Smart, funny, nice, pretty -- and she even has a special contest for you! One lucky commenting Bella wins an ARC of "Pleasure for Pleasure," courtesy of Eloisa! Oh, but it's a marvelous novel. So, please...a warm Bella welcome for our friend, Eloisa. Professora, the podium is yours...
The only problem with following up Eric's terrific blog is that I don't actually teach romance—I teach Shakespeare. This semester I'm teaching Shakespeare and Popular Culture, a course that investigates the ways that Shakespeare leaks into ads, rap songs, movies, and TV shows.
The class has been trying to figure out how to define pop culture. One way to think of it is everything left over after we define "high" culture. This rings true to me when it comes to romance – and I think it also helps point to why romance is so looked down on in our society. Back in the days when Shakespeare was writing, he was decidedly a pop writer. Have you seen Shakespeare in Love? Kit Marlowe was considered a much better writer than Shakespeare—just as depicted in the movie.
But in the late 18th century, Shakespeare's plays started moving from the stage to the page; in other words, people started saying that the plays had to be "studied" in order to be enjoyed. Before long, "high" culture was defined as hard to understand, and "low" culture was easy to enjoy. Never mind the fact that Shakespeare had always been easy to enjoy and enjoyable. Obviously, romance is too easy and fun to be "high culture."
Still, today's "low" may be tomorrow's "high," just as with Shakespeare. Comic books are "low" – except when they suddenly get labeled "graphic" novels – and then they're "high"! How about Elvis Presley? How low could his hips go? And yet now he's an American classic.
My next novel, Pleasure for Pleasure, is not only named after a Shakespeare play (Measure for Measure), the whole plot is inflected by A Midsummer Night's Dream. If that's not high, what is? And yet…it's Mayne's turn to marry – surely that particular story is going to be "low" (*grin*)!
So please put your mind to this puzzle…Who or what have you seen go from the bottom of the cultural barrel to the top? What genre, performer, musician, text would you bet on moving up, going from low to high?