From Phyllida's Desk

Jane Austen AGM and Bisexual Tops

September 30, 2012

Dear Readers:

Starting this Wednesday, October 3rd, and continuing through Sunday the 7th, I'll be involved in the JASNA (Jane Austen Society of North America) annual general meeting, which is being held this year in Brooklyn, within walking distance of my home.

In addition to participating in the breakout sessions, Regency banquets, dancing and other activities, I am also excited to be one of the authors in a Q&A session about "writing Jane" (like my novel Pride/Prejudice) and to be included in the book-signing on Sunday.

When I first joined JASNA-NY back in 2008, I was still writing P/P, and I figured that I'd just enjoy the group for a short time until the book was published, at which point the other members would rise up in wrath and expel me from their ranks. Well, as one of you (and fellow JASNA member) has confided, P/P did create a huge "scandal" when it came out. But not everyone was horrified, and many members are still friendly. Although most Janeites would far rather see Mr. Darcy as a "Vampyre," rock star or heroic killer of zombies than as bisexual, they also know that my portrayal of him as the lover of (bisexual) Mr. Bingley is meant affectionately, even respectfully.

Still, I can't help wishing that the scholars and academics who will also be signing their books alongside me on Sunday could understand something of what I was doing in writing P/P (and Phyllida), beyond the obvious business of writing sexy fanfic. I did have some interesting things to say, it seemed to me, about upper-class Englishmen in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and the way bisexuality has been shown (or not) in fiction.

Last year I presented a paper on that topic at the third IASPR (International Association for the Study of Popular Romance) conference in New York City. The full-length paper will be available soon at IASPR's website as my contribution to the official proceedings of that conference, but until then I have (temporarily) put the paper up as a PDF here on my own website. It's not as fun a read as my novels and stories, but it's proof that the professors who teach and study popular romance, including Phyllida and P/P, find my work worthy of scholarly interest.

If you want to take a look, I've put the link to the PDF at the very top (appropriately) of the home page of my site. The paper's title is "The Upper-Class Bisexual Top as Romantic Hero: (Pre)Dominant in the Social Structure and in the Bedroom." Like the title, the paper is very long (10K words, or about 30 pages of double-spaced text). So don't feel obligated. I just want to let you know it's here.

And at some point, I will be back with another novel. Until then, many thanks for reading.

Ann Herendeen

Selected Works

Fantasy, Women's Fiction (e-books)
Book Six in the ECLIPSIS series of Lady Amalie's memoirs.
Book Five in the ECLIPSIS series of Lady Amalie's memoirs.
Book Four in the ECLIPSIS series of Lady Amalie's memoirs.
Book Three in the ECLIPSIS series of Lady Amalie's memoirs.
Book Two in the ECLIPSIS series of Lady Amalie's memoirs.
Book One in the ECLIPSIS series of Lady Amalie's memoirs.
Short Story
A queered version of the Cinderella story in the 4th Gay City anthology, "At Second Glance."
Newsletter article
Describes the typical upbringing of middle- and upper-class children in Austen's time.
Romantic Comedy, M/M/F Menage
A breezy tale of love, lust and secrets set against the backdrop of Regency England.