In this important book, Ken Gelder offers a lively, progressive and comprehensive account of popular fiction as a distinctive literary field. Drawing on a wide range of popular novelists, from Sir Walter Scott and Marie Corelli to Ian Fleming, J. K. Rowling and Stephen King, his book describes for the first time how this field works and what its unique features are. In addition, Gelder provides a critical history of three primary genres - romance, crime fiction and science fiction - and looks at the role of bookshops, fanzines and prozines in the distribution and evaluation of popular fiction. Finally, he examines five bestselling popular novelists in detail - John Grisham, Michael Crichton, Anne Rice, Jackie Collins and J. R. R. Tolkien - to see how popular fiction is used, discussed and identified in contemporary culture.
Ken Gelder is a Reader in English at the University of Melbourne, Australia. His books include Reading the Vampire (Routledge 1994) and, with Jane M. Jacobs, Uncanny Australia: Sacredness and Identity in a Postcolonial Nation (Melbourne University Press, 1998). He is co-editor of The Subcultures Reader (1997) and editor of The Horror Reader (2000), both published by Routledge.