As Percec’s foreword continues, the history and definition of romance becomes more confused.
In literature, the word becomes perhaps even more problematic.
Romance originally identified language of composition; medieval ‘romance’ designated texts written in vernacular languages, specifically Old French, to differentiate them from those written in Latin (this usage survives in the designation of a group of European languages as ‘romance languages’).
It is clear from the foreword that the editor’s intention is to take a wide view, but also to begin with some assumption of continuity.
She notes: ‘Romance is a genre which, after ups and downs over the course of its thousand year history, now holds a leading position in the international publishing market.’ (viii-ix) However, this statement, while ostensibly giving some sense of the scope of the collection (and the implicit focus on the contemporary publishing market), introduces the first of several problems with .