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Saturday, November 23, 2013

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Herrings Workers on Romance Covers

I don't think anyone will accuse Jane Liffen's article, published in a recent issue of Social Semiotics, of being overly broad in its focus. It's title is: “A very glamorized picture, that”: images of Scottish female herring workers on romance novel covers. Here's the abstract:
This article analyses portrayals of Scottish female herring workers on the covers of romance novels and investigates how far these representations conform to, or subvert, the genre of romantic fiction. Covers are analysed to establish whether they accurately portray Scottish female herring workers at their labour. If romanticisation of the women's working role is evident, the ways in which this manifests itself and the possible reasons for this romanticisation are examined. Composition of images and the mise-en-scene of covers are analysed, as well as aspects concerning the narratives of the novels, and elements of herring processing work that are noticeably absent in the depictions are also considered. These elements excluded from the covers are examined through theory relating to the abject in an attempt to ascertain whether the covers potentially provide models of female empowerment for the reader.

And here are some of the romance novel covers in question.

I'll spare you the trouble of reading the article by summarizing its findings. Gutting herrings is smelly, dirty work. This is not accurately portrayed on romance covers. (Thanks to Dave Monroe!)
Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Apr 07, 2009 | Comments (8) 
Category: Literature, Gender

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