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By Merja Makinen (auth.)

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Of course, this is just the potential. ’75 Palmer’s preferred strategy for doing this is parody. Irony allows the narrative a distance from the conventions, which realism does not, in order to quote and to question simultaneously. Case studies: Susan Napier (Mills and Boon), Passion Fruit, and Lisa Shapiro (Naiad) Susan Napier’s Deal of a Lifetime76 was first published by Mills and Boon in 1991 in Australia, the Philippines and Britain. Its reissue in 1995 in the ‘Duet’ series (omnibus reissues of established popular authors), indicates that it was very successful when first published.

Romance revels in the primitive and the emotional, offering a utopian distraction from the mundane and the difficult. This psychoanalytic feminist examination rejects a more didactic moralising to suggest that the study of romance helps to uncover how ‘seemingly undesirable phantasies remain obstinately erotic’,50 arguing that the dominant and yet caring hero is a projection of the ideal father and mother, combining their total, unconditional love in the adult relationship. Informed by Snitow’s reading of the sexual fantasies present in romance, Treacher goes on to argue that not only is feminine desire described in contradictory terms, but 38 Feminist Popular Fiction masculinity is too, and that romance fiction is able to give coherence to the wildly contradictory and ambivalent phantasies.

The critics also divide on whether the romance plots and gender roles have shifted in relation to changing cultural expectations, or remained the same. The attempt to re-appropriate romance by avowedly feminist writers, however, has been less significant when it comes to heterosexual romance. Anne Cranny-Francis claims that feminist writers find it hard to negotiate a genre predicated on the unequal power relations between men and women, where getting the man is the happy solution to the woman’s worries, thereby underwriting her dependency on the male.

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