Literary vs Popular Fiction

Topics: Literature, Fiction, Genre fiction Pages: 2 (785 words) Published: November 2, 2014

Short Response #2
Kate Hudson
Is literary fiction better than popular fiction? What is the difference between the two? Short Response #2
Is literary fiction better than popular fiction? What is the difference between the two? Book lovers often hear the words ‘popular fiction’ – also known as ‘genre fiction’ and ‘literary fiction’ thrown around in conversation, but what do these terms actually mean? There is a saying that if popular fiction was a sport it would be football, and if literary fiction was one, it would be polo. This is an example of how people see the two types of fiction; being on opposite ends of the scale. Many people have differing opinions on which one is better than the other. Although I believe that it is not necessarily the case of one being better than the other, rather that they are just different. When comparing popular fiction with literary fiction, a number of differences can be seen. The most widely known difference is that literary fiction are works that offer deliberate commentary on large scale social and political issues. They focus on an individual to explore some part of the human condition. Popular fiction is known as more plot-driven with the intent of fitting into a specific literary genre. It can be divided up into sub categories such as romance, horror and sci-fi (McCracken 1998). Often, the setting or place in which a popular fiction novel sets the scene are exotic or immediately familiar, which offers the possibility to escape into a different world. Popular fiction uses more dialogue in their works, creating a more conversational style of writing that is familiar to the reader because of how we speak in everyday life, this is because many popular fiction authors write as they speak. This language is often plainer than literary fiction. According to Gelder (2004) popular fiction is essentially genre fiction, whereas genre is less important to literary fiction, the field of popular fiction simply cannot live...

Bibliography: Eagleton, T 2011 Literary Theory: An Introduction, John Wiley & Sons
Gelder, K 2004 Popular Fiction: The Logics and Practices of a Literary Field, Routledge Publishers
McCracken, S 1998 Pulp: Reading Popular Fiction, Manchester University Press
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