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The Art of Romance: Mills & Boon and Harlequin Cover Designs by Joanna Bowring & Margaret O'Brien

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The Art of Romance: Mills & Boon and Harlequin Cover Designs by Joanna Bowring & Margaret O'Brien

8vo. pp. 253. profusely illustrated. stiff paperback. Munich: Prestel, [2008].

Published in conjunction with an exhibition.

ISBN-10: 3791341227 / ISBN-13‎: 9783791341224 


Since 1908 readers have been finding respite from the vagaries of everyday life in the pages of novels published by Mills & Boon. Now part of the Harlequin group, the world's largest romance publisher, the company has published thousands of titles, each with its own distinctive jacket art. Part of a centenary celebration, this collection of some two hundred Mills & Boon covers offers a fascinating visual record of how our perceptions of romance, love, and drama have evolved over the years. With titles such as Romance Goes Tenting, Egyptian Honeymoon, and Beware the Beast, these novels' contents have changed dramatically as women defined their roles in the 1920s and 1930s; searched for heroes during World War II; strove for careers in the 1950s; engaged in free love in the 1960s; yearned for sexual emancipation in the 1970s and
1980s; and ultimately learned a lot about self-reliance while waiting for Prince Charming to show up. These social transformations are reflected in the covers, chronologically arranged as full colour paltes. An introduction charts the changing themes of the novels and explores the reasons behind the enduring popularity of the romance novel. AUTHOR: Joanna Bowring is Head of Libraries and Information at the British Museum in London. Margaret O'Brien is Head of Lifelong Learning at the British Museum. She has written extensively on cultural studies and film history. ILLUSTRATIONS 250 colour illustrations