Scorned Literature: Essays on the History and Criticism of Popular Mass-produced Fiction in America

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Lydia Cushman Schurman, Deidre Johnson
Greenwood Press, 2002 - Social Science - 245 pages

Many works now considered classics were scorned by critics when they were first published. While some of these works received little attention when initially released, others were enormously popular. So too, there is a large body of popular American fiction that is only now beginning to receive critical attention. This book examines the growing respect given to American fiction that was scorned by cultural gatekeepers such as librarians and educators, though these works were widely read by the American public.

The volume looks at such scorned literature as dime novels, comic books, juvenile fiction, romances novels, and pulp magazines. Expert contributors discuss what these works say about the mores and morals of the people who so avidly read them and the values of those who sought to censor them. The book covers the period from the 1830s to the 1950s and shows how popular literature reflected such concerns as feminism and anti-feminism, notions of the heroic and unheroic, and violence and racism. In doing so, the volume helps fill a gap in scholarship about literature that was clearly important to a large number of readers.

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The Romance Novel and
Calamities of Convention in a Dime Novel Western
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About the author (2002)

LYDIA CUSHMAN SCHURMAN is Professor Emerita of English at Northern Virginia Community College and has published widely on nineteenth-century popular fiction.

DEIDRE JOHNSON is Associate Professor of English at West Chester University, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in children's literature. She has published extensively on Edward Stratemeyer and the Stratemeyer syndicate and is associate editor of Dime Novel Round-Up.

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