Change is in the air at the Journal of Popular Romance Studies!
Since our last issue, we have almost doubled the size of our Editorial Board, expanding its range in terms both of geography and of disciplinary expertise. Many of our board members have graciously allowed us to link their names to their professional home pages, and we invite you to visit our masthead, click through, and explore.
At the top of that masthead you will see some other new names joining Team JPRS. We have a new Web Manager, Sarah H. Ficke, and as of this issue, our “Teaching and Learning” area has its own section editor, Lisa Fletcher. Her goals for the section and her vision of its place at the crossroads of two emerging academic fields—Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and Popular Romance Studies—are described in a Section Editor’s Note, which also contains detailed submissions guidelines. Please take a look.
Our Book Review section has undergone both expansion and rethinking, and the first fruits of those decisions are on display in JPRS 3.2. In addition to a review of the important new monograph on Orientalism and popular romance, Hsu-Ming Teo’s Desert Passions, our review section features two pieces on older works, dating back to the start of the twenty-first century. This isn’t a sign that no other new work has been done; rather, it’s our way of acknowledging that the purview of Popular Romance Studies is so broad—“romantic love and its representations in global popular culture,” as my thumbnail sketch usually goes—that the range of relevant scholarship and theory is staggeringly broad.
In the hope of introducing our readers to important work that might be of use, then, we will begin looking back to texts that might have missed your notice, whether or not they specifically address “popular romance” per se. The Editor’s Note for this section, as you will see, invites your suggestions for books to review, both old and new.
Our Book Review section also features, this spring, a series of short essays in honor of the tenth anniversary of Pamela Regis’s monograph, A Natural History of the Romance Novel. Presented at the Spring, 2013 national conference of the Popular Culture Association, these papers address the impact of Regis’s work and the points of departure from it that might mark the next steps in popular romance fiction studies.
Lest you think that all this work on the Teaching and Learning and Book Review sections of the journal takes away from its core scholarly agenda, we are pleased to publish [End Page 1] two fine essays on one of the greatest and most influential twentieth-century romance novelists, Georgette Heyer: “Who the devil wrote that?” Intertextuality and Authorial Reputation in Georgette Heyer’s Venetia,” by Elizabeth Barr; and “Georgette Heyer: The Nonesuch of Regency Romance,” by Laura Vivanco. These papers came in response to our Call for Papers on Heyer, and I am happy to call your attention to the two other Calls for Papers that remain open: one on Romance, Love, and Sexuality in World Cinema (due January 1, 2014); the other, brand new, on Romancing the Long British 19th Century (due March 1, 2014). Stay tuned: more Calls for Papers are in the offing!
Finally, in a first for JPRS, this issue features an invited “Note from the Field” that illuminates some of the disciplinary and methodological issues that make Popular Romance Studies a particularly challenging, as well as rewarding, endeavor. In “Reflecting on Romance Novel Research: Past, Present and Future,” A. Dana Ménard looks back at the controversy stirred up by her previous co-authored publication, “‘Whatever the approach, Tab B still fits into Slot A’: Twenty years of sex scripts in romance novels” (Sexuality & Culture, 2011). We are grateful for Ménard’s thoughtful engagement with the responses that her piece inspired, and for her willingness to rework her invited submission in response to peer review. This will not be the last such “Note” here at JPRS, and we are pleased that our first piece in this new genre sets a high bar for those that will follow. [End Page 2]