After much fretting, I've settled on an opening sequence that runs from The Sheik to The Flame and the Flower. I'll add Mistress of Mellyn, and possibly swap in Regency Buck for Devil's Cub, but am now thinking to stick with the latter, and hand out a sort of "reader's guide" before we begin. (My students had some trouble keeping track of the characters, or at least those with titles, as they're named various ways at various times. Dominic, Marquis of Vidal, is sometimes Dominic and sometimes Vidal; his father is sometimes "Monseigneur," sometimes "Avon," etc. Easy, once you understand the conventions, but baffling for some, initially.)
I'm now stuck on what I should teach right after The Flame and the Flower (1972). Last time I leaped ahead to the present, or close enough, turning from the first Woodiwiss to a mid-career Crusie, Welcome to Temptation, in the context of Crusie's defenses of the genre and arguments with critics from the 1980s. This time, I'd like to forge ahead chronologically, moving from '72 into the early or mid-1980s with a book that does a few things all at once:
- Represents one or more "characteristic" features of romance from the period, either in terms of characterization or sexual politics or evolution of the genre.
- Remains in print.
- Makes for an interesting dialogue with mid-'80s romance criticism (esp. Modleski & Radway & Thurston)
- Reads so well that it will, like the books before and after it, command the respect or affection of some of my students. (You can't please them all every time, but I don't want to teach something that won't please anyone, after all!)
This decade's too big a gap in my course and my sense of the genre, and it's time to fill it! Help a romprof out, anyone?
(This seemed the appropriate soundtrack, somehow. Enjoy, as you reflect!)