Norris, “A Plea for Romantic Fiction”

“So you think Romance would stop in the front parlor and discuss medicated flannels and mineral waters with the ladies? Not for more than five minutes. She would be off upstairs, prying, peeping, peering into the closets of the bedroom, into the nursery, into the sitting room; yes, and into that little iron box screwed to the lower shelf of the closet and in the library; and into those compartments and pigeon-holes of the secretaire in the study” (924).

I love this image of Romance as, first, a figure who accompanies the writer on a social call and, second, a snoop who manages to discover all sorts of secrets invisible from the front parlor. Romance goes into places in which an unknown guest would not be welcome — closets and boxes and compartments — in order to tell a story. She has no interest in the surface; she is a figure who delves deep and who accepts no external boundaries for what might be known about another person.

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