The ‘Lycanthrob’ : Gender-bending and Werewolf Romance

Publié le 31 mai par Equipe GIS IdG

Séminaire
Performances culturelles du genre
Cycle : Travestissements

Lundi 6 juin - 14h à 16h
MSH (EHESS/CNRS)
190 av. de France 75013 Paris
Salle 640

Intervention :
Alexandra Leonzini (EHESS/Freie Universität Berlin)
The ‘Lycanthrob’ : Gender-bending and Werewolf Romance

Since 2007 the world’s most recognizable name in romance fiction, Mills and Boon, has produced works of romance and erotic fiction featuring paranormal figures in their Nocturne, Nocturne Bites, and Nocturne Cravings series’. Depicting creatures traditionally found in folklore, fairy tale, and horror, these romances present a new platform on which to renegotiate lore, as once terrifying creatures of nightmare are romanticized and redefined through the rose-tinted vision of their beloved. Similarly, erotic fiction featuring paranormal creatures engaging in explicit sex acts have found a growing online audience and the hyper sexualisation of these monsters further hinders the perception of these traditional figures of horror as mindless, bloodthirsty, violent, and volatile beasts.
A prime example of this is the depiction of the werewolf or wolf shifter. While on the one hand very much ‘alpha males’, every bit as strong, aggressive, and violent as the monsters of old, werewolf romance heroes, or ‘Lycanthrobs’ (Lycan heartthrobs), are also presented as being intelligent, disciplined, family-oriented, and unendingly protective of those they care for, embodying both traditionally masculine and feminine traits in order to successfully perform their role as a romantic hero.
This presentation will chart dominant trends in the depiction of werewolf gender and sexuality in popular culture over the last century, and ask if the romance novel, oft criticised as “misogynistic hate speech” which perpetuates rape culture, is truly an active site of gender renegotiation.

Attention : la séance se déroulera en anglais.