Romance magazines

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The romance novel is a literary genre developed in Western culture, mainly in English-speaking countries. Novels in this genre place their primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people, and must have an "emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending." Through the late 20th and early 21st centuries, these novels are commercially in two main varieties: category romances, which are shorter books with a one-month shelf-life, and single-title romances, which are generally longer with a longer shelf-life. Separate from their type, a romance novel can exist within one of many subgenres, including contemporary, historical, science fiction and paranormal.

It is often claimed that the modern romance genre was born in 1972 with Avon's publication of Kathleen Woodiwiss's The Flame and the Flower, the first single-title romance novel to be published as an original paperback in the US, though in the UK the romance genre was long established through the works of Georgette Heyer, Catherine Cookson and others. Nancy Coffey was the senior editor who negotiated the multi-book deal. The genre boomed in the 1980s, with the addition of many category romance lines and an increased number of single-title romances. Popular authors began pushing the boundaries of the genre and plots, and characters began to modernize.


In North America, romance novels are the most popular genre in modern literature, comprising almost 55% of all paperback books sold in 2004. The genre is also popular in Europe and Australia, and romance novels appear in 90 languages. Most of the books, however, are written by authors from English-speaking countries, leading to an Anglo-Saxon perspective in the fiction. Despite the popularity and widespread sales of romance novels, the genre has attracted significant derision, skepticism and criticism.

The success of these novels prompted a new style of writing romance, concentrating primarily on historical fiction tracking the monogamous relationship between a helpless heroine and the hero who rescued her, even if he had been the one to place her in danger. The covers of these novels tended to feature scantily clad women being grabbed by the hero, and caused the novels to be referred to as "bodice rippers." A Wall St. Journal article in 1980 referred to these bodice rippers as "publishing's answer to the Big Mac: They are juicy, cheap, predictable, and devoured in stupefying quantities by legions of loyal fans." The term bodice-ripper is now considered offensive to many in the romance industry.

In this new style of historical romance, heroines were independent and strong-willed and were often paired with heroes who evolved into caring and compassionate men who truly admired the women they loved. This was in contrast to the contemporary romances published during this time, which were often characterized by weak females who fell in love with overbearing alpha males. Although these heroines had active roles in the plot, they were "passive in relationships with the heroes." Across the genre, heroines during this time were usually aged 16–21, with the heroes slightly older, usually around 30. The women were virgins, while the men were not, and both members of the couple were described as beautiful.

Pulp magazine genres
Adventure  •  Detective  •  Fantasy  •  Horror  •  Men's adventure  •  Occult/Horror  •  Railroad  •  Romance  •  Science fiction  •  Sports •  Sword and Sorcery  •  War  •  Western adventure
More information on this topic is available at [ Wikipedia:Romance_magazines ]


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