College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

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romance novels, homosexuality, popular literature, gender roles, literary criticism


The rise in popularity of the male/male romance novel subgenre has led to a number of contentions in the romance community. In order to understand these grievances and just why so many women read m/m romance novels, this paper conducts an examination of the subgenre as a whole, starting with the history of m/m romance novel publication. The author continues by detailing women’s stated reasons for reading these novels and the push-back this has engendered within the community and without. The following section demonstrates how m/m romance authors might engage with these questions by subverting or enforcing them through specific analysis of the work of m/m romance novelist KJ Charles. The paper culminates in an evaluation of the field of m/m romance as it currently stands and the ongoing attempt to delineate this genre from the wider sphere of gay fiction.