Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Whither the Regency?
Recently in the USA, the “Traditional” Regency sector has all but died. Signet and Zebra are closing their lines, and Harlequin/Mills and Boon have undergone a massive restructuring, and the Regency line has gone. Does this mean the end of the Regency?
Far from it. As doors have closed, more have opened. E-publishing is providing new opportunities and the UK market is as strong as ever. Writers of Regencies are still there, working away, and their books are still coming out on a regular basis. If you haven’t read any of Amanda Grange’s books, or Nicola Cornick’s, just to take two examples, you’re missing a treat!
Now, we’re allowed beyond the bedroom door. Is this a good thing? Well yes, and no. On one hand, there have been a spate of books where the protagonists can’t walk past a bedroom door, or a wall or a sturdy library table, for that matter. On the other hand it has given the writer the freedom to show all aspects of a relationship, and hopefully that will lead to more mature treatments of the subject.
As we know from the writings and caricatures of the period, the Regency was an immensely sexy age, especially in the upper echelons. The middle class was, and always was, more careful of the proprieties, always condemning the working class and the upper class, so Jane Austen, who for the most part shows the upper middle class, reflects that concern. However the aristocracy disported themselves with abandon, and it was partly a reaction against the debauchery that led to the strict propriety of the Victorian era.
So let’s celebrate all aspects of life and enjoy the freedom we have to read and write about what we want. Social comedies with glittering displays of wit, and heated romances with a couple getting to know each other in every way possible. And let’s celebrate the Regency!