The Challenge of the Popular

  • J. A. Bull


This final chapter deals with the so-called ‘popular’ work of fiction and its relationship both to the literary market and to the society in which it was written. It also considers the problem of how popular fiction should be studied, given the inappropriateness of conventional forms of literary criticism. The text on which the chapter is based is the Ian Fleming thriller Thunderball. Many other texts might have been used, going back to the early nineteenth century or beyond — however there are advantages, given the plan of this book, on carrying the discussion of the socio-cultural context of fiction into the mid twentieth century.


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  1. 1.
    For a further discussion of the nature of genre see the introduction to Christopher Pawling (ed.), Popular Fiction and Social Change (Macmillan, 1984).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Tony Bennett, ‘Marxism and Popular Fiction’, Literature and History (Autumn 1981).Google Scholar

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© J. A. Bull 1988

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  • J. A. Bull

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