The Relevance of Romance and Romantic Literature in Modern Society
Romance has always been a universal theme of literary relevance. While some people today are of the belief that Romanticism has seen its day, many more would argue that it is still alive and well. In fact, one could even present the case that – given its constant presence in the media and news today – Romanticism is and likely always will be interwoven into the very fiber of modern society.
Since the time of forlorn lovers Romeo and Juliet, literature has had a hand in shaping the societal norms and expectations of present-day romance. Often the types of romantic relationships imagined have been limited to a particular perspective, more Gone with the Wind than Twilight, though recent years have seen a shift toward the latter. This can be accredited to the current generation’s fascination with the supernatural. One needs to only peruse the latest list of best sellers to see a theme that almost exclusively involves vampires, witches and werewolves. Yet the foundation of these can almost always be traced back to some aspect of traditional Romanticism.
Of course, with the advent of internet publishing, other alternative modes of romance are now becoming more readily accessible to a much broader audience. The mainstream acceptance of 50 Shades of Grey, for example, only became a reality after it reached a critical mass of readership amongst the romantic fan fiction community. Erotica literature, which was once thought of as taboo, is now seen today as a popular literary genre.
The democratization of access provided by the internet is also having a profound effect on the way the publishing industry is interacting with its readers. Where once literary gatekeepers dictated societal conventions of romance or any other genre, today we are seeing more agency on readers to choose what and how to read. This therefore enables them to determine the type of books they want to see published, and even in what format. This has resulted in a fundamental shift in the way writers, publishers, agencies and their audiences engage and interact.
Another area where Romance and Romantic literature have influenced modern society is in film – and in many cases, in a quite unassuming and/or unexpected way. For instance, blockbuster movies like E.T. and Jaws exhibit the aspect of Romanticism that involves fascination with the unknown, while The Ten Commandments leverages the feature of heroism. Meanwhile, Avatar plays on the appeal of mystery and escapism. Then, of course, there are the more obvious romantic films, like The Sound of Music and Snow White, which contain many of the classic elements of centuries-old Romanticism.
In fact, it would seem to be more challenging to find examples of popular novels, movies, plays, songs or even video games that don’t display certain key elements of the Romantic literature of the past. The fact that many of these fictional works have stood the test of time indicate that Romanticism isn’t merely a genre that peaked in the 1800s, but rather a concept that continues to influence the way we live, interact with one another and are entertained today.
From a literary standpoint, while the storylines and characters may have changed and newer, more daring genres have become an accepted part of society, the inspiration of Romanticism and its many concepts is as prevalent now as ever before.
***Patricia Doma, Head of Communications at Inkitt
True! I don’t believe romance will be going out of style anytime soon… 😉
Thank you, Inkitt, for this take on the evolution of romantic literature, and how it affects us today.
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Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.
Thanks again! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime.
As always, happy reading, everyone! 😉