Men, Masculinities, and Popular Romance: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Men, Masculinities, and Popular Romance

1st Edition

By Jonathan A. Allan


176 pages | 5 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780815374077
pub: 2019-11-01
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Hardback: 9780815374053
pub: 2019-11-01
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Men, Masculinities, and Popular Romance seeks to open a lively and accessible discussion between critical studies of men and masculinities and popular romance studies, especially its continued interest in what Janice Radway has called "the purity of his maleness."

Popular romance novels, perhaps more than any other genre, explore sexuality and gender, creating an ideal space in which to consider and explore theoretical models that think seriously about gender. The romance novel has long been criticized and celebrated by feminist critics. How can these novels maintain, according to some, feminist ideals, while also upholding what Raewyn Connell has long theorized as "hegemonic masculinity"?

This volume is an original and important contribution examining the previously underexamined nexus of masculinity and popular romance studies. It will be of key interest to undergraduates and postgraduates in Masculinities, Gender and Women’s Studies, and Literary Studies, and highly relevant to courses in Masculinity Studies, Pop Culture Studies, Queer Studies and Sexuality Studies.



The alpha male hero strides through the pages of popular romance. Allan’s valuable new book turns the attention of the critical study of men and masculinities to the romance genre, to unpack hegemonic masculinity. The book bridges fields marvelously to create a much-needed interdisciplinary dialogue. An original and provocative read!

-- Catherine M. Roach, author of Happily Ever After: The Romance Story in Popular Culture, Professor of Gender and Cultural Studies, The University of Alabama

In this book, Jonathan Allan once again disrupts and challenges conventional understanding and provides a unique approach to masculinity, love and romance. Using arousing representations of men and masculinity as his intellectual point of departure, this book expertly jostles the reader to resolve the contradiction and complexity embedded in the desire for traditional masculinity.

-- Chris Haywood, Reader in Critical Masculinity Studies, Newcastle University

In this timely and provocative work, Allan challenges how we conceptualise and understand masculinity, bodies, sex, and the erotic through an untapped exploration of the contemporary romance novel. Drawing from a range of disciplines including literary studies, sociology, gender studies, and queer and psycho-analytical traditions among others, Allan incites the reader to rethink the overwhelming negative soundbite of the hegemonic male and muscular male body. He instead invites us to consider the ways in which such fantasies of masculinity can be understood as pleasurable, coveted, and desirable. Men, Masculinity and Popular Romance provides a unique and rare look at the intersection of desire, romance and erotics vis-à-vis the hero’s body, and an enlightening contribution to the critical study of men and masculinities more broadly.

-- Andrea Waling, Research Fellow in Gender, Sociology & Sexuality, La Trobe University

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Studying the Popular Romance Novel
  3. Desiring Hegemonic Masculinity
  4. Reconsidering the Money Shot: Orgasm and Masculinity
  5. Theorising Male Virginity in Popular Romance Fiction
  6. Slashing and Queering Popular Romance Fiction
  7. Towards an Anatomy of Male/Male Popular Romance Novels
  8. Vanilla Sex, or Reading Pornography Romantically
  9. Conclusion
  10. Epilogue: Are Billionaires Still Sexy?

About the Author

Jonathan A. Allan is Canada Research Chair in Men and Masculinities and Professor at Brandon University. He teaches in the Department of English and Creative Writing and Gender and Women’s Studies. He is the author of Reading from Behind: A Cultural Analysis of the Anus and a co-editor of Virgin Envy: The Cultural (In)Significance of the Hymen.

About the Series

Masculinity, Sex and Popular Culture

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies