Romance. What is so lucrative about this subject? Why has it become the largest grossing genre in the publishing world? How does it bring in many millions of dollars every year? Who reads romance novels? Is it really just "mommy porn", and "trashy" books with no literary value beyond an escapist fantasy? Obviously my own answer shall be a resounding "no." Wouldn't it surprise the nay sayers to learn that the first romance novel was written by a man? Truly, have a look, Google "Pamela", twas a serialized story in English newspapers from the mid 18th century. And just why did the 20th century incarnations of the novel have so many examples of dubious consent? Well one has to examine the roles of acceptable female desire to find that answer; sexual activity was only permissible within the bonds of marriage, but an author might avoid that if the heroine didn't seem (emphasis on "seem", this part of the research made me more than a little uncomfortable) to initiate things. Did you know the first interracial romance novels were not published until the later decades of the 20th century? And when did non-heterosexual couples first appear on the mass production lines?
All these questions and historical anecdotes will feature in this portion of the class. In the end, all the students shall have to write their own short romantic story. What drew you, dear readers, into your first romance novel? Any input would be greatly appreciated.