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What can a cultural history of the heartthrob teach us about women, desire, and social change? From dreams of Prince Charming or dashing military heroes, to the lure of dark strangers and vampire lovers; from rock stars and rebels to soulmates, dependable family types or simply good companions, female fantasies about men tell us as much about the history of women as about What can a cultural history of the heartthrob teach us about women, desire, and social change? From dreams of Prince Charming or dashing military heroes, to the lure of dark strangers and vampire lovers; from rock stars and rebels to soulmates, dependable family types or simply good companions, female fantasies about men tell us as much about the history of women as about masculine icons. When girls were supposed to be shrinking violets, passionate females risked being seen as 'unbridled', or dangerously out of control. Change came slowly, and young women remained trapped in double-binds. You may have needed a husband in order to survive, but you had to avoid looking like a gold-digger. Sexual desire could be dangerous: a rash guide to making choices. Show attraction too openly and you might be judged 'fast' and undesirable. Education and wage-earning brought independence and a widening of cultural horizons. Young women in the early twentieth century showed a sustained appetite for novel-reading, cinema-going, and the dancehall. They sighed over Rudolph Valentino's screen performances, as tango-dancer, Arab tribesman, or desert lover. Contemporary critics were sniffy about 'shop-girl' taste in literature and in men, but as consumers, girls had new clout. In Heartthrobs, social and cultural historian Carole Dyhouse draws upon literature, cinema, and popular romance to show how the changing position of women has shaped their dreams about men, from Lord Byron in the early nineteenth century to boy-bands in the early twenty-first. Reflecting on the history of women as consumers and on the nature of fantasy, escapism, and 'fandom', she takes us deep into the world of gender and the imagination. A great deal of feminist literature has shown women as objects of the 'male gaze': this book looks at men through the eyes of women.


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What can a cultural history of the heartthrob teach us about women, desire, and social change? From dreams of Prince Charming or dashing military heroes, to the lure of dark strangers and vampire lovers; from rock stars and rebels to soulmates, dependable family types or simply good companions, female fantasies about men tell us as much about the history of women as about What can a cultural history of the heartthrob teach us about women, desire, and social change? From dreams of Prince Charming or dashing military heroes, to the lure of dark strangers and vampire lovers; from rock stars and rebels to soulmates, dependable family types or simply good companions, female fantasies about men tell us as much about the history of women as about masculine icons. When girls were supposed to be shrinking violets, passionate females risked being seen as 'unbridled', or dangerously out of control. Change came slowly, and young women remained trapped in double-binds. You may have needed a husband in order to survive, but you had to avoid looking like a gold-digger. Sexual desire could be dangerous: a rash guide to making choices. Show attraction too openly and you might be judged 'fast' and undesirable. Education and wage-earning brought independence and a widening of cultural horizons. Young women in the early twentieth century showed a sustained appetite for novel-reading, cinema-going, and the dancehall. They sighed over Rudolph Valentino's screen performances, as tango-dancer, Arab tribesman, or desert lover. Contemporary critics were sniffy about 'shop-girl' taste in literature and in men, but as consumers, girls had new clout. In Heartthrobs, social and cultural historian Carole Dyhouse draws upon literature, cinema, and popular romance to show how the changing position of women has shaped their dreams about men, from Lord Byron in the early nineteenth century to boy-bands in the early twenty-first. Reflecting on the history of women as consumers and on the nature of fantasy, escapism, and 'fandom', she takes us deep into the world of gender and the imagination. A great deal of feminist literature has shown women as objects of the 'male gaze': this book looks at men through the eyes of women.

30 review for Heartthrobs: A History of Women and Desire

  1. 4 out of 5

    Always Pouting

    A book exploring women's desire and the representation it can take on in media, particularly in western media in the twentieth century. An interesting read that addresses a lot of different ideas from what is the driving force behind rape fantasies to the skirting around interracial relationships in many movies and books in the twentieth century. The focus is more on the 1900's and on celebrities with maybe the exception of Lord Byron. It's a good general read but I think the author tried to cov A book exploring women's desire and the representation it can take on in media, particularly in western media in the twentieth century. An interesting read that addresses a lot of different ideas from what is the driving force behind rape fantasies to the skirting around interracial relationships in many movies and books in the twentieth century. The focus is more on the 1900's and on celebrities with maybe the exception of Lord Byron. It's a good general read but I think the author tried to cover too much at once and it kind of led to the ideas being disjointed. The chapters are broken up into types of heartthrobs or desires embodied by those men but I think it just caused a lot of overlap. It may have been better to develop the ideas in the book or a time line, it may have helped highlight the changes better. A good book on gender studies for the average reader, I personally enjoyed it and liked reading about media in the 1900s, mostly because I don't know much about it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    This was a great little novel about heartthrobs throughout history, and what this tells us about women and society at the time. I had a lot of fun reading this even though it got a little repetitive at times. Overall quirky and enjoyable read that can easily be read in one sitting. Buy, Borrow or Bin Verdict: Borrow Check out more of my reviews here Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This was a great little novel about heartthrobs throughout history, and what this tells us about women and society at the time. I had a lot of fun reading this even though it got a little repetitive at times. Overall quirky and enjoyable read that can easily be read in one sitting. Buy, Borrow or Bin Verdict: Borrow Check out more of my reviews here Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Roman Clodia

    A very quick and readable book but one which is all about the survey rather than detail, description and story-telling rather than analysis. There's undoubtedly a huge amount of material made available here but it's what I think of as an 'enabling' book: it would allow a more analytical scholar to do something more interesting with the material. Dyhouse asks pertinent questions about female desire and the inversion of the male gaze: but her work is unframed (she doesn't mention Mulvey, for examp A very quick and readable book but one which is all about the survey rather than detail, description and story-telling rather than analysis. There's undoubtedly a huge amount of material made available here but it's what I think of as an 'enabling' book: it would allow a more analytical scholar to do something more interesting with the material. Dyhouse asks pertinent questions about female desire and the inversion of the male gaze: but her work is unframed (she doesn't mention Mulvey, for example, and instead quotes John Berger) and theoretically lax. The chapters skip around in a haphazard way and it would have been helpful to have clarified a) that this is about female *fantasies* of desire (books, films, music, TV), and b) that it's more or less focused on the twentieth century, albeit with some brief and rather predictable excursions back to Byron, Austen and the Brontes. There's quite a lot of slippage between objects of female desire and cultural constructions of masculinity, not necessarily the same thing; and some interesting, though scanty, mentions of figures who appeal sexually to both men and women (James Dean, Valentino, possibly David Beckham). Dyhouse appears to be a cultural historian rather than a literary scholar and so her readings of books are straightforward and descriptive of plot, ignoring scholarship on more complicated ways of making sense of archetypal 'hero' figures such as Darcy or Rochester. So an entertaining read overall, perhaps more interesting to the general reader or undergraduate than anyone working in the fields of gender studies, women's writing etc. There's nothing surprising here (other than, perhaps, the idea of cardiganned, 47-year-old Perry Como as a 'heartthrob'!) but Dyhouse has a wry and witty turn of phrase and covers a lot of ground. Thanks to OUP for an ARC via NetGalley

  4. 5 out of 5

    Artemiz

    Heartthrobs is actually really good overview of all the different hero types in romance books over a time. There was a time when the readers hearts started to beat quicker when they read about gentle/dangerous poet type hero, or heroic solders or dangerous desert sons. Those where followed by doctors, celebrities and rich fellows. Modern day has brought vampires, damaged millionaires, whom young girls hope to save. All these preferences have been influenced by the things that have been happening Heartthrobs is actually really good overview of all the different hero types in romance books over a time. There was a time when the readers hearts started to beat quicker when they read about gentle/dangerous poet type hero, or heroic solders or dangerous desert sons. Those where followed by doctors, celebrities and rich fellows. Modern day has brought vampires, damaged millionaires, whom young girls hope to save. All these preferences have been influenced by the things that have been happening in the world - the wars, cultural revolutions. It's interesting to read about the comparisons between the male models at he beginning of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21 century. And since there are a lot of references to different books and movies, to illustrate one or other point, my reading list got many additions :). A good read, specially if you like romance novels.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Anna-Maria

    Heartthrobs is anecdotal rather than analytical, most of the time providing the curious reader with summaries of romance plots from past decades, giving an account of the more recent generations of female readers and writers in particular. The evolution of women's fantasies was entertaining to read about, but lacked an in-depth dissection of the psychology behind it; concepts like that of "non-threatening boys", for instance, are barely broached, if mentioned at all. The same applies to the more Heartthrobs is anecdotal rather than analytical, most of the time providing the curious reader with summaries of romance plots from past decades, giving an account of the more recent generations of female readers and writers in particular. The evolution of women's fantasies was entertaining to read about, but lacked an in-depth dissection of the psychology behind it; concepts like that of "non-threatening boys", for instance, are barely broached, if mentioned at all. The same applies to the more contemporary examples of fandom. The book's chapter layout wasn't especially coherent either and did in fact not help with the transitions at all, so that the writing felt repetitive at times. Nevertheless, the few parts that ventured deeper into the matter were enjoyable, and I can say that I encountered some aspects I had never thought of before. I can't imagine the amount of time Dyhouse must have invested into the research! Besides, will I ever get over the mention of "Rhubarb Vaselino"? I don't think so. *I received an ARC via netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rosie

    Masculinity has always interested me and the description of this book really appealed. I'm so glad I read it; I absolutely loved it! Given Carol Dyhouse's reputation as an academic, I was nervous it would be heavy going but she writes accessibly and engagingly. The insights into what women have found appealing were both interesting and useful: she shows how much culture has changed in even twenty years. This was the first book I've read of Dyhouse and I look forward to reading more. Masculinity has always interested me and the description of this book really appealed. I'm so glad I read it; I absolutely loved it! Given Carol Dyhouse's reputation as an academic, I was nervous it would be heavy going but she writes accessibly and engagingly. The insights into what women have found appealing were both interesting and useful: she shows how much culture has changed in even twenty years. This was the first book I've read of Dyhouse and I look forward to reading more.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bethany Frost

    There were some really interesting parts to this book, but far too often I felt like Dyhouse danced around drawing conclusions and it made for quite frustrating reading. I think it would have benefitted from being longer so she could have added more depth to the barrage of cultural references that started to get irritating a third of the way through. That said, I guess it makes it a good starting point for the analysis of desire, and that may well have been Dyhouse's intention. I'm just very surp There were some really interesting parts to this book, but far too often I felt like Dyhouse danced around drawing conclusions and it made for quite frustrating reading. I think it would have benefitted from being longer so she could have added more depth to the barrage of cultural references that started to get irritating a third of the way through. That said, I guess it makes it a good starting point for the analysis of desire, and that may well have been Dyhouse's intention. I'm just very surprised there was no mention of Laura Mulvey at all.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nabila

    It's a fun easy read but I don't think it quite delivers on the premise. I would have liked to have seen the evolution of how 'heartthrobs' are perceived but it tends to jump from era to era with a particular focus on the early 20th Century. Some more modern examples would have been interesting. It's a fun easy read but I don't think it quite delivers on the premise. I would have liked to have seen the evolution of how 'heartthrobs' are perceived but it tends to jump from era to era with a particular focus on the early 20th Century. Some more modern examples would have been interesting.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Renae

    A bit of a cursory overview on popular culture and popular romance trends, both in novels and in film. Really all this did was reawaken my semi-dormant appreciation for romance novels of all types. And now I’m plotting a wonderful romance binge. So. There is that. Speaking to the book in general, it's pretty good. Doesn't get in-depth enough for me. As someone who's hugely into old hollywood film AND dabbles into romance novels, I just wanted two separate books that covered those subject far more A bit of a cursory overview on popular culture and popular romance trends, both in novels and in film. Really all this did was reawaken my semi-dormant appreciation for romance novels of all types. And now I’m plotting a wonderful romance binge. So. There is that. Speaking to the book in general, it's pretty good. Doesn't get in-depth enough for me. As someone who's hugely into old hollywood film AND dabbles into romance novels, I just wanted two separate books that covered those subject far more intensively.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Katherine (Kelsey)

    I received this copy for free from a publishing giveaway, so here is my attempted non-biased opinion. I was really excited by the topic and focus of this book, as I am a thirsty lady keen on gender politics and hyper-analyzing everything. The fact that it takes a tone of clapback to the male gaze and male criticism of female sexuality really just puts the cherry on top, for me. When I unexpectedly received the book in the mail, I was even more excited by its dimensions--it's a small trim size, v I received this copy for free from a publishing giveaway, so here is my attempted non-biased opinion. I was really excited by the topic and focus of this book, as I am a thirsty lady keen on gender politics and hyper-analyzing everything. The fact that it takes a tone of clapback to the male gaze and male criticism of female sexuality really just puts the cherry on top, for me. When I unexpectedly received the book in the mail, I was even more excited by its dimensions--it's a small trim size, very compact, and a good deal of the page count is taken up by footnotes and other citations. This of course is always a reassuring thing to see in a historical text, particularly a cultural study drawing more from primary sources than scholarly tomes. In any case, the main text of this book comes in at just under 200 pages, which was thrilling to me: here was a fun nonfiction read that I could actually commit to finish before it became a chapter-by-chapter slog. Feminist academic analysis which I could consume in a week, featuring cute pop stars and soundbytes from angry men throughout history. Instant win. For the most part, this book delivered hard on its initial premise. It examines various archetypes of desirable men in history, buttressed by quotes, advertisements, and diary excerpts from the eras in which they lived. The congruity of the "heartthrobs" within their types was compelling, as was the evidence that, regardless of what their"hysterical" fangirls seemed to be desiring, the men trashing them just really seem to hate women with a passion. The vitriol really jumps off the page when Dyhouse quotes prominent male critics of the day, even when their anger reads like pure comedy after stewing for several decades (so help me, if I ever form a band, it will be named "Cult of the Clitoris." Thanks, 1920s misogynists). Overall, her insights are sharp, her argumentation and analysis is sound, and the source material is RICH soil for further examination of all sorts. I refrain from giving five stars because I feel that this book ultimately suffers the same fate as many accessible cultural revisionist histories: it's too darn short. The unintimidating page count definitely attracted me, a time-strapped reader, but ultimately left me unsatisfied as to the depth of the analysis. I don't think it was at all on Dyhouse that the book didn't delve as deeply as it could have in some places, because she had nearly 150 years to cover in almost the same number of pages (including photo inserts). There are also some genres which I feel were neglected in her study, namely....genres, such as sci-fi and fantasy. This may be a bit of personal bias, but I feel that there is a lot of hard-hitting gender politic in books and movies which deal with robots, aliens, feudal lords, and magic (the latter of which was mentioned in one chapter title but basically never addressed! O cruel letdown). Additionally, I think there was a much bigger missed opportunity in terms of queer women's sexualities, which were not addressed at all in this book; of course, I understand the scope here is on women desiring men, but there is so much historical tension surrounding men's views on queer womanhood (or even being able to acknowledge it as such) and women performing different gender roles or masculine-approaching identities (helloooooo butch heartthrobs!) that, as a queer woman, I got my hopes up a little. I don't at all hold it against Dyhouse that she didn't address non-heterosexual desires, which can be sketchy territory if outside the focus of one's research. A more valid criticism, I think, is the timeline, which wasn't nearly as clear as it could have been; Dyhouse chose to structure her analysis by man "type" rather than by era, which led to a lot of repetition when the same movies and sources were referenced in different contexts (in some cases, "...as analyzed back in chapter X"). I think her decision of breaking up the timeline in favor of following trends made sense in rounding out the image of each idealized "type" of man, but more text devoted to transitions and broad-scale rehashing really could have helped to solidify the historical progression. As things are currently, I didn't really have a good handle on the Timeline of Hotties until one paragraph near the end of the last chapter, where her quick summary did more legwork in setting things straight than the entire rest of the book, period. So, overall, 4/5 stars, absolutely recommend to everyone and anyone interested in gender politics and pop history. Don't read this on public transport as I did, though, or you will laugh/gasp out loud and attract attention. At least wrap it in the dust jacket of something romance fiction-y so you don't have to explain yourself.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Caught Between Pages

    A solid 3/5 For a book ostensibly about the history of femal desire, Heartthrobs has a decided focus on the desires of early to mid 20th century British and American women. I expected this going into the book, so I do t hold that against it. However, considering the comparatively narrow scope, I would have liked to see some more thematic focus, at least on a chapter by chapter basis. The chapters of the first half of the book presented basically the same information several times over, which I th A solid 3/5 For a book ostensibly about the history of femal desire, Heartthrobs has a decided focus on the desires of early to mid 20th century British and American women. I expected this going into the book, so I do t hold that against it. However, considering the comparatively narrow scope, I would have liked to see some more thematic focus, at least on a chapter by chapter basis. The chapters of the first half of the book presented basically the same information several times over, which I think was a misuse of the already limited page space. The second half seemed to be moving toward a Main Point™, buteither skimmed over or only briefly touched on many ideas that I would have liked to see explored in depth (I.e. A full chapter devoted to topic XYZ) such as orientalism or the tendency for many performer/actor/singer heartthrobs to be homosexual. Some topics that were brought up repeatedly (E.g. The prototypical Byron-esque male lead) were also never explored in depth (WHY is an aloof and arrogant rich boy so swoonworthy? Why not a nice rich boy?). Nevertheless, it was an informative read and tackled some previously taboo topics. In particular, the exploration of the prevalence of rape fantasies used as a vehicle for female empowerment was interesting to talk about. Dyhouse was as unbiased a narrator as one can be when discussing a topic as politically charged as female sexuality, though she takes a stance in the conclusion in which she postulates that we'd all be better off NOT objectifying one another. This ending also bristly touches on the present day and social media's influence in young women taking charge of their sexuality, but again this is something I would have liked to see explored in more depth.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Madeleine

    My adoration of this book is purely personal so I first have to say it's not for everyone: this is written in this loose, unwieldy way and genuinely feels like a stream of consciousness spilling all over the place. However, any book that talks about Georgette Heyer this much is going to be a fun read for me. I have structural criticisms, or just a screaming demand for SOME structure here: chapters are sorted somewhat by male romantic archetypes but they aren't well organizing. The chapter on exo My adoration of this book is purely personal so I first have to say it's not for everyone: this is written in this loose, unwieldy way and genuinely feels like a stream of consciousness spilling all over the place. However, any book that talks about Georgette Heyer this much is going to be a fun read for me. I have structural criticisms, or just a screaming demand for SOME structure here: chapters are sorted somewhat by male romantic archetypes but they aren't well organizing. The chapter on exoticism will have an extended take on vampires that has nothing to do with race, it doesn't cover the topics chronologically, and even after Heyer's archetypes are unpacked in one chapter they keep coming back like they had not been sorted into three types in the beginning of the story. So it never keeps in theme and honestly if you read from the end of a paragraph of one chapter into the next one they move so smoothly you can kind of see where this was an academic text broken into bits to be in chapters in the first place. Do a chapter on the over sexualization of MOC, a chapter on byronic heroes, a chapter on boy bands and androgyny and a chapter on what it means to be a gentleman. But this will fluidly sluice around these concepts in every chapter with no single takedown or chapter thesis. It's like your brain remembering your thesis. This is still an enjoyable read because I'd perk up at a lot of the examples listed and I enjoyed the writing, but the edit on this needed to be harder because the construction is very shoddy. Great ideas, I love the history in it, it just needed to be better organized for me to lay claim to this being a text every woman should read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Susan McGrath

    I received an advance copy of this book from the Publisher (Oxford University Press) in exchange for an honest review. Heartthrobs by Carol Dyhouse is a nonfiction analysis of women and desire. It focuses mostly on what women are drawn to in books, television, movies, and music performers and what that reveals about what women really want in men and relationships. I am super in love with the idea of this book, but had a hard time getting into it. The issue was not necessarily with the book itself. I received an advance copy of this book from the Publisher (Oxford University Press) in exchange for an honest review. Heartthrobs by Carol Dyhouse is a nonfiction analysis of women and desire. It focuses mostly on what women are drawn to in books, television, movies, and music performers and what that reveals about what women really want in men and relationships. I am super in love with the idea of this book, but had a hard time getting into it. The issue was not necessarily with the book itself. Dyhouse is writing a history here, so she covers a huge span of time, from before Mr. Darcy through Christian Grey. Most of the examples she focuses on are from the pre-1980s. I was not familiar with most of her examples (even Rudolph Valentino is an unfamiliar face to me), so I had a hard time following some of her points and fully understanding the connections Dyhouse made. The more modern examples (or historical ones that I was familiar with) had more impact for me. I would love to take this book as a class. I think it would work well in a format where you were reading the original texts (including Pride and Prejudice, Gone With the Wind, and a slew of paperbacks from the ‘50s-’70s), watching the original movies, and watching performances of the original artists. From there, conversations about why these stories (and men) were so popular would be very engaging. Overall, the ideas in this book are very interesting. The text is very academic in tone, however, and you should be prepared to do some heavy Googling.

  14. 4 out of 5

    LillyBooks

    This was a fun and impressively deep romp through the male "heartthrobs" of various forms of pop culture since the 19th century, focusing on how they changed with time (and how they didn't) and what that may mean about female desires and sexuality. It's an extensively well-researched book. I may have preferred it arranged chronically instead of by topic, as I felt this led the author to repeating the same facts in every chapter (such as the publication date & impact of The Feminine Mystique), bu This was a fun and impressively deep romp through the male "heartthrobs" of various forms of pop culture since the 19th century, focusing on how they changed with time (and how they didn't) and what that may mean about female desires and sexuality. It's an extensively well-researched book. I may have preferred it arranged chronically instead of by topic, as I felt this led the author to repeating the same facts in every chapter (such as the publication date & impact of The Feminine Mystique), but that's more personal choice than anything. Additionally, and this is not the first book of which this is true, I notice the author is completely unaware of the very large presence of "geek" culture. Not just the ways in which female geeks interact, but also the things that female geeks find attractive. It has been my personal experience that female geeks often have different ideals for their heartthrobs, and leaving out this increasingly mainstream section of our culture is a disservice. After all, brainy is the new sexy.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Marie-Therese

    While the title seems to promise a wider, even world-wide, examination of women and desire, this book focuses primarily on English women from the late eighteenth-century to the present day. In a relatively brief text (half the book is notes and select bibliography), Dyhouse manages to cover a surprising range of material (from idolization of Byron and Lord Nelson to today's mania for One Direction and the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon), organizing her points in a fresh and interesting way. A f While the title seems to promise a wider, even world-wide, examination of women and desire, this book focuses primarily on English women from the late eighteenth-century to the present day. In a relatively brief text (half the book is notes and select bibliography), Dyhouse manages to cover a surprising range of material (from idolization of Byron and Lord Nelson to today's mania for One Direction and the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon), organizing her points in a fresh and interesting way. A focus on working-class women as both passionate consumers and frequent producers of mainstream romance novels in England is especially welcome. A very good book, I recommend this to anyone interested in gender studies and/or the history of popular culture and fandom.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    This book was very concerned with romance novels from the mid-1800s to 1940 and then films that existed until about 1950. Everything else after that was completely glossed over or ignored completely. It's sectioned by "types" of romantic heroes, but the description of the "why" these were popular stereotypes were basically the same. I wish the author had translated these types to modern day, especially regarding pre-built boybands that were made by middle aged men to specifically have "types" fo This book was very concerned with romance novels from the mid-1800s to 1940 and then films that existed until about 1950. Everything else after that was completely glossed over or ignored completely. It's sectioned by "types" of romantic heroes, but the description of the "why" these were popular stereotypes were basically the same. I wish the author had translated these types to modern day, especially regarding pre-built boybands that were made by middle aged men to specifically have "types" for each kind of pre-teen girl. It just started reading as very same-y to me midway through and I wanted more information about the second half of the 20th century.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Wagner

    *I received a copy of this book from the publisher.* This book manages to be both academic and enjoyable to read. Analyzing the different real and fiction figures that have captured the female imagination primarily over the past two centuries, this history displays the shifting trends and continuity of women's desire. Film, romance novels, and musicans make up the primary figures explored and the author is able to draw lines between Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy and Fifty Shades of Grey, making for fas *I received a copy of this book from the publisher.* This book manages to be both academic and enjoyable to read. Analyzing the different real and fiction figures that have captured the female imagination primarily over the past two centuries, this history displays the shifting trends and continuity of women's desire. Film, romance novels, and musicans make up the primary figures explored and the author is able to draw lines between Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy and Fifty Shades of Grey, making for fascinating analysis. An excellent read for those interested in this topic.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Spivey

    An interesting summary of women's desires throughout the twentieth (and part of the nineteenth) century. My biggest desire for this book would be a view beyond cis white women of the era; I would love to see a comparison of queer women's or WOC's romantic and sexual fantasies as well. I'd also like to see more analysis versus plot summaries, though I understand to interpret the ideas you have to know the context. For a book that was 200+ pages and covering a whole century and some change, I thou An interesting summary of women's desires throughout the twentieth (and part of the nineteenth) century. My biggest desire for this book would be a view beyond cis white women of the era; I would love to see a comparison of queer women's or WOC's romantic and sexual fantasies as well. I'd also like to see more analysis versus plot summaries, though I understand to interpret the ideas you have to know the context. For a book that was 200+ pages and covering a whole century and some change, I thought it was well executed.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sanjana Rajagopal

    I started this book last summer and only got around to finishing it now. I have to say, this book has a gorgeous cover that’s immediately eye-catching. Now, that aside, I think this was a fun read, but remember liking the first half of the book much more. Maybe that’s because I split how I read the book and picked up the remaining half months later. In any case, this would have been a lot more interesting had it not read like a list of every romance trope ever in each chapter.

  20. 5 out of 5

    OG

    An excellent book and sociological study of women and the big and small screen. As someone who falls in love with a character every other week I found it fascinating. Great writing and research into the subject. Women like to be in love, maybe sometimes it's easier to never have the problem of having to deal with someone loving you back. An excellent book and sociological study of women and the big and small screen. As someone who falls in love with a character every other week I found it fascinating. Great writing and research into the subject. Women like to be in love, maybe sometimes it's easier to never have the problem of having to deal with someone loving you back.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Camille

    Disclaimer: I received this book for free in a Goodreads giveaway. It was really interesting and easy to read. Women's studies is right up my alley so I expected to like this. And I did. The multiple examples from various sources and pictures make the whole study enjoyable to read and it allows you to discover loads of other books and films to explore. Disclaimer: I received this book for free in a Goodreads giveaway. It was really interesting and easy to read. Women's studies is right up my alley so I expected to like this. And I did. The multiple examples from various sources and pictures make the whole study enjoyable to read and it allows you to discover loads of other books and films to explore.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Megan Nigh

    Interesting academic look at how desire and attractiveness have been protrayed in literature and pop culture through the last century. Focuses on heterosexual women. Little bit repetitive at the end, but still quite interesting. Discusses how masculinity has changed definitions over the years in terms of dress and behavior. Touches on Mr. Darcy up through Edward Cullen and Christian Grey.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Susan Liston

    This is a breezy little book about the history of what my mother called "wowies". No earthshattering insights here, not that I would necessarily notice if there were, but entertaining to read for the most part. And it mentions Flint McCullough! Good show, Carol. This is a breezy little book about the history of what my mother called "wowies". No earthshattering insights here, not that I would necessarily notice if there were, but entertaining to read for the most part. And it mentions Flint McCullough! Good show, Carol.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lorraine

    In this book Carol Dyhouse uses examples in book, films etc of the past 150 years to try and explain female desire.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kathrin Shawcross

    This book is all over the place. Really wouldn't reccomend it. This book is all over the place. Really wouldn't reccomend it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ivory

    More of a 3.5.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jai M {The Crazy Cat Lady}

    will fill in later.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Frow

    Very good. Very interesting to see a woman's perspective on how women read, watched and generally consumed an ideal of desire down the centuries. Very good. Very interesting to see a woman's perspective on how women read, watched and generally consumed an ideal of desire down the centuries.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I really liked the premise of "Heartthrobs" but the analysis conducted by Ms Dyhouse just fell flat for me. The book didn't really offer any new insights for me and I think that some of the points the authors makes about rape fantasies are somewhat problematic and I strongly disagree with her on more than one point. I really liked the premise of "Heartthrobs" but the analysis conducted by Ms Dyhouse just fell flat for me. The book didn't really offer any new insights for me and I think that some of the points the authors makes about rape fantasies are somewhat problematic and I strongly disagree with her on more than one point.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lara

    It was a delicious romp through romantic icons and pulled together low and high-brow references brilliantly. For me, it didn't have much theoretical basis (e.g. Talked about gender as a performance without mentioning Judith Butler, the male gaze without Laura Mulvey) and I'd have liked more literary analysis. That said it was entertaining to read, had me laughing out loud and introduced me to a wide range of other references to follow up. It was a delicious romp through romantic icons and pulled together low and high-brow references brilliantly. For me, it didn't have much theoretical basis (e.g. Talked about gender as a performance without mentioning Judith Butler, the male gaze without Laura Mulvey) and I'd have liked more literary analysis. That said it was entertaining to read, had me laughing out loud and introduced me to a wide range of other references to follow up.

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