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A True Romance: Reading Erich Segal’s Love Story

A true Romance: Reading Erich Segal's love Story Laura M kinen 142 818. Master's Thesis Department of English School of Humanities University of Eastern Finland August 2013. IT -SUOMEN YLIOPISTO UNIVERSITY OF EASTERN FINLAND. Tiedekunta Faculty Osasto School Filosofinen tiedekunta Humanistinen osasto Tekij t Author Laura Vilhelmiina M kinen Ty n nimi Title A true Romance: Reading Erich Segal's love Story P aine Main subject Ty n laji Level P iv m r Date Sivum r . Englannin kieli ja kulttuuri Number of pages Pro gradu -tutkielma x 69. Sivuainetutkielma Kandidaatin tutkielma Aineopintojen tutkielma Tiivistelm Abstract The aim of this thesis is to demonstrate that Erich Segal's love Story is a romance novel despite its unconventional use of romance elements. The study concentrates on two issues: the romance conventions and the portrayal of ethnicity.

2 popular romance novels, and the treatment of intercultural relationships in romance literature. Firstly, I will give a short account of the history of romance in order to show the

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Transcription of A True Romance: Reading Erich Segal’s Love Story

1 A true Romance: Reading Erich Segal's love Story Laura M kinen 142 818. Master's Thesis Department of English School of Humanities University of Eastern Finland August 2013. IT -SUOMEN YLIOPISTO UNIVERSITY OF EASTERN FINLAND. Tiedekunta Faculty Osasto School Filosofinen tiedekunta Humanistinen osasto Tekij t Author Laura Vilhelmiina M kinen Ty n nimi Title A true Romance: Reading Erich Segal's love Story P aine Main subject Ty n laji Level P iv m r Date Sivum r . Englannin kieli ja kulttuuri Number of pages Pro gradu -tutkielma x 69. Sivuainetutkielma Kandidaatin tutkielma Aineopintojen tutkielma Tiivistelm Abstract The aim of this thesis is to demonstrate that Erich Segal's love Story is a romance novel despite its unconventional use of romance elements. The study concentrates on two issues: the romance conventions and the portrayal of ethnicity.

2 I begin with the conventions of romance. The presentation of these conventions is divided into two sections. First I discuss the history of the romance genre in order to show the conventions of romance that have characterized the genre from its beginning. Second I examine the formula of romance that is distinctive to more contemporary romance novels. In the third theory section of my thesis I address the portrayal of intercultural relationships in literature. The analysis of love Story is divided into three sections. In the first section I concentrate on the romance elements that stem from the early form the Greek or Classic romances. I argue that despite the unconventional romance ending of love Story , it contains plenty of other romance elements. I also argue that the ending of the novel is not significantly unconventional: while it is sad it is not without hope.

3 In the second section I analyse love Story based on the formula for popular romance. I analyse both its plot and its representation of the hero and the heroine. In the final section of my analysis I discuss the role of ethnicity in love Story . The ethnic heroine of the novel seems to attain the American Dream when she marries the WASP hero, but in reality she disappears behind her husband's success. In the final chapter of my thesis I conclude with my findings as well as present further research topics such as the oedipal relationship between the novel's hero and his father. Avainsanat Keywords Erich Segal, love Story , romance, formula, ethnicity Contents 1. Introduction 1. Erich Segal ..2. love Story ..3. 2. The Theory of Romance .6. Origins of Romance ..7. Formula for Popular Romance ..14. Intermarriage in Romance.

4 25. 3. Analysing love Story 35. Origins of love Story . 35. Formula for love Story ..44. Intermarriage in love Story ..56. 4. Conclusion ..63. References .66. Finnish Summary ..70. 1. 1. Introduction Romance literature has for a long time been considered to be a low' genre. Romantic fiction is so stigmatised at present that it has received very little academic attention . (Fowler 1). Although romance literature has since the 1990s attained more academic attention, it is still stigmatised as Jayne Ann Krentz's claim [f]ew people realize how much courage it takes for a woman to open a romance novel on an airplane shows (1). It can be argued that romance has this stigma since romance novels are entertainment by women for women. It is this connection that Strehle and Carden claim was done much earlier: [b]y 1739, writing what some consider the first novel, Richardson [.]

5 ] formed the dismissive connection between girls,' romances,' idle stuff,' and forms of behaviour in which men sensible, worldly men believed they had no part (xv). The impulse [ ] to attach the romance derisively to women and women derisively to romance has led critics to denigrate the genre of romance (Strehle and Carden xv). As Krentz claims, [w]hen it comes to romance novels, society has always felt free to sit in judgment not only on the literature but on the reader herself (1). Erich Segal, the author of love Story , might have argued that it should include the author as well. In this thesis I will analyse Erich Segal's love Story . My aim is to demonstrate that love Story is a romance novel as its title implies. I will discuss the romance genre and describe and analyse the generic conventions used in love Story .

6 The issue is important because love Story has elements that are not typical for romances such as the novel continues after the couple marry and the heroine dies in the end. In order to analyse these elements I will firstly explain what the conventions of romance are. I will begin with the theory of romance and then apply it to my analysis of love Story . I have divided the theory of romance into three sections: the history of romance literature, the formulaic nature of 2. popular romance novels, and the treatment of intercultural relationships in romance literature. Firstly, I will give a short account of the history of romance in order to show the conventions of romance that have characterized the genre for centuries. Secondly, I will discuss the formula that is distinctive for more contemporary popular romance novels.

7 The formula includes two sides: a more universal plot type and stereotypical characters. Thirdly, I will discuss how intercultural relationships are portrayed in romances and what their function is. After discussing the theory I will analyse Segal's love Story . My analysis is also divided into three sections: I will first address the romance conventions in love Story , second the formula of love Story , and then the role of exotic ethnicity in love Story . The thesis will close with a concluding chapter. Erich Segal love Story , the first novel by Erich Segal, was initially written as a screenplay and later adapted into a novel and published on 4 February 1970. The novel became a best-seller before the movie was released later the same year. The movie became a success and scor[ed] at the box-office, where it became the most profitable film since Gone With the Wind (Pelzer 20).

8 Erich Segal was an academic who taught Greek and Latin literature at Yale, Harvard and Princeton Universities. As Linda C. Pelzer writes, [i]n addition to his study of Plautus, Segal [ ] edited a collection of critical essays on the Greek playwright Euripides and [ ] translated three of Plautus's 3. comedies, earning praise for both his style and his interpretations. He [ ] also edited books on Plato, Caesar Augustus, and Greek tragedy. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1968. (3). The success of love Story affected Segal's credibility as a scholar, and he agreed to take a leave of absence from his teaching position at Yale (Pelzer 6). love Story was nominated for the 1971 National Book Award, one of the most prestigious literary prizes in the United States, but five judges on the award's fiction panel threatened to resign if it were not eliminated (Pelzer 5).

9 Pelzer claims that the novelist William Styron, who was one of the jurors, justified the decision, noting that it is a banal book which simply doesn't qualify as literature' (5). Before his death in January 2010, Segal had moved to England and was a teacher at Wolfson College in Oxford. love Story Segal's novel love Story depicts the first person Story of Oliver Barrett IV, who comes from a family that has been wealthy and respected for generations. Oliver follows the family tradition of studying at Harvard and becoming a Harvard jock ( , someone who enjoys sports or is good at it). Since the Barretts are a conservative family, Oliver struggles to find his own identity and independence from his father. Oliver meets and falls in love with Jennifer Cavilleri, a working-class Italian American girl, who is a music major at Radcliffe College.

10 When they decide to get married, Oliver's father opposes and eventually ends his financing of Oliver's studies. Thus Jennifer, who has already graduated, becomes a teacher in order to support Oliver 4. while he studies at Harvard Law School. They struggle with money until after Oliver's graduation when he takes a well-paying position at a law firm. The financial troubles now in the past, the lovers decide to start a family. When Jennifer does not get pregnant, in spite of their attempts, the couple seeks medical help only to find out that Jennifer is seriously ill and bound to die. Jennifer has to begin a costly cancer therapy which Oliver eventually becomes unable to afford. His only choice is to seek assistance from his father who agrees to help although Oliver does not provide the real reason for his financial need.


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