A History of Les romans d'amour

Published Date: October 1, 2024


Pub date, 1 Oct. 2024 – Pre-order now. Free shipping in North America

Products of popular culture, romance novels have been largely devalued and scorned by cultural gatekeepers. Yet they lend themselves to a historical analysis of how societies attribute a precise place to the impulses of love and codify its manifestations.

This book is based on the premise that love is not as spontaneous and free as one would have us believe. While it is true that love exists in all human communities, not all communities love in the same way. The words used to speak of love, which simultaneously reveal and censor, inform and sublimate, channel and repress the stirrings of the heart, are chosen according to everchanging social and cultural norms.

Love stories or romans d’amour are among the most widely read and appreciated by all classes of society and have been continually revisited and reinvented over time. The capacity for renewal in such a rigidly codified genre is nothing short of amazing, as is the resulting diversity of content.

Love Stories Now and Then is the first comprehensive survey of Quebec and French-Canadian romance novels. It tackles questions that everybody asks. What is “love at first sight”? How do class, national, religion, and race influence choice of partners? What are the rules to flirting? What are the limits to expressing one’s desires? What are people’s expectations in marriage? What is the place of sexuality and how does it differ in French and English culture in North America?

This book challenges many of our assumptions about romance novels and offers a compelling glimpse into people’s dreams and fantasies of love over the past two centuries.

Marie-Pier Luneau is Full Professor in the Département des Arts, langues et littératures at the Université de Sherbrooke where she has taught Quebec literature for more than 20 years. Currently director of the Groupe de recherches et d’études sur le livre au Québec (GRÉLQ), she co-founded and co-manages the international journal Mémoires du livre / Studies in Book Culture. An award-winning author and researcher, she has published books on authorship, on the history of publishing in Quebec, and more recently on the history of popular literature and in particular romance novels. Marie-Pier Luneau lives in Kingsey Falls, Québec.

Jean-Philippe Warren is Professor of Sociology and Concordia University and a member of the Royal Society of Canada. Co-director of the “Democracy and Pluralism” section of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Diversity and Democracy, he is the author more than 300 articles on many subjects linked to the development of Quebec and Canada. He is the recipient of several awards and distinctions including the Governor General’s Award for Nonfiction (2015) and the Canada Prize in the Humanities and Social Sciences for the best scholarly book (2019). Jean-Philippe Warren lives in Montreal.


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