Ramos-Garcia and Vivanco's collection investigates and challenges problematic, imperialist representations of non-Anglo Others in romance novels. Originating as papers presented at the First International Seminar on Languages and Cultures in Contact in the Romance Novel (Univ. of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 2017), the essays are divided into two parts: "Place, Travel, History and Language" looks at romance fiction before 1990, "Tensions and Transformations" at romance fiction after 1990. The essays in part 1 demonstrate how romance fiction promotes cultural and national supremacy; the ways whiteness serves as the implied standard for beauty, desirability, and relationships; and stereotypical and faulty attempts at portraying diverse, accurate, and sensitive characters and story lines. Those in part 2 consider who has access to publish romance novels, explore new and promising subgenres of romance (e.g., steampunk, paranormal), describe what might sufficiently constitute nuanced representations of difference, and assess whether there can ever be sensitive and politically neutral representations of romance. An important book for anyone interested in textual criticism, romance, and the significance of popular media. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty.
Love, Language, Place, and Identity in Popular Culture is a valuable addition to extant scholarship on romance, literary, linguistic, and sociological studies. It extrapolates the complicated historical phenomenon of othering a layered analysis of various subgenres of popular romances. The contributing authors have given readable and insightful approaches and nuanced theoretical frameworks to study romance, which are especially useful in developing an awareness of the ongoing debates on race, diversity, and inclusion.