Writing Romance: Women’s Fiction 1945-2005

Deborah Philips

Research output: Other contributionpeer-review


Organised around each decade of the post war period, this book analyses novels written by and for women from 1945 to the present. Each chapter identifies a specific genre in popular fiction for women which marked that period and provides case studies focusing on writers and texts which enjoyed a wide readership. Despite their popularity, these novels remain largely outside the 'canon' of women's writing, and are often unacknowledged by feminist literary criticism. However, these texts clearly touched a nerve with a largely female readership, and so offer a means of charting the changes in ideals of femininity, and in the tensions and contradictions in gender identities in the post-war period. Their analysis offers new insights into the shifting demands, aspirations and expectations of what a woman could and should be over the last half century. Through her analysis of women's writing and reading, Philips sets out to challenge the distinction between 'popular' and 'literary' fiction, arguing that neat categories such as 'popular', 'middle brow' and 'serious fiction' need more careful definition.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages162
Place of PublicationLondon, UK
ISBN (Print)0826487467
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2006

Bibliographical note

The Times Literary Supplement, 2007: ‘Philips offers a valuable perspective . . . her readings are fair as well as perceptive’.

M. Joannou, Contemporary Women's Writing, 2008

Deborah Phillips has produced a most welcome addition to the existing critical work on the "woman's novel,"


  • women's writing popular culture post war fiction feminism middle brow


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