Scorned literature : essays on the history and criticism of popular mass-produced fiction in America /

Other Authors: Schurman, Lydia Cushman., Johnson, Deidre.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2002.
Series: Contributions to the study of popular culture, no. 75
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Review by Choice Review

An attack on elitist taste--for its rejection of mass publication--this anthology of criticism covers two centuries of early paperbacks, comics, pulp magazines, juvenile fiction, and popular romance. The editors cite as reasons for their "scorn" the lack of attention paid by critics to these genres, the mores of the page-turning reader, and the blanket disapproval by highbrows. An essay on pulps by Erin Smith deals with detective fiction writers whose works eventually entertained higher-browed purveyors of Hammett and Chandler. Left out, but also applicable in this connection, are authors of paperback originals of the 1950s, for example David Goodis and Jim Thompson, whose work inspired filmmakers Francois Truffaut and Stephen Frears. For the most part these essays deal with less-familiar writers, so the book is a valuable addition to the literature on the genres addressed. Recommended as background for the present volume is James Hart's The Popular Book: A History of America's Literary Taste (1950; reprinted, 1976), which suggested that "fastidiousness of language" turns away the average reader. Upper-division undergraduate and graduate students; general readers. A. Hirsh emeritus, Central Connecticut State University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.