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Greece in British Women's Literary Imagination, 1913–2013


Edited By Eleni Papargyriou, Semele Assinder and David Holton

Greece in British Women’s Literary Imagination, 1913–2013 offers a comprehensive overview of British female writing on Greece in the twentieth century and beyond. Contributors cover a vast array of authors: Rose Macaulay, Jane Ellen Harrison, Virginia Woolf, Ann Quin, Dorothy Una Ratcliffe, Elizabeth Taylor, Barbara Pym, Olivia Manning, Mary Stewart, Victoria Hislop, Loretta Proctor and Sofka Zinovieff formed special ties with Greece and made it the focus of their literary imagination. Moving from Bloomsbury to Mills & Boon, the book offers insight into the ways romantic literature has shaped readers’ perceptions about Greece. Why have female authors of such diverse backgrounds and literary orientations been attracted by a country burdened by its past and troubled by its present? What aspects of the country do they choose to highlight? Are female perceptions of Greece different from male ones? The book examines these and many more exciting questions. Given its focus and diversity, it is addressed to audiences in English and Greek studies, Classical reception, European modernism, cultural studies and popular fiction, as well as to non-academic English-speaking readers who have an interest in Greece.

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5. A Place “We All Dream About”: Greece in Mills & Boon Romances (Laura Vivanco)


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5.  A Place “We All Dream About”: Greece in Mills & Boon Romances


In theory, popular romantic fiction can be set anywhere; in practice certain locations have been more favored than others. As Mills & Boon author Mary Wibberley once observed, although “love does bloom in the canteen of a gasworks, just as it does in offices, factories, supermarkets and everywhere else[,] […] in romantic novels the reader is seeking escapism, and that can be more easily found in the places we all dream about” (1993: 56). Greece is evidently one of those “places we all dream about” since a significant number of Mills & Boon romances have been set wholly or partially in Greece. Although I refer to only a very small number of them here, my corpus includes novels from each of the decades from 1960 to 2010, giving it a wide enough chronological spread to permit the identification and analysis of certain elements which, though not present in all the novels, recur down the decades and help to explain why Greece, in particular, has been a place that Mills & Boon readers “dream about.”

A variety of factors can affect the popularity of a particular location and Janet Batsleer et al suggest

It is likely that some of the shifts in the formulas of romantic fiction can be related quite closely to historical and social change. Where would doctor-and-nurse romances be without...

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