Reading the Romance. Women, Piz~n’archy, a d Popular Lzterature. J A N I C E A.. R A D W A Y. With a Nav Intmductwn by the Author fiQ1). The University of. Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature [Janice A. Radway] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Originally. Women Read the Romance: The Interaction of Text and Context. Author(s): Janice A. Radway. Reviewed work(s). Source: Feminist Studies, Vol. 9, No.

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This article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with fadway subject. It is this complex relationship between culture, text, and woman reader that Radway urges feminists to address.

Radway cites the work of Nancy Chodorowwho speculates that because women maintain “an intense emotional commitment to her mother and all that is female” which in turn informs their desire to “regress into infancy” and dependency in order to reclaim that nurturing relationship p. However, Radway contends that this does not get to the root of social problems because it allows them simply to address legitimate concerns through a socially accepted and “culturally devalued” space that is still permissible under the patriarchal view p.

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Access to Document Link to publication in Scopus. However, such feelings are not necessarily positive, as Radway contends that “the vicarious pleasure offered by romantic fictional finally may be satisfying enough to forestall the need for more substantial change in the reader’s life” p. From the article, it was clear that Dot and her peers were unprepared for the arduous, and oftentimes unrewarding, work of the caregiver.

Publishers set out to create lines of novels that were known quantities among these groups, controlling the production and creating a set formula that was facilitated by new binding and production technologies allowing for more books to be published faster. Please help improve the article with a good introductory style. thhe

The successful, fulfilling romance novel exists when the author herself has provided meaning for her story through the words she has written. Radway plainly states that simply reducing the practice of book buying to a relationship between the book and its audience leaves out the institutional and economic concerns of book publish and distribution.

Indeed, Radway found that while the women she studied devote themselves to nurturing their families, these wives and mothers receive insufficient devotion or nurturance in return. They claim that romances enforce the woman reader’s dependence on men and acceptance of the repressive ideology purveyed by popular culture. Radway herself expresses preference for reader-response criticism throughout the course of the book, as opposed to the popular new criticism during the s. The research and information present in many novels serves to make the readers’ interest in the novels more genuine to outside observers and also represents an opportunity to the reader to learn and expand their intellectual capacity and knowledge.

Radway suggests that this allows women to relive periods in their life where they were nurtured and vared for by an individual that was signularly devoted to their welfare essentially reclaiming their childhood and parental relationships. What urge drives women to escape into romance novels?

Radway’s provocative approach combines reader-response criticism with anthropology and feminist psychology. Regardless, Radway argues, several of the ideal romances showed that many women viewed the romance not simply as the tale of a woman who is successful in love but also as the story of a brutish or distant man who is transformed into an idealized mate by the love of a woman; this allows them to vicariously demand that men become more trustworthy and accommodating to female feelings and needs.


Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature — Northwestern Scholars

Sign In Don’t have an account? Radway summarizes the history of romance novel publishing in the United States, concluding that economic demands dictated a system in which ideal audiences for novels were selected ahead of time rather than engage in complex and expensive advertising.

Continued exposure to these messages also has more direct impacts on the reader. Ormance Evans was reaeing 50 years old when the s interviews were conducted by author Janice Radway.

Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature

However, women may often feel guilt over their reading. This sort of interpretation keeps romance novel readers from having to guess the interpretation of a text.

However, Radway is somewhat skeptical of these conclusions. Views Read Edit View history. Moreover, the Smithton readers reject promiscuity and other forms of non-traditional romance or love that does not derive from genuine commitment and attraction; they also tend not to enjoy romances involving individuals who are not the main characters or romances that have unhappy endings that reject the notion of idealized romance.

Unknown November 19, at Effectively, the jjanice is cyclical. Women also often feel uncomfortable spending money on the romance novels though they recognize that their husbands and family members spend money on their interests; the subject matter and imagery on the covers may also create what the readers feel are false impressions that they are reading the books for sexual gratification.

University of North Carolina Press, Radway admits that the research she conducted has not provided a conclusive picture of romance reading patterns, as the Smithton women exhibited both signs of using the romance to reject their position in society and signs of becoming reaffirmed into societal expectations as a result of what they read. As the women read the romance which provides them with the ideas and relationships they crave they reinforce existing patriarchal standards which in turn uphold those relationships as valid and important.

Radway argues nonetheless that the romance has provided a space in which men and women alike can examine and re-examien their “ideal personalities” and provided an way to bring at least some less threatening challenges to patriarchy together in a system that is supported by and facilitates the patriarchy p.

These realistic characteristics are balanced with the admission by those who read romance novels that the stories are ths unreflected in reality; rafway, this is not indicative of the stories themselves so much as it is that the women may not perceive their lives to live up to the ideals present in the novels.

Radway suggests that eeading may be a lack of such feelings in the women’s lives that drives them to consume such media. Romance reading, in Radway’s view, allows the reader to obtain “emotional sustenance” without threatening the power relationship in their marriage relationship.

However, the reading activity still takes female attention away from their family and their relationship with their husbands, leading them to put the books aside if they come into conflict. Originally published inReading the Romance challenges popular and often demeaning myths about why romantic fiction, one of publishing’s most lucrative categories, captivates millions of women readers.

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The University of North Carolina Press, Over time, as companies consolidated and the pressure to increase profit has increased, most publishers sought out new manuscripts rather than reprinting old ones, seeking out original works by authors who fit into the existing publishing framework and providing guidelines about house style and story structure to those they publish.

Reading the Romance is a book by Janice Radway that analyzes the Romance novel genre using reader-response criticismfirst published in and reprinted in In fact, women read romances both to protest and to escape temporarily the narrowly defined role prescribed for them by a patriarchal culture. To combat this many women pull intellectual value out of the novels, particularly those that are based in history, to share historical facts and trivia with their loved ones and in doing so effectively legitimize their interest in the books; as Radway argues, “by claiming for it instructional values, they reassure themselves and their husbands that romance reading is not subversive of cultural standards or norms but an activity in conformity with them” p.

Radway questions such claims, arguing that critical attention “must shift from the text itself, taken in isolation, to the complex social event of reading.

Reading The Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature

Radway emphasizes the idea of a happy, satisfying ending as well as the struggle of the heroine, who often, if not always, lives in a state of weakness in a patriarchal society. University of North Carolina Press. In general, if readers cannot identify with a character or see them as someone to live vicariously through they are less likely to enjoy the romance.

Radway contends that these novles then allow ormance to feel intelligent and deserving of escapism due to their willingness to execute their duties and continue learning.

Radway conducted interviews with a jznice of women who regularly read and enjoyed romance novels to discover that women seek out romance novels for a variety of purposes, including the idealization of heterosexual romance and the ability to rebel against their status in life, though such novels continue to reinforce patriarchal and heteronormative ideals.

Reading the Romance – Wikipedia

Radway suggests that this makes romance novels compensatory literature because it allows women to live vicariously through a fictional hero whose attractiveness and desirability is confirmed through an ideal or dream male; romance novels also allow the readers to engage intellectually and create a mental space that allows them to continue feeling as though they are learning and growing as people.

Evans defends her customers’ choice of entertainment; reading romances, she tells Radway, is no more harmful than watching sports on television.

It is for this reason that readers feel betrayed or let down when a romance does not live up to the story promised on its cover or contains material with which the yare personally uncomfortable.