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“What lady wouldn’t wish to join causes with women who stood up for other women?”: Heroines’ Rivalries and Friendships in Popular Romance Novels

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

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title
“What lady wouldn’t wish to join causes with women who stood up for other women?”: Heroines’ Rivalries and Friendships in Popular Romance Novels
author
Bradford, Natalie
abstract
This article complicates previous conclusions drawn about romance novels’ depictions of women’s rivalries through an analysis of eight recently published works by Joanna Lowell, Erica Ridley, Rosie Danan, and Tessa Bailey. Each of these novels are part of series in which characters who compete with the heroines of the first novels become heroines in their own right in the sequel novels. Their depictions of would-be “bitch” characters can conflict with how they have previously been theorized and, instead, represent an avenue through which the genre is incorporating feminist values into the romance script. Rather than these heroines acting as points of contrast to reinforce oppressive standards of what constitutes “desirable” womanhood, they are able to work toward collapsing the rigidity of constrictive gender norms through prioritizing standing in solidarity with, and offering support to other women. This analysis of works which reclaim these figures from the margins of the Happily Ever After offers a significant contribution to the the third wave of romance scholarship, as identified by Selinger and Frantz, which seeks to explore the genre as a potential site for resistance.
subject
contemporary fiction
femininities
historical romance
popular romance
women's rivalries
contributor
Ruocco, Joanna (advisor)
Hogan, Sarah (committee member)
Pyke, Jenny (committee member)
date
2023-06-07T08:35:45Z (accessioned)
2023 (issued)
degree
English (discipline)
embargo
2028-06-01 (terms)
2028-06-01 (liftdate)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/102114 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
type
Thesis

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