Literature & literary studies:

Middlebrow Matters

Women's reading and the literary canon in France since the Belle Epoque

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Middlebrow Matters by Diana Holmes
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Description

This is the first book to study the middlebrow novel in France. Middlebrow is a derogatory word that connotes blandness, mediocrity and a failed aspiration to `high' culture. However, when appropriated as a positive term to denote that wide swathe of literature between the challenging experimentalism of the high and the formulaic tendency of the popular, it enables a rethinking of the literary canon from the point of view of what most readers actually read, a criterion curiously absent from dominant definitions of literary value. Since women have long formed a majority of the reading public, this perspective immediately feminises what has always been a very male canon. Opening with a theorisation of the concept of middlebrow that mounts a defence of some literary qualities disdained by modernism, the book then focuses on a series of case studies of periods (the Belle Epoque, inter-war, early twenty-first century), authors (including Colette, Irene Nemirovsky, Francoise Sagan, Anna Gavalda) and the middlebrow nature of literary prizes. It concludes with a double reading of a single text, from the perspective of an academic critic, and from that of a middlebrow reader.

Author Biography

Diana Holmes is Professor of French at the University of Leeds.
Release date Australia
October 31st, 2018
Author
Pages
256
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Imprint
Liverpool University Press
ISBN-13
9781786941565
Product ID
28248289

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