In the past, the critics and writers who formulated the boundaries of the literary canon in British literature restricted its membership to ‘high culture’ and the ‘highbrow’. Writers whose work lies outside these selectively applied parameters of literary taste and value have been assigned to the derogatory category of ‘middlebrow’ or ‘popular’ literature. Some of these writers were rejected from the canon by their willing embrace of popular appeal, and their openness to a wide readership. Many texts were not included because they were written by women, addressed women’s concerns, or because they were concerned with middle- and working-class values and aspirations that were inimical to the literature of high culture. Other categories that have been disadvantaged by the institutional application of canonicity in British literary culture include regionality, the literature of impairment, political stance, and writers of colour.
This series offers monographs and edited collections of essays that examine the extents and effects of writing that resists the regulation of the canon. Crossing both cultural and geographic boundaries, this series brings together studies of texts, writers, readers, producers, and distributors. It will highlight current debates about the politics of mainstream readerships and media, about the designation of audiences and material methods of circulation, and will address contemporary critical concerns. By attending to how these texts resist the ‘high’ cultural imperative the works in this series make it possible to learn how culture is commodified for particular classes, and the role that gender and social class play in the production of those categories.
Manuscripts should be in the range of 80,000 to 100,000 words. Proposals should be eight to ten pages in length and should include a brief overview of the relevant scholarship in the field, the contribution which your work will make, a breakdown of the contents by chapter, an account of the number and type of illustrations, a brief survey of competing works, to whom the proposed book could be marketed, and the intended audience. Proposals should include a minimum of two sample chapters.
Virginia Woolf’s Good Housekeeping Essays
Rethinking G.K. Chesterton and Literary Modernism Parody, Performance, and Popular Culture
Fashioning the Silver Fork Novel
John Buchan and the Idea of Modernity
Women's University Fiction, 1880–1945
William Clark Russell and the Victorian Nautical Novel Gender, Genre and the Marketplace
By Christine Reynier
July 04, 2018
In the mid-twentieth century, Virginia Woolf published ‘Six Articles on London Life’ in Good Housekeeping magazine, a popular magazine where fashion, cookery and house decoration is largely featured. This first book-length study of what Woolf calls ‘little articles’ proposes to reassess the ...
By Paul Raphael Rooney
April 30, 2018
The railway was one of the principal Victorian spaces of reading. This book spotlights one of the leading audience demographics in this late-Victorian market: the newly empowered readers of the expanding middle class. The transactions in which late-Victorian readers acquired the books read whilst ...
By Michael Shallcross
November 30, 2017
This book comprehensively rethinks the relationship between G.K. Chesterton and a range of key literary modernists. When Chesterton and modernism have previously been considered in relation to one another, the dynamic has typically been conceived as one of mutual hostility, grounded in Chesterton’s...
By Lise Jaillant
March 10, 2017
In the 1920s and 1930s the Modern Library series brought out cheap editions of modernist works. Books by writers including H G Wells, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce, were published and marketed alongside detective fiction and other books that we would now class as ‘middlebrow’. Jaillant provides a ...
By Bénédicte Coste, Catherine Delyfer, Christine Reynier
October 14, 2016
Charting the period that extends from the 1860s to the 1940s, this volume offers fresh perspectives on Aestheticism and Modernism. By acknowledging that both movements had a passion for the ‘new’, it goes beyond the alleged divide between Modernism and its predecessors. Rather than reading the ...
By Erica Brown
January 20, 2016
Elizabeth von Arnim and Elizabeth Taylor wrote witty and entertaining novels about the domestic lives of middle-class women. Widely read and enjoyed, their work was often dismissed as middlebrow. Brown argues their skilful use of comedy and irony provided the receptive reader with subversive ...
By Cheryl A Wilson
January 20, 2016
Fashion and celebrity may be twenty-first century obsessions, but they were also key concepts in Regency culture. Both celebrated and condemned for their popularity, silver fork novels were extremely prolific during this period. This study looks at the social and literary impact of this significant...
By Kate Macdonald, Nathan Waddell
January 20, 2016
Considered a quintessentially 'popular' author, John Buchan was a writer of fiction, journalism, philosophy and Scottish history. By examining his engagement with empire, psychoanalysis and propaganda, the contributors to this volume place Buchan at the centre of the debate between popular culture ...
By Simon R Frost
January 20, 2016
This study shows how aesthetics and economics have been combined in a great work of literature. Frost examines the history of Middlemarch’s composition and publication within the context of Victorian demand, then goes on to consider the interpretation, reception and consumption of the book....
By Anna Bogen
January 20, 2016
The rise of the middle classes brought a sharp increase in the number of young men and women able to attend university. Developing in the wake of this increase, the university novel often centred on male undergraduates at either Oxford or Cambridge. Bogen argues that an analysis of the lesser known...
By Andrew Nash
July 22, 2015
William Clark Russell wrote more than forty nautical novels. Immensely popular in their time, his works were admired by contemporary writers, such as Conan Doyle, Stevenson and Meredith, while Swinburne, considered him 'the greatest master of the sea, living or dead'. Based on extensive archival ...
By Francesca Saggini
May 01, 2015
In this ground-breaking study Francesca Saggini explores the relationship between the late eighteenth-century novel and the theatre, arguing that the implicit theatricality of the Gothic novel made it an obvious source from which dramatists could take ideas. Similarly, elements of the theatre ...