No Love: GOP Lawmaker Looking to Stop Government Study of Romance Novels

Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) is looking to kick the government out of the business of celebrating love and romance.

Salmon proposed legislation Thursday that would end funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Popular Romance Project. That initiative has produced films and set up websites to study romance novels, and has spent nearly $1 million since 2010.


“When I first read about the Popular Romance Project, even I was surprised that the National Endowment for the Humanities would waste money on a project like this,” Salmon said Friday. “My question is simple: Why would we continue wasting our money on a pet project that gives nothing worthwhile to the taxpayer?”

According to the project’s website, “popular romance sells,” and the project is meant to explore “the fascinating, often contradictory origins and influences of popular romance as told in novels, films, comics, advice books, songs, and internet fan fiction, taking a global perspective — while looking back across time as far as the ancient Greeks.”

The project has produced a documentary called Love Between the Covers, which interviewed people who read or write romance novels.

It also hosts a website allowing readers to “see romance novels in a broad context across time and place.”

Salmon’s bill would terminate the program entirely. The legislation states flatly: “The National Endowment for the Humanities may not provide funds to carry out the Popular Romance Project or any similar project relating to love or romance.”