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Regis Roundtable: After A Natural History of the Romance Novel (Introduction)

At the annual meeting of the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association (March 27-30, 2013, Washington D.C.), scholars gathered to mark the tenth anniversary of Pamela Regis’s A Natural History of the Romance Novel. The approach to the genre this book takes has profoundly shaped much of the scholarship on popular romance fiction since the mid-2000s, particularly in the United States.

Each of the four panelists came to Regis’s work at a different stage in her or his academic career—and, as you will see, each has a different sense of the book’s importance, both in the academy and outside it, in the editing and production of new romance fiction.  Each panelist also asks a follow-up question: “What does the future of popular romance fiction scholarship look like?”

The papers are presented here in the order in which they were presented at the PCA, beginning with Pamela Regis’s reflections on her book, how she came to write it, and where her current research is taking her, and by extension, us. Following Regis, we have responses from Eric Murphy Selinger, An Goris, Jayashree Kamble, and Sarah S. G. Frantz.  In my dual capacities as Book Review editor and reader of Regis, I have added a final, overarching response to the symposium as a whole. Questions are raised, noble suggestions are offered, and we hope that both will spark the interest of our readers, provoking new work and (who knows?) new submissions to JPRS as well. [End Page 1]