The word began, with a capital R, to mean the French language - which was a corruption of that spoken by the ancient Romans - and a romance was so called because the French couldn't stop making up immensely long and fanciful stories. Among the best-known in England was the Roman de la Rose, partly translated by Chaucer, an allegory of courtly love; C S Lewis calls the first of its two authors, Guillaume de Lorris, "the founder of the sentimental novel". As Lewis explains, courtly love excluded marriage. The two were incompatible. It was the gentle chase that mattered.
Romance seems to spill into reality in expressions like "shipboard romance" or the "holiday romance" with which Sarah Cook's saga is reported to have begun. After all, we are talking about real people. But isn't this only a way of saying that those concerned are letting go of reality? It is they who, for a moment at least, are spilling into fiction. Romanticising, you might say.Reuse content