Electronic texts, kindles and i-pads may be a suitable medium for dreary academic texts, for science fiction or for news; but romances lose their romance when reduced to mechanical strings of bits and bytes. How can one share the thrills of our Amelias and Emilys; respond to the terrors of their adventures or feel the warmth of their final reconciliation with the hero at the end of volume 3 when this is transmitted through a USB or flickering plastic page.

 Romances are meant to be read half bound, octavo in three volumes, if only that when our parents finally despair of our ever seeing sense then at least our dearest treasures may find a fitting, dramatic and satisfying conclusion.

… No such thing,’ cried he. ‘ The kiss was too much of a smacker for that : it rang through the pantry. But please the fates, she shall never darken my doors again. I have just discharged both herself and her swain ;

 …and what is better, I have ordered all the novels in the house to be burnt, by way of purification. As they love to talk of flames, I suppose they will like to feel them.’ He spoke, and ran raging out of the room.

 Adieu, then, ye dear romances, adieu for ever. No more shall I sympathize with your heroines, while they faint, and blush, and weep, through four half -bound octavos. Adieu ye Edwins, Edgars, and Edmunds ; ye Selinas, Evelinas, Malvinas ; ye inas all adieu I The flames will consume you all. The melody of Emily, the prattle of Annette, and the hoarseness of Ugo, all will be confounded in one indis- criminate crackle. The Casa and Castello will blaze with equal fury ; nor will the virtue of Pamela aught avail to save ; nor Wolmar delighting to see his wife in a swoon ; nor Werter shelling peas and reading Homer, nor Charlotte cutting bread and butter for the children.

 The Heroine – Eaton Stannard Barrett

 
“IT is very strange,” said uncle Ralph, with evident impatience and vexation, as he threw down on the table with great force a romance of the last century, “that a writer must use so many words, only to tell us, that a woman got up and sat down again! No, they must inform us in high-flown, poetic language, that she rose from her mossy couch, and then thoughtfully reseated herself, and resumed her pensive posture! and then, if the wind happened to blow her thin clothes about, and made her ribbons flutter and fly, we must be entertained through half a page with her silken scarf floating in the wind and the rude zephyr discomposing her light and nymph-like attire!”

….

“Come, come,” said Ralph, “a truce to novels, newspapers, and fables of every kind: here,” continued he, “I will set an example;” and at the same time he threw the volume, whose enthusiastic expressions had so much displeased him, into the fire.
….

WHILE the three brothers were viewing the blazing novel, Margaret, the youngest Miss Marsham, entered the parlour, and looking first at the table where she had left her book, and next at the grate, from whence a part of the boarded cover had just fallen, she uttered the exclamation of “O heavens! what sacrilegious hand has destroyed the recreative amusement of my leisure-hours, and impeded my itineration through the delightful labyrinths of imagination

….

The Reverend Mr. Marsham looked at his daughter with serious concern, and shook his head: “But what,” continued Margaret, “my ever revered, though too rigid parent, am I to do? there are seven volumes of that delightful work; and the set is spoiled by the fatal destruction of one; the whole seven must be paid for.”

Romance Readers and Romance Writers – Sarah Green

No – save the eBook for the mundane, every heroine deserves a moment of secret pleasure drawn from the dusty musty volumes of the circulating library, or this is what we should become:

>Dear creature! How much I am obliged to you; and when you have finished Udolpho, we will download the Italian and share it together. See I have made out a list of ten or twelve more of the same kind for you.”

 “Have you, indeed! How glad I am! What are they all?”

 “I will send you their names directly; here they are, on my Blackberry, I shall forward the list to you immediately, and then if I copy them to my pen drive I can give you a copy. They should really last us some time.”

 “Yes,; but are they all horrid, are you sure they are all horrid?”

 “Yes, quite sure; for a particular friend of mine, a Miss Andrews, a sweet girl, one of the sweetest creatures in the world, has blogged about every one of them. I wish you knew Miss Andrews, you would be delighted with her. She is webmaster at udolpho.com and is always in the chat room if you’d care to log in. I think her as beautiful as an angel, and I am so vexed with the men for not facebooking her! I scold them all amazingly about it.”

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