The empire of romance
Love in a postcolonial climate
in End of empire and the English novel since 1945
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The heroines of the postcolonial romance represent a parallel mythical resolution of modern femininity with the traditional values of the old 'mother country'. Both readers and writers of the popular romance were necessarily implicated in the transition from empire to Commonwealth in the aftermath of the second world war. The 'exotic' romance could find a market among British settlers in the new Commonwealth, and also offered a form of armchair tourism for British readers dispirited by postwar rationing. The tension between Britain and white South African settlers is embodied in the hero, who has business interests in Britain, but who is also rooted in the South African land. The fantasy of true love has always involved a measure of international travel, and Mills & Boon heroines have found their heroes across the world.


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