From its beginnings inTwilightfan-fiction to its record-breaking sales as an e-book and paperback, the story of the erotic romance novelFifty Shades of Greyand its two sequels is both unusual and fascinating. Having sold over seventy million copies worldwide since 2011, E. L. Jamess lurid series about a sexual ingnue and the powerful young entrepreneur who introduces her to BDSM sex has ingrained itself in our collective consciousness. But why have these particular novelspoorly written and formulaic as they arebecome so popular, especially among women over thirty?
In this concise, engaging book, Eva Illouz subjects theFifty Shadescultural phenomenon to the serious scrutiny it has been begging for. After placing the trilogy in the context of best-seller publishing, she delves into its remarkable appeal, seeking to understand the intense reading pleasure it provides and how that resonates with the structure of relationships between men and women today.Fifty Shades, Illouz argues, is 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. As for the novels notorious depictions of bondage, discipline, and sadomasochism, Illouz shows that these are as much a cultural fantasy as a sexual one, serving as a guide to a happier romantic life. TheFifty Shadestrilogy merges romantic fantasy with self-help guidetwo of the most popular genres for female readers.
Offering a provocative explanation for the success and popularity of theFifty Shades of Grey
is an insightful look at modern relationships and contemporary womens literature.