We Suppose We’re Going To Have To Call Her Mary From Now On

February 12th, 2005 · 3 Comments
by Booksquare

Continuing her self-outing, Mary Bly (publishing as Eloisa James) hits the New York Times op-ed section with what we hope is the opening of a real conversation about genre fiction’s place in the fiction spectrum. Yes, we mean all genre fiction. One would have to be sleeping to ignore the fact that other genres are viewed with some derision. This morning, we’re sort of feeling it’s genre fiction’s hewing to archetypes that makes them seem anti-intellectual. Bly has her take:

Intellectuals never seem to believe that a strong story and an interest in relationships could explain the popularity of romance. I’ve been repeatedly asked by academics whether romances are anything more than female porn – a question that to me seems linked to a fear of female sexuality, as is the dismissal of romances as “bodice-rippers.” In fact, I’m not sure that the term, with its implication of enjoyment taken in forced intercourse, ever was an accurate description of romances; even the silk-ripping rake of “The Flame and Flower” passed out before he damaged anything more than clothing.

Give us a moment — we’re thinking about the female porn comment. We’ve heard that one many times. If we are to accept that some men (and we have seen evidence this is true) read Playboy for the articles while the pictures just happen to be there, can we not accept that some women read good fiction that just happens to contain sex?

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3 responses so far ↓

  • Susan Gable // Feb 12, 2005 at 11:18 am

    Go, Mary Bly! Well done. I’m very pleased that she decided to shed her cloak and ‘fess up to her alter ego. That’s wonderful! And the well-written piece appearing in the NYTimes, where she’s hit their best-seller list – good for her!

  • booksquare // Feb 12, 2005 at 11:34 am

    I’m very impressed that she made this decision and is going for it with gusto. I know that a lot of authors choose to hide behind pseudonyms for a variety of (valid) reasons. Her choice indicates that her teaching and writing aren’t so far apart, even if they seem that way.

  • Kathy // Feb 12, 2005 at 2:27 pm

    That reminds me of when I first discovered Laura Kinsale, and went to great lengths to acquire everything she’d ever written (would have bid on her grocery list at ebay, had it come up). I entered the Borders in Madison, WI, and discovered, to my horror, that the books I’d come there to get had Fabio on the cover. What if someone in the academic circles I hung out in saw me buying THAT? I tucked the books under a copy of The Progressive I’d picked up just for that purpose, and made sure the coast was clear when I got in line. I really, really, wanted those books, enough to steal them if necessary!

    I’m a bit beyond that now, but only a bit. If, however, Susan E. Phillips decides to have Fabio on her next cover, I’ll be first in line to buy it. Wouldn’t even mind if Fabio himself walked over to hand it to me.