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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Reading the BDSM romance: Reader responses to Fifty Shades

Deller, R. A. and Smith, Clarissa (2013) Reading the BDSM romance: Reader responses to Fifty Shades. Sexualities, 16 (8). pp. 932-950. ISSN 1363-4607

Item Type: Article


This article presents the results of survey data from readers of the Fifty Shades novel series. It is almost 30 years since Janice Radway’s (1984) Reading the Romance was published and audience studies have burgeoned. However, public discourse about E L James’s trilogy was couched in assumptions about ‘formulaic’ genre fiction, alongside debates about its ‘mainstreaming’ of BDSM, and little of this discussion drew upon the voices of readers. Our research reveals readers’ complex, often contradictory, responses to the novels. For these readers, the acts of reading and discussing the novels offer a range of (dis)pleasures, from erotic enjoyment to the amusements of critique; from self-gratification to participation in cultural dialogue.

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Depositing User: Clarissa Smith


Item ID: 6104
Identification Number:
ISSN: 1363-4607
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Clarissa Smith: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2016 14:37
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2019 15:38


Author: Clarissa Smith ORCID iD
Author: R. A. Deller

University Divisions

Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries
Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries > School of Media and Communications


Culture > English Language and Literature
Media > Media and Cultural Studies

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