Review by Choice Review
In this timely, valuable, relevant study, Weisser (Adelphi Univ.) examines the ways in which traditional ideas of romantic love endure, despite decades of feminist scholarship and critique challenging sexism and misogyny and calling for change. She argues that "in a society in which there are suddenly greater sexual freedoms than ever, women counter their anxiety about continuing sexual exploitation by clinging to romantic love as a kind of emotional affirmation that they are worth more than the exchange value of their bodies." The author focuses on Western heterosexual women, who continue to be chief consumers of the romance genre, but the scope of her investigation ranges from 19th-century novels of Jane Austen to the reality television series The Bachelor as she explores how romantic love is "represented in the structures of storytelling." Her comparisons between classic and contemporary texts--which extend to D. H. Lawrence, Charlotte Bronte, Victorian magazine culture, Harlequin Romance, African American romance, reality television, and Internet dating--are intriguing, provocative, and generative. Her prose is accessible, lively, and informed, and her discoveries outlining where feminism and romance dovetail and diverge have far-reaching implications to be valuable to anyone interested gender studies, narrative theory, and cultural studies. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. J. Mills John Jay College-CUNY
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
The latest book from Adelphi University English professor Weisser (A Craving Vacancy: Women and Sexual Love in the British Novel 1740-1880) aims to "recover the basis of the long-standing appeal of romantic narrative." Weisser discusses a range of topics, from the parallels between Jane Austen and D.H. Lawrence to the compatibilities and incompatibilities of the romance genre with feminism. Her main argument is that contemporary "love" and "romance" are "regressive" with feminism-friendly details that mask the fact that the scenarios being presented are still concerned with women finding worth in men. She focuses primarily on fiction, but also analyzes the packaging contained in reality television shows such as The Bachelor and Internet ads. While the decision to focus on heterosexual romance helps keep the book focused, her generalizations about modern love may turn off some readers, and her tendency to use the words "romance" and "love" interchangeably sometimes leads to confusion about where the differences and similarities begin. A valuable, if repetitive, introduction for those interested in women's or media studies. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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