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Since the late nineteenth century, religiously themed books in America have been commercially popular yet scorned by critics. Working at the intersection of literary history, lived religion, and consumer culture, Erin A. Smith considers the largely unexplored world of popular religious books, examining the apparent tension between economic and religious imperatives for authors, publishers, and readers. Smith argues that this literature served as a form of extra-ecclesiastical ministry and credits the popularity and longevity of religious books to their day-to-day usefulness rather than their theological correctness or aesthetic quality. Drawing on publishers' records, letters by readers to authors, promotional materials, and interviews with contemporary religious-reading groups, Smith offers a comprehensive study that finds surprising overlap across the religious spectrum--Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish, liberal and conservative. Smith tells the story of how authors, publishers, and readers reconciled these books' dual function as best-selling consumer goods and spiritually edifying literature. What Would Jesus Read? will be of interest to literary and cultural historians, students in the field of print culture, and scholars of religious studies.
Examines the dramatic changes that occurred in children's literature during the twentieth century, the growth and impact of major publishing houses, the influence of key publishing figures, and the contributions of pioneering editors, educators, and librarians.
This thorough update to Benjamin Compaine's original 1979 benchmark and 1982 revisit of media ownership tackles the question of media ownership, providing a detailed examination of the current state of the media industry. Retaining the wealth of data of the earlier volumes, Compaine and his co-author Douglas Gomery chronicle the myriad changes in the media industry and the factors contributing to these changes. They also examine how the media industry is being reshaped by technological forces in all segments, as well as by social and cultural reactions to these forces. This third edition of Who Owns the Media? has been reorganized and expanded, reflecting the evolution of the media industry structure. Looking beyond conventional wisdom and expectations, Compaine and Gomery examine the characteristics of competition in the media marketplace, present alternative positions on the meanings of concentration, and ultimately urge readers to draw their own conclusions on an issue that is neither black nor white. Appropriate for media practitioners and sociologists, historians, and economists studying mass media, this volume can also be used for advanced courses in broadcasting, journalism, mass communication, telecommunications, and media education. As a new benchmark for the current state of media ownership, it is invaluable to anyone needing to understand who controls the media and thus the information and entertainment messages received by media consumers.
As television transformed American culture in the 1950s, critics feared the influence of this newly pervasive mass medium on the nation's literature. While many studies have addressed the rhetorical response of artists and intellectuals to mid-twentieth-century mass culture, the relationship between the emergence of this culture and the production of novels has gone largely unexamined. In A Novel Marketplace, Evan Brier illuminates the complex ties between postwar mass culture and the making, marketing, and reception of American fiction. Between 1948, when television began its ascendancy, and 1959, when Random House became a publicly owned corporation, the way American novels were produced and distributed changed considerably. Analyzing a range of mid-century novels—including Paul Bowles's The Sheltering Sky, Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, Sloan Wilson's The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, and Grace Metalious's Peyton Place—Brier reveals the specific strategies used to carve out cultural and economic space for the American novel just as it seemed most under threat. During this anxious historical moment, the book business underwent an improbable expansion, by capitalizing on an economic boom and a rising population of educated consumers and by forming institutional alliances with educators and cold warriors to promote reading as both a cultural and political good. A Novel Marketplace tells how the book trade and the novelists themselves successfully positioned their works as embattled holdouts against an oppressive mass culture, even as publishers formed partnerships with mass-culture institutions that foreshadowed the multimedia mergers to come in the 1960s. As a foil for and a partner to literary institutions, mass media corporations assisted in fostering the novel's development as both culture and commodity.
The final volume of The L.M. Montgomery Reader, A Legacy in Review examines a long overlooked portion of Montgomery’s critical reception: reviews of her books. Although Montgomery downplayed the impact that reviews had on her writing career, claiming to be amused and tolerant of reviewers’ contradictory opinions about her work, she nevertheless cared enough to keep a large percentage of them in scrapbooks as an archive of her career. Edited by leading Montgomery scholar Benjamin Lefebvre, this volume presents more than four hundred reviews from eight countries that raise questions about and offer reflections on gender, genre, setting, character, audience, and nationalism, much of which anticipated the scholarship that has thrived in the last four decades. Lefebvre’s extended introduction and chapter headnotes place the reviews in the context of Montgomery’s literary career and trace the evolution of attitudes to her work, and his epilogue examines the reception of Montgomery’s books that were published posthumously. A comprehensive account of the reception of Montgomery’s books, published during and after her lifetime, A Legacy in Review is the illuminating final volume of this important new resource for L.M. Montgomery scholars and fans around the world.
Ted Striphas argues that, although the production and propagation of books have undoubtedly entered a new phase, printed works are still very much a part of our everyday lives. With examples from trade journals, news media, films, advertisements, and a host of other commercial and scholarly materials, Striphas tells a story of modern publishing that proves, even in a rapidly digitizing world, books are anything but dead. From the rise of retail superstores to Oprah's phenomenal reach, Striphas tracks the methods through which the book industry has adapted (or has failed to adapt) to rapid changes in twentieth-century print culture. Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Amazon.com have established new routes of traffic in and around books, and pop sensations like Harry Potter and the Oprah Book Club have inspired the kind of brand loyalty that could only make advertisers swoon. At the same time, advances in digital technology have presented the book industry with extraordinary threats and unique opportunities. Striphas's provocative analysis offers a counternarrative to those who either triumphantly declare the end of printed books or deeply mourn their passing. With wit and brilliant insight, he isolates the invisible processes through which books have come to mediate our social interactions and influence our habits of consumption, integrating themselves into our routines and intellects like never before.
The Publishers Weekly bestseller list started on May 3, 1919; the New York Times Book Review list began on October 6, 1935. Though the lists do not always reflect the best in American publishing, they do offer a myriad of insights into popular culture. All books that have appeared on any of the Publishers Weekly or New York Times lists are included in this comprehensive reference work. Arranged alphabetically by author and then by book, each entry includes the book's title, publisher, lists on which it appeared and dates it debuted thereon, peak position, and total number of weeks on the lists. Information is provided for hardcover, paperback, and other special editions when appropriate.