Friday, January 2, 2009
Can There Be a Philosophy of Romance?
What Would a "Philosophy of Romance" Be Like?
Actually, there can be a “Philosophy of Any Subject” that has sufficient complexity to generate answerable questions like the ones listed below.
“What are the essential elements of a romance?”
“What conditions would exclude a work from being classified as a romance?”
“Are romances either good or bad ethically?”
“Can romances be said to be beautiful?”
“Can romance, with a guarantee of a HEA, ever rise to the level of serious literature?”
“Is romance even a genre?” (After all, any other genre can be a romance.)
“What kind of genre can also be any other genre?” (Spy, Vampire, paranormal, historical, cowboy, frontier, science fiction, fantasy, are all sub-genres of romance.)
“Is romance a super genre or a more general classification like ‘tragedy’?”
“Can romances tell us anything about what women want?”
“Is the same romance a different book when read by a man than it is when read by a woman?”
“What is ‘going on’ when someone is reading a romance?”
“Where do romances exist?” (In books on pages of paper and ink or only when being read and experienced in the mind of a reader?)
“What do the best selling romance writers do that the average writer does not do?” (Can this difference be quantified?)
“Are romances really a consumable product more like food than a durable like chinaware?”
“Are there specific cravings for different romance themes?”
As you can see, doing philosophy is often a matter of asking the right questions. I have been doing a philosophical investigation of the romance genre for the last seven years. I have read and reviewed over 1000 romances.
Not only can there be a “Philosophy of Romance”, developing even a prolegomena for its future study is a daunting challenge. Romance is as big as life itself.
I see romance as the last great unexplored continent that is still awaiting serious study. Political Correctness almost prohibits any serious and positive academic study of romance. This is too bad. Maybe someday the “American Mind” will open again but I am not going to wait.
I am writing this blog as the last act in the long process of writing my book on romance. You may not like this blog. Fans often do not want a serious review of the genre. The romance genre is just fine without having to look under the hood. But philosophers look everywhere. That’s just what they do.
This blog might be of most interest to romance authors as they are the actual practitioners. I will be reviewing romances. I will be making comments on what I would like to see being written. I will even suggest new themes. Mostly I will be thinking out loud and having fun. I hope an inquisitive few will find this of interest and drop in from time to time.