Bring on the Books for Everybody: How Literary Culture Became Popular Culture

Bring on the Books for Everybody: How Literary Culture Became Popular Culture

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By (author) Jim Collins

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  • Publisher: Duke University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 300 pages
  • Dimensions: 155mm x 231mm x 18mm | 454g
  • Publication date: 30 June 2010
  • Publication City/Country: North Carolina
  • ISBN 10: 0822346060
  • ISBN 13: 9780822346067
  • Sales rank: 247,896

Product description

"Bring on the Books for Everybody" is an engaging assessment of the robust popular literary culture that has developed in the United States during the past two decades. Jim Collins describes how a once solitary and print-based experience has become an exuberantly social activity, enjoyed as much on the screen as on the page. Fuelled by Oprah's book club, Miramax film adaptations, superstore bookshops, and new technologies such as the Kindle digital reader, literary fiction has been transformed into best-selling, high-concept entertainment. Collins highlights the infrastructural and cultural changes that have given rise to a flourishing reading public at a time when the future of the book has been called into question. Book reading, he claims, has not become obsolete; it has become integrated into popular visual media. Collins explores how digital technologies and the convergence of literary, visual, and consumer cultures have changed what counts as a 'literary experience' in phenomena ranging from lush film adaptations such as "The English Patient" and "Shakespeare in Love" to the customer communities at Amazon. Central to Collins' analysis and, he argues, to contemporary literary culture, is the notion that refined taste is now easily acquired; it is just a matter of knowing where to access it and whose advice to trust. Through readings of recent novels, he shows that the redefined literary landscape has affected not just how books are being read, but what sort of novels are being written for these passionate readers. Collins connects literary bestsellers from "The Jane Austen Book" Club" and "Literacy and Longing in L.A." to "Saturday" and "The Line of Beauty", highlighting their depictions of fictional worlds filled with avid readers and their equations of reading with cultivated consumer taste.

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Author information

Jim Collins is Professor of Film and Television, and English at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of "Architectures of Excess: Cultural Life in the Information Age" and" Uncommon Cultures: Popular Culture and Post-Modernism";""the editor of "High-Pop: Making Culture into Popular Entertainment";""and a co-editor of "Film Theory Goes to the Movies."

Review quote

"Bring on the Books for Everybody is a lively and entertaining assault on some widely held shibboleths about popular culture... Engaging and provocative. It is a salutary to read a work that takes the ordinary reader seriously while engaging in literary criticism. The story ends with the author sitting in a branch of Barnes and Noble reminding us all that we live in the twenty-first century and what seem to us like the certainties of the nineteenth are long gone." Andrew HadField, Times Literary Supplement "Jim Collins' Bring on the Books for Everybody manages two difficult topics that have inhibited the field. First, there is a desperate need for books and articles that create a continuum between old and new media, analogue and digital. Second, teachers and students require research that investigates the concept of cultural value with rigour, discipline and energy... This is not a monograph describing old and new media (again). It investigates how talent, taste, pleasure and leisure are building new reading cultures through innovative delivery systems as authors appear on television, in web chats and are followed on Twitter...Through all these changes, innovations and revisions, this is a book about why books matter. It is written in a way that offers a masterclass for researchers in constructing scholarly monographs that are accessible, quirky, different and defiant." - Tara Brabazon, Times Higher Education "In this lively, always insightful but never predictable book, Jim Collins claims that literary culture is alive and well today, but that to understand it we must also understand the variety of institutions and technologies that house and drive it, its storage and delivery systems, and its new forms of connoisseurship. He makes us think about what it means to love literature, and how a cultural activity comes to be enjoyed as popular culture."--Linda Hutcheon, author of A Theory of Adaptation "[A] lively study that moves from strip mall to television to the multiplex to virtual reading communities..." - Nina C. Ayoub, Chronicle of Higher Education "[A] smart and funny look at this marriage of the literary and digital cultures - and an easy read..." - Siobhan Neile Welch, Bookslut "[A] lively take on the way traditional literary culture has been transmuted into new and sometimes only dimly recognizable forms by the powerful forces of American popular culture... Collins's savvy assessment of these recent developments is informative and entertaining and, in a way that's most welcome, accessible to anyone looking for a foothold as the tectonic plates of our cultural landscape shift." - Harvey Freedenberg, Shelf Awareness

Back cover copy

"In this lively, always insightful but never predictable book, Jim Collins claims that literary culture is alive and well today, but that to understand it we must also understand the variety of institutions and technologies that house and drive it, its storage and delivery systems, and its new forms of connoisseurship. He makes us think about what it means to love literature, and how a cultural activity comes to be enjoyed as popular culture."--Linda Hutcheon, author of "A Theory of Adaptation"