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This article is about the genre of fiction involving love and lust. For classical Romance novels, see Romanticism. For the medieval genre, see Romance (heroic literature). For the novel named "Romance", see Romance (novel).[ندعوك للتسجيل في المنتدى أو التعريف بنفسك لمعاينة هذه الصورة][ندعوك للتسجيل في المنتدى أو التعريف بنفسك لمعاينة هذه الصورة]
Jane Austen was a pioneer of the genre. A 19th century illustration from Sense and Sensibility
The romance novel
is a literary genre developed in Western culture, mainly in English-speaking countries. Novels in this genre place their primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people, and must have an "emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending."
Through the late 20th and early 21st centuries, these novels are
commercially in two main varieties: category romances, which are shorter
books with a one-month shelf-life, and single-title romances, which are
generally longer with a longer shelf-life. Separate from their type, a
romance novel can exist within one of many subgenres, including
contemporary, historical, science fiction and paranormal.
One of the earliest romance novels was Samuel Richardson's popular 1740 novel Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded
which was revolutionary on two counts: it focused almost entirely on
courtship and did so entirely from the perspective of a female
protagonist. In the next century, Jane Austen expanded the genre, and her Pride and Prejudice
is often considered the epitome of the genre. Austen inspired Georgette Heyer, who introduced historical romances in 1921. A decade later, British company Mills and Boon began releasing the first category romance novels. Their books were resold in North America by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd, which began direct marketing to readers and allowing mass-market merchandisers to carry the books.
It is often claimed that the modern romance genre was born in 1972 with Avon's publication of Kathleen Woodiwiss's The Flame and the Flower
, the first single-title romance novel to be published as an original paperback in the US, though in the UK the romance genre was long established through the works of Georgette Heyer, Catherine Cookson,
and others. Nancy Coffey was the senior editor who negotiated the
multi-book deal. The genre boomed in the 1980s, with the addition of
many category romance lines and an increased number of single-title
romances. Popular authors began pushing the boundaries of the genre and
plots, and characters began to modernize.
In North America, romance novels are the most popular genre in modern
literature, comprising almost 55% of all paperback books sold in 2004.
The genre is also popular in Europe and Australia, and romance novels
appear in 90 languages. Most of the books, however, are written by
authors from English-speaking countries, leading to an Anglo-Saxon
perspective in the fiction. Despite the popularity and widespread sales
of romance novels, the genre has attracted significant derision,
skepticism and criticism.