I've been doing a tiny bit more background research into the history of the romance novel and ended up reading Hannah More's Coelebs in Search of a Wife (1808). In it, one of the exemplary characters:
lamented that novels, with a very few admirable exceptions, had done infinite mischief, by so completely establishing the omnipotence of love, that the young reader was almost systematically taught an unresisting submission to a feeling, because the feeling was commonly represented as irresistible. (137)
It should perhaps come as no surprise, therefore, that, according to Jane Nardin, shortly thereafter, "By the time Austen’s novels were published, More had stopped reading fiction."
I don't know if she also gave up poetry, but another of the exemplary characters states that:
Love and poetry commonly influence the two sexes in a very disproportionate degree. With men, each of them is only one passion among many. Love has various and powerful competitors in hearts divided between ambition, business, and pleasure. Poetry is only one amusement in minds, distracted by a thousand tumultuous pursuits, whereas in girls of ardent tempers, whose feelings are not curbed by restraint, and regulated by religion, love is considered as the great business of their earthly existence. It is cherished, not as ‘the cordial drop,’ but as the whole contents of the cup; the remainder is considered only as froth or dregs. (341, emphasis added)
This passage amused me, because it made me think there might possibly be one issue on which More and her contemporary, Lord Byron, would have agreed. After all, in his Don Juan a female character writes that:
Man’s love is of man’s life a thing apart,
’Tis woman’s whole existence; man may range
The court, camp, church, the vessel, and the mart;
Sword, gown, gain, glory, offer in exchange
Pride, fame, ambition, to fill up his heart,
And few there are whom these cannot estrange;
Men have all these resources, we but one,
To love again, and be again undone.
More, Hannah. Coelebs in Search of a Wife. 1808. New York: Derby & Jackson, 1859.
Nardin, Jane. "Jane Austen, Hannah More, and the Novel of Education." Persuasions 20 (1998): 15-20.