Romance Novel

Now we enter the 20th century and the novel The Sheik by E. M Hull. Hopefully, you’re familiar with the movie starring Rudolph Valentino. The novel is interesting for several reasons but what caught my attention was that the hero is an alpha male and the plot incorporates the rape fantasy. This theme was also used in the 18th century novel, Pamela. Apparently, the rape fantasy made premarital sex acceptable. Thankfully, this would be condemned today.

Historical Romance

Another subgenre of the romance category was the historical romance. Though this had been developed in the 19th century, Georgette Heyer gained popularity in the 1920s with her Georgian and regency novels and heroines who exhibited 20th-century ideals. Her first novel, The Black Moth, was published in 1921, when she was 19 years old.

Twentieth-Century Romance

By the 1930s, romance was gaining a huge following and publishers looked for ways to tap into the market. Though few authors rose to the top of this genre as with any genre, the publishers searched for the stories, and the writers, that would help them bring to market the books the public wanted to read. Next week, I’ll discuss the publishers, but I’m sure you can already guess which ones prevailed in this industry.

I hope you have a wonderful and blessed week and, if you’re in my part of the world, that you’re enjoying the lovely last days of summer.