Friday, May 30, 2014

Fifty Shades of Grey is really a self-help book, says academic

Fifty Shades of Grey
One for the self-help shelves … copies of Fifty Shades of Grey on sale in a Florida bookshop. Photograph: Aaron Davidson/Getty Images

A professor has written an academic analysis of the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon, finding that – despite containing "some of the worst writing I have ever seen and a plot that made my toenails curl" – the erotic novel "is less pornographic than it is a self-help book".

Eva Illouz, sociology professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and president of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, has just published her academic treatise Hard-Core Romance with the University of Chicago Press. The text, said the publisher, sees Illouz argue that EL James's novels are "a gothic romance adapted to modern times in which sexuality is both a source of division between men and women and a site to orchestrate their reconciliation", and that their graphic descriptions of bondage, discipline and sadomasochism are "as much a cultural fantasy as a sexual one, serving as a guide to a happier romantic life".

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