Handbook of American Popular Literature

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[The] essays are generally very well done, providing excellent and succinct overviews of such areas as Westerns, detective novels, comic books, and writing for children and young adults. Library Journal On the whole the essays are informative and analytical. The bibliographies range from two pages for the children's series, 'Big Little Books,' to 11 pages for 'Detective and Mystery Novels' and contain material published as early as 1856 as well as material published in 1987, so coverage for the purposes of scholarly research is broad. Reference Books Bulletin This collection of bibliographic essays is designed to serve as a reference to the existing commentary and scholarship on the main forms of past and present popular literature. It consists of essays on many of the popular genres including detective and mystery novels, Westerns, science fiction, romance and gothic novels, comic books, and writing for children and young adults. Each essay surveys the historic development of the genre and presents a critical guide to the reference works on the subject. Also included are a discussion of research centers and collections of primary and secondary materials, an evaluative overview of criticism on the subject, and a checklist of works cited and journals in the field. This is the first volume to provide bibliographic access to information about the major forms of popular literature in the United States. Increasing reader demand for these popular genres and the growing trend whereby writers of serious fiction are 'crossing over' into science fiction, murder mysteries, and other popular forms are making it increasingly difficult to distinguish between serious and popular literature. Accordingly, the growing appeal of popular fiction is best understood when placed within the larger context of American literature and culture.