Tracing The Roots Of Romance
During the 1100s, the medieval French began to look at relationships and marriages more as a bond of love rather than a business relationship. As dating and courtship became well accepted by the society, romance stories came into being. The earliest romance stories were ballads sung by balladeers who sung about courtly love. As they traveled from place to place, their ballads became famous and slowly spread like wildfire throughout Europe.
These romance stories were then staged as plays and some writers even started writing love stories. Early romance novels generally centered on a man rescuing a woman from a dangerous situation, and she falling in love with her rescuer. Even Shakespeare wrote action stories, one of which is Romeo Juliet, which was not intended to be a romantic drama, but ended up as one of the greatest love stories in history.
The very first romantic fiction story was written about a woman being pursued by a man with great perseverance till she agrees to marry him. This two volume novel, Pamela, was a big hit in that period of time. In the year 1794, Anne Radcliffe started writing gothic romances after which Jane Austens women centered novels gained popularity. Janes Pride and Prejudice became a forerunner for various new genres of romance.
Later on, romantic fiction stories came into being and people looked for stories that took them away from the harsh reality into a world that all was rosy and happy. By the nineteenth century, love stories gained more and more popularity with love scenes becoming bolder and more risqu. Publishers such as Mills and Boon, and Harlequin made the most of this popular trend and published thousands of romance novels in all kinds of genres from sweet and sensitive to hot and blazing.
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