Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-viii

Contents

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiv

I’ve been working on this book since 2007 and spent the last year finishing it during a sabbatical in England. Accordingly, I have a lot of people and institutions to thank for their help. To start with, I’d like to thank everyone in the UK who ever called me “luv.” May I say that...

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Prologue: Journey into Romancelandia

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pp. 1-2

You’ve all heard the story, in its thousand and one variations. You know what I’m talking about. The bar. The drinks. The hook-up or the pick-up. The sweaty sex. Advertising’s favorite emotional well. The internet dating...

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1. Find Your One True Love: Book Lovers and the Romance Story

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pp. 3-27

The romance narrative is a central storyline of human culture. Pushing the thesis further: The story of romance is the guiding text offered by contemporary American culture and the culture of the modern West on the subject of how women and men (should) relate. Find your one true love—Your One...

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2. Going Native: When the Academic Is (Also) the Fan

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pp. 28-47

Here’s a moment. I am in Tuscaloosa, Alabama’s one really good seafood restaurant—fish trucked in daily from the Gulf of Mexico—having lunch with Eloisa James/Mary Bly. She’s the guest of the University of Alabama; we invited her down in her capacity as Dr. Mary Bly, Shakespeare and Renaissance...

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3. Notes from the Imagination: Reading Romance Writing

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pp. 48-77

As Monty Python says, “And now for something completely different.” In this chapter, I eschew the theoretical. In its place, a confession: While I truly believe in the value of bringing fan and scholarly communities together, a big part of why I’m doing this work is because it’s a whole bucket of fun. And I want...

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4. Sex: Good Girls Do, or, Romance Fiction as Sex-Positive Feminist Mommy Porn

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pp. 78-103

Listen to this cri de coeur by romance heroine Lishelle. She is one of the main characters in the 2007 novel Getting Some by USA Today–bestselling author Kayla Perrin, and Lishelle is royally fed...

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5. Notes from the Field: Romance Writers of America

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pp. 104-118

Goddamn, I love my job. I’m sitting in the thirty-eighth floor bar of a swanky Dallas hotel, eating a solitary late supper and listening to lounge music. The hotel is one of the sites hosting the annual national conference of the Romance Writers of America. After a long day of interviews...

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6. Love: Bondage and the Conundrum of Erotic Love

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pp. 119-141

This chapter springs from a question mark. In April 2009, Princeton University hosted an academic conference on romance fiction and American culture entitled Love as the Practice of Freedom? The gathering’s interrogative title is a quotation from literary and feminist theorist...

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7. Notes from the Writing: “Between the Sheets” and Other Moments toward Romance Novelist

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pp. 142-164

Yesterday, I visited the tomb of Aphra Behn. This remarkable woman lies buried in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey in London, near kings and queens and the leading statesmen and literary figures of the United Kingdom. During Behn’s lifetime in the seventeenth century, she attained...

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8. Happily Ever After: The Testament of Erotic Faith

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pp. 165-188

In this last chapter, we arrive finally at a consideration of the romance novel’s ending. Here is the moment we’ve been waiting for: that delicious and often tear-jerking emotional resolution where everything works out for the story’s main characters. I often cry at the end of romance novels—indeed, I take it...

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Epilogue: Lessons from Romancing the Academic

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pp. 189-196

As conclusion, I offer a ruminative list of the Top Ten Lessons that I have learned from my auto-ethnographic project of writing romance novels as Catherine LaRoche...

Notes

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pp. 197-206

Bibliography

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pp. 207-212

Index

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pp. 213-222

About the Author

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p. 223