Thursday, June 23, 2011

77, 76...

My paper for the upcoming IASPR conference, "Can't Buy Me Love? Sex, Money, Power, and Romance" is done and polished, or as done and polished as it's going to be. It focuses on two novels that I've taught several times, Jennifer Crusie's Welcome to Temptation and Susan Elizabeth Phillips' Natural Born Charmer, but it uses two secondary sources that are new to me: Jan Cohn's 1988 study Romance and the Erotics of Property and Consuming the Romantic Utopia: Love and the Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism, by sociologist Eva Illouz.

Of these, the Illouz strikes me as the more useful, even though I only bring it in at a couple of points in the argument. I'll blog about it at greater length at Teach Me Tonight later this summer. For now, let me just say that it strikes me as a book I'd like to bring to my students' attention, since it focuses on how leisure and consumer activity (when I say "consumption" I think Keats and TB) became and remain integral to the culture of romantic love. The one student I've had who actually read it said that it was a book she had to keep putting down, because it was making her think too much about her own life. That's the kind of book I like to assign!


Three of the four of us, chez Selinger, are working on fitness goals this summer: specifically, we're trying to get to 100 consecutive pushups, using a handy book by the fellow who does this website. I'm up to 103, spread across seven sets--no more than 31 in a row, though. Supposed to try 37 in a row on Friday. We'll see.

I'm also doing Zumba three or four times a week, at an hour a pop. That was how I got the IASPR talk written, too, come to think of it: one hour of writing a day, then stop, no matter how much or how little I'd done. I wonder if I can structure my days that way more often, as the summer goes on: an hour of this, an hour of that. Haven't managed it so far, but I did get in some laps yesterday, and some extended sessions on the guitar. Working on basics--major scales, for example--and on learning some four-note, jazzier chords. Major 7ths, 6ths and such. Always wanted to know those.


Inbox down to a half-dozen messages. A lot of work to be done, but today will mostly be about getting ready for the IASPR trip: errands, printing, packing, etc. After that--the getting ready, and maybe the trip itself--a new phase of the summer begins.


Laura Vivanco said...

Have you come across Chrys Ingraham's White Weddings: Romancing Heterosexuality in Popular Culture?

E. M. Selinger said...

I hadn't, Laura--thanks for the tip! My sense is that there's a world of good work out there on love in everyday life and material culture (weddings, advertisements, etc.) that I ought to know more about. Will point this one out to the book review editor at JPRS, too.

On a related note, there's a very fun South African film, a romantic comedy, called "White Wedding" ( I saw it a few weeks ago, and quite enjoyed it!