Novels with explicit depictions of sexual acts and thoughts have been popular for a long time. In recent years, large digital fan communities have evolved that communicate about the reading of erotic bestsellers. This boom gives rise to the following questions:
Who is part of this readership and reads which erotic novels? And for what purposes? Which needs, wishes and other functions are served by reading erotic novels? Do these novels show distinctive features in terms of narrative plot, representation of protagonists and linguistic dimensions? How and to what extend can these novels be distinguished from traditional forms of the romance? And which societal discourses and developments are referred to and promoted through these novels?
The project aims at getting to grips with the readers and the contemporary variants of the erotic bestseller. In doing so, a sociodemographic survey will be conducted to identify particularly popular novels as well as reader profiles and reading functions. Text-analytical investigations of the contents, the modes of representation and potential genre-markers are likewise part of the project.