Potboilers looks at the many forms of popular narrative - in print, film and TV. It considers the ways in they have been analysed in literary criticism, sociology, communications, media and cultural studies.
The book introduces and summarizes two decades of debate about mass-produced fictions and their position within popular culture. It assesses the methods that have been used in these debates, focussing both on narrative analysis and the communications process. It explores generic conventions, the role of commercial strategies, and the nature of the audience with reference to crime fiction, soap opera, romance and TV sitcom.
Distinctions between `high' and `low' culture have relegated many popular forms to the trash-can of `great' literature. This book takes stock of the methods and concepts used to analyse popular culture and argues for a non-elitist approach to the study of literature, film and television.
Table of Contents
Introduction; Part I Concepts and methods; Chapter 1 Approaches to popular fiction; Chapter 2 Narrative grammar; Chapter 3 Narrative and connotative processes; Chapter 4 The speaking/reading subject; Chapter 5 Narrative and ideology; Chapter 6 Hegemony and subject position; Chapter 7 Genre; Part II Case studies; Chapter 8 Crime fiction: the genre dimension; Chapter 9 Crime fiction: film noir and gender; Chapter 10 Soap opera, romance and femininity; Chapter 11 Reading as a Woman; Chapter 12 Sitcom: commercial imperatives and humour; Chapter 13 Sitcom and social reality;
Jerry Palmer is a Professor of Communications at City of London Polytechnic. He is the author of Thrillers (1978) and The Logic of the Absurd (1987), and the wide range of articles he has written on popular culture indicates his lasting interest in the field.