The romance genre was a popular literary form among writers and readers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but since then it has often been dismissed as juvenile, unmodern, improper, or subversive. In this study, William J. Scheick seeks to recover the place of romance in fin-de-siecle England and America; to distinguish among its subgenres of eventuary, aesthetic, and ethical romance; and to reinstate ethical romance as a major mode of artistic expression. The authors whose works Scheick discusses are Nathaniel Hawthorne, H. Rider Haggard, Henry James, C. J. Cutcliffe Hyne, H. G. Wells, John Kendrick Bangs, Gilbert K. Chesterton, Richard Harding Davis, Stephen Crane, Mary Austin, Jack London, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mary Cholmondeley, and Rudyard Kipling. This wide selection expands the can to include writers and works that highly merit re-reading by a new generation.
William J. Scheick is the J. R. Millikan Centennial Professor of English and American Literature at the University of Texas at Austin.