Updatings of jane
Herendeen's first novel Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander was initially issued by a subsidy publisher with the subtitle A Bisexual Regency Romance, in 2005.Harper Collins released a slightly altered version of the book in 2008 without that subtitle.It is possible to say of Jane Austen, as perhaps we can say of no other writer, that the opinions which are held of her work are almost as interesting, and almost as important to think about, as the work itself.—Lionel Trilling Austen’s work as part of what Trilling calls “opinions,” then we come close to the present era’s obsession with appropriating, reworking, transcoding, and recycling her novels.In addition to regular academic essays and presentations, the students wrote collaborative pieces of short fiction that respond in various ways to one or more of Austen’s novels.
Novels like Phyllida show that the romance novel, once derided for its heteronormative ideology, is proving more inclusive than society at large.
The novel delivers the generically required account of the development of the couple's erotic and tender bonds through trials to deep and permanent commitment, while Phyllida's authorship supplies Herendeen's text with a common metafictional feature of postmodern genre romance: a novel-within-the-novel, exploring forbidden sexuality in the fashionable manner of the era.
Passages of Phyllida's fiction are rendered as pastiches of the great Gothic tradition (e.g.
Jennifer Crusie, Pam Rosenthal, Lauren Willig, Jayne Ann Krentz) and academics to take genre romance seriously as an object of study, and not only through the lens of sociology.
Herendeen has delivered talks and participated in panels at conferences devoted to her genre.