Women's romantic fiction

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Women's romantic fiction

Post  eddie on Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:39 pm

Barbara Cartland stole plots, rival author alleged in furious letters

Correspondence from contemporary Georgette Heyer calls billion-selling author a 'petty thief'

Dalya Alberge guardian.co.uk, Thursday 4 August 2011 16.59 BST

Dame Barbara Cartland, whose romantic novels have already sold over a billion copies worldwide, faced furious allegations of plagiarism, previously unpublished letters that were sent in 1950 reveal. The writer Georgette Heyer accused Cartland of trying to "cash in" on her work and of acting like "a petty thief".


Georgette Heyer Biography by Jennifer Koestler

Heyer, who died in 1974, was an equally successful queen of historical romance who prided herself on her period research. She believed that Cartland – who by her death in 2000 had written more than 700 books, mostly set in the 19th century – had copied names, characters and plot details from her own work.

Unpublished correspondence from 1950 reveals Heyer's outrage at discovering from a fan the similarities between, among others, Cartland's Knave of Hearts – the third part of a Georgian trilogy – and her own These Old Shades, a Georgian romance novel.

Heyer wrote 56 novels that sold tens of millions of copies worldwide. She did not regard imitation as the sincerest form of flattery – firing off angry letters to her literary agent, Leonard Parker Moore, refusing to see why she should permit Cartland to steal her ideas and research.

"I think I could have borne it better had Miss Cartland not been so common-minded, so salacious and so illiterate," she wrote.

She continued: "For her main theme Miss Cartland has gone solely to These Old Shades but for various minor situations and other characters she has drawn upon four of my other novels."

The astonishing attack from beyond the grave will be published in October in a book titled Georgette Heyer: Biography of a Bestseller.

Its author, Jennifer Kloester, was given unprecedented access to correspondence by Heyer's family, and was "taken aback" by similarities between the authors. "You can't doubt the points Georgette was making … She was quite aghast at the borrowings."

The borrowings extended to character names. Heyer was outraged that Sir Montagu Reversby, in Cartland's Hazard of Hearts, was like her own Sir Montagu Revesby in Friday's Child.

Heyer wrote: "On perusing the first two novels of Miss Cartland's trilogy I was astonished to find the number of identical or infinitesimally altered names and titles ... I also found what might best be described as paraphrases of situations I had created, and a suspicious number of Regency cant words, or obsolete turns of speech, all of which I can pinpoint in several of my books."

Kloester said: "She thought that the case might come to court but what she really wanted was for Knave of Hearts 'to be withdrawn from circulation, the offending names in her previous works altered, and a profound apology made to me'."

A solicitor's letter to Cartland followed. Kloester said: "There is no record of a response … but Georgette later noted that 'the horrible copies of my books ceased abruptly'." Knave of Hearts was eventually reissued under a new title, The Innocent Heiress, and a heading: "In the tradition of Georgette Heyer".

Georgina Hawtrey-Woore, senior editor at Arrow, a Random House imprint that is publishing the new biography, said that had Heyer taken legal action today "she'd have a very good case".

But Cartland's son, Ian McCorkindale, said: "I've never heard that story. It's more likely, I would have thought, the other way round."

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 61
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Women's romantic fiction

Post  eddie on Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:43 pm

Dame Barbara Cartland:


Plagiarist, pretty in pink, with Peke.

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 61
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Women's romantic fiction

Post  eddie on Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:16 am

Romantic reading tips required

Alison Flood
The Guardian

I'm readying myself for an intense engagement with romance as a prize judge next year. What should I read first?


Something along these lines, perhaps? A young couple views a heart-shaped display of roses in Kuala Lumpur. Photograph: Teh Eng Koon/AP

I am in the mood for love this fine Friday. Yesterday, the folk at the Romantic Novelists Association asked if I'd join the judging panel for the romantic novel of the year award next year. This is thrilling for many reasons – first, because the teenage Alison, who'd check the shelves weekly to see if a new Catherine Alliott or Jilly Cooper, Joanna Trollope or Freya North, had been published, is leaping around inside me with excitement. Second, because I've not judged a books prize before, and third, because reading what will (with any luck) be the best romantic writing of the year will be a treat (and may even – unlikely, this – help me with my own abortive attempt at the genre…)

The term "romantic fiction" is obviously applicable to all sorts of writing: what is, say, Atonement, if not romantic? But in this case, looking at past winners, we're clearly talking about what's usually summed up (disparagingly or otherwise) as women's fiction, about love affairs and entanglements of the heart.

Jojo Moyes took this year's award with The Last Letter from Your Lover, which sounds fun; in 2010, Lucy Dillon won for Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts, which doesn't. Previous winners include some authors I've loved in the past – the excellent Elizabeth Buchan, Trollope and North – as well as some I really haven't (Cathy Kelly). The awards are changing structure next year, though, and the winners of five romance categories (contemporary, epic, historical, romantic comedy and YA) will be competing for the overall prize.

I tend to go through phases in my reading. My current streak, which has lasted rather too long and is becoming a little tiresome, has been science fiction and fantasy with a good dose of thrillers thrown in. Although I've certainly gorged myself on romantic reads in years gone by, One Day aside I haven't dabbled in the genre for a while – largely because, I think, I've really not particularly enjoyed new books by the authors I've liked in the past (Cooper's Jump!, the last handful of novels from Alliott and Trollope), and I've not known where to turn.

But as I said, I'm feeling in the mood for love – not this sort – and I'm wondering what to sate my appetite with. I'll start, I think, with Moyes's prizewinner. Any recommendations as to where to go from there?

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 61
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Women's romantic fiction

Post  eddie on Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:06 pm

The only problem with 'chick lit' is the name

Popular fiction written by men experiences none of the contempt directed at Sophie Kinsella. Why must its pleasures be 'guilty'?

Jenny Geras

guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 14 February 2012 15.49 GMT


Sophie Kinsella: Stuck in a literary loop. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

Recently I've read a lot of reviews of Pamela Druckerman's book French Children Don't Throw Food. And one thing that many of them mention is the fact that French mothers just tend to get on with doing things their way. They have the kinds of births they want with all the pain relief they want, they bottle-feed their children if they want to, and they certainly don't spend hours on internet forums criticising each other's parenting choices.

Reading Decca Aitkenhead's interview with Sophie Kinsella in yesterday's Guardian, I remembered this, and wondered whether French women also care less than British women about what other French women read? I've no idea but I do hope so. Because as a publisher of commercial women's fiction, I seem to spend an awful lot of time these days reading articles by intelligent women asking – as Aitkenhead's piece yesterday did – things like "why a woman of [Kinsella's] intelligence would want to write about women at their silliest". And why other women would read it. Aitkenhead wonders whether "it was the only way to make big money", and is evidently looking for an "acknowledgment of conflict" in the fact that Kinsella is Oxbridge-educated and also writes commercial books that millions of readers enjoy reading. Readers and writers of women's fiction on Twitter felt predictably patronised.

To use the formulation beloved of "chick lit" heroine Carrie Bradshaw, I couldn't help but wonder how much of this sort of fiction Aitkenhead has actually read. She describes both Jane Eyre and Allison Pearson's Kate Reddy as "klutzy"; neither is anything of the sort. Jane Eyre is a quiet, good, sensible woman struggling with a very passionate love. Kate Reddy is a highly intelligent, highly organised woman struggling with the demands of working parenthood. Some of Sophie Kinsella's heroines do indeed have silly and ditzy aspects (though some of them also do not) but that's no surprise: she is writing comic fiction, and brilliant comic fiction at that. Why her books are so successful is no mystery – it is because she is one of the very best writers of this type and millions of women and possibly even (gasp) a few men have recognised that fact, and buy her books. Aitkenhead is correct that much in this genre is written by educated women, and this is because most books are written by educated people. Educated people, for obvious reasons, tend to write more confidently and therefore produce better books. The bigger question is: why is so much energy expended on patronising this particular area of the market?

What publishers know very well, and what the "chick lit is fluff" lobby often forgets, is that book jackets are decisions made by publishers. We decide what a book looks like and this is a complicated decision, influenced by what we think looks good, what we think will position the book most clearly in the marketplace, and how best to signal quickly to both retailers and readers what kind of book it is. The downside of this labelling process is that a whole range of completely different books get lumped together and confused. The only thing that "these books" really have in common is that they're written primarily by women and about relationships. Apart from that, they encompass as wide a range as any other genre. Kinsella and Jennifer Weiner, say, have no more in common than do Alan Hollinghurst and Jonathan Franzen, or Lee Child and Mark Billingham. But I've yet to read an article in which either of the latter two pairs have had to defend their difference from one another and the rest of the genre, or engage in hand-wringing analysis about why their books sell so well.

What I kept thinking of, reading Decca Aitkenhead's piece, was the question Caitlin Moran's How to be a Woman suggests we all ask ourselves on a regular basis, and that is, "Are the men doing this?" Why do I so often hear intelligent, educated women admitting that they read commercial women's fiction, but only as a "guilty pleasure"? Are there millions of clever men out there feeling guilty about reading John Grisham? Why are Jane Eyre, Kate Reddy and Becky Bloomwood even being discussed together in the same paragraph? They have nothing at all in common apart from being female characters created by female authors.

Today is Valentine's Day – a traditional time to read about love, and a traditional marketing opportunity for much fiction in this genre. Decca Aitkenhead admits that the chick lit debate has been on a "literary loop" for the last 20 years. So here's how to close that loop: let everyone read what they enjoy reading and stop sneering about others' literary choices.


Jenny Geras is editorial director for fiction at Pan Macmillan

eddie
The Gap Minder

Posts : 7840
Join date : 2011-04-11
Age : 61
Location : Desert Island

Back to top Go down

Re: Women's romantic fiction

Post  Sponsored content Today at 7:48 pm


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum