Smut Reporting, The Duke Project

The Duke Project: What’s Angst got to do with it?

Holly’s most recent review for the Duke Project was Christy Carlyle’s A Duke Changes Everything, which features the quintessential Angsty Duke. The hero hates his inheritance, hates his home, hates the memory of his family (except for his sainted and sadly departed mother – the fraught relationship between Dukes and Their Mothers is a whole separate thing, which I definitely want to talk about in the future).

But let’s drill down on the angst bit. According to Merriam-Webster, angst comes from the German for “fear” and refers to “a feeling of anxiety, apprehension, or insecurity.” “Angst” was first used this way in English in 1942, so it’s not like these angsty Georgian and Regency and Victorian Dukes would have used the word to describe themselves.

Continue reading “The Duke Project: What’s Angst got to do with it?”
Smut Reporting, The Duke Project

The Duke Project: What IS the deal with Dukes?

Discerning readers of The Smut Report may have noticed that some of Holly’s reviews mention an elusive and undefined thing called The Duke Project. Now, the time has come for The Duke Project to actually begin.

So… What is The Duke Project, exactly?

You may have noticed that there are approximately one million smut books featuring Dukes. Many of those novels have the word “Duke” in the title, so they’re easy to find even if you don’t do a deep dive into the genre. In real life, there are like 30. In Romancelandia, they are everywhere. So Holly decided to set out and try to figure out – what is the deal with dukes?

She is obviously not the first person to notice or comment on this phenomenon. Author Lorraine Heath wrote for NPR : “In modern terms, the duke is the equivalent of the movie star, seen on the big screen, bolder than life.” In a piece on the popularity Dukes for USA Today, Elizabeth Hoyt told Madeline Hunter, “He’s the alpha-est of the historical world.” Basically: Dukes are fun! They represent fantasy and escapism – you know that when your hero is a Duke, he’s wealthy, powerful and noble.

But just because they’re fun doesn’t explain the whole thing, so Holly is going to unpack what exactly makes a Duke a Duke, one characteristic at a time.


Next Time in The Duke Project: Let’s talk about angst!

My First Smut

Let’s be honest, there’s nothing but smut here

My First Smut is a recurring feature where we talk about our formative smut experiences. These short essays may include such details as: What book did you read? How old were you? Were there other people involved? What made the experience special? What role does smut play in your life?

This week, we tell Erin’s story.

Continue reading “Let’s be honest, there’s nothing but smut here”
My First Smut

Let’s go straight for the bodice rippers

My First Smut is a recurring feature where we talk about our formative smut experiences. These short essays may include such details as: What book did you read? How old were you? Were there other people involved? What made the experience special? What role has smut played in your life?

This week, we tell Holly’s story.

Continue reading “Let’s go straight for the bodice rippers”