Just as evidence that these sorts of topics *do* get out and about in the universe these days, here is a message from an American Studies bulletin board. It will also suggest the *kinds* of issues that some of these books (and their apparent circulation patterns) can pose to historians and others interested in their cultural significance.

Forwarded message:
Date: Sun, 26 Mar 1995
Subject: INQ: Romance Fiction--its Socioeconomic Contexts?
To: Multiple recipients of list H-AMSTDY (H-AMSTDY@msu.edu)

Date: Fri, 24 Mar 1995
From: "Robin L.E. Hemenway" (rhemnway@falcon.cc.ukans.edu)>

I am working on a project on Popular Romance Fiction, and I would be interested in hearing other thoughts on this genre, and of the recent approaches to mass market fiction in American Studies. Specifically, I am examining the "Myth of Romantic Love" (to use Bonnie Kreps' phrase) and the idea that in writing AND reading romantic fiction women "appropriate" this myth for the purposes of empowerment. "True Love" narratives can be found everywhere, but for some reason no other medium seems to be as systematically attacked as "dangerous" to women as mass market fiction. I would also love to hear what people think about the recent U.S.A. Today article regarding romance novels and domestic violence (in the context of the O.J. Simpson trial). ALso, in many of the recent studies on romance fiction, there appears to be some underlying assumptions about the socioeconomic and education levels of the readers. I am interested in learning what other academics--especially women--think about this, and whether these misconceptions remain widespread. Please respond either to the list or to me privately. Thanks for your help!

Robin Hemenway
Univ. of Kansas