The Pleasures and Politics of Popular Erotic Fiction
The publication of EL James’ Fifty Shades of Grey in 2011 marks a particularly visible moment in what appears to be a proliferation of erotic fiction, written by and for women, since the end of the twentieth century. More than just an instance of a particular genre of fiction, Fifty Shades has spawned considerable discussion of the significance of ‘women’s popular erotic fiction’ generally.
The Pleasures and Politics of Popular Erotic Fiction seeks to explore this phenomenon, its social and textual origins and its attendant conceptual and political effects. In doing so, the book aims to examine the discursive regularities and popular debates framing the production and reception of women’s popular erotic fiction; the cultural anxieties and transformations such texts express; the ways in which they reinscribe and negotiate relations of gender, sexuality, race, and kinship. We are interested in exploring the ideological forces underpinning their development and visibility as both a ‘new’ and ‘popular’ form; the ever-growing proliferation of subgenres and their role in shaping popular ideas about romance, relationships, desire, and the erotic.
We invite proposals for contributions to an edited collection of critical research on the cultural significance of ‘women’s popular erotic fiction’. Possible areas of research include (though are not limited to):
• The cultural work of the different subgenres (BDSM, paranormal romance, erotic crime fiction, ménage a trois, ‘neighbour from hell’, sex confessionals) and the ways of speaking about, categorising and marketing these texts.
• The rise of independently published online erotic fiction (production and consumption) and the discourses surrounding it.
• Debates around originality and derivativeness.
• The continuities and departures of erotic fiction from its predecessors in romance fiction and chick lit, as well as those from more ‘respectable’ literary traditions.
• The role of popular erotic fiction in reinforcing and/or transgressing the hegemony of whiteness, heterosexuality, patriarchy, the family, etc.
• The role of this fiction in circumscribing an idea of ‘the West’, as well as the possibilities offered by non-western forms of popular erotic fiction.
• The pleasures of reader consumption and the discourses surrounding it.
• The function of romance in women’s erotic fiction.
Expressions of interest, including an abstract (250-300 words), a short author bio and list of recent publications, may be forwarded via email to the editors by 24 May, 2013. The anticipated due date for accepted contributions (6,500 –7,500) is 29 November, 2013.
Dr Kristen Phillips, Claire Trevenen, Curtin University (Bentley, Western Australia)
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Claire.Trevenen@curtin.edu.au