Elizabeth Lowell on Escapist Fiction

Interesting article by writer Elizabeth Lowell (aka Ann Maxwell) on popular fiction and its role in society. I think Lowell makes an excellent case for genre writing, she explores sexism in literature, and while she does not address the issue of quality and commercialism, I think she makes a strong case for popular fiction, not that I think that popular fiction ever needs a case; I will always stand on my belief that you must read it to judge it, and it is what you take from it individually that matters.

What I think is more interesting, however, are the responses of readers on HTMLGiant. Really, some haters, and I think any writer should be offended by the fact that Christopher Higgs is "studying" writers of popular fiction and how they talk about their work. It makes any writer feel less than human. One day, I want to write a book of literary criticism on "popular literature." It has always been an interest of mine, and also as a sociologist, I want to see what it means to society, how we talk about, and class issues related to it.

Also, am offended by the fact that they say "cultural studies is a growing wasteland." If you don't analyze your culture's discourse, how else are you going to change it!

HTMLGiant proves once and for all that it's a bunch of classist, elitist writers, or at least their readers...

But I still love Jimmy Chen.


  1. Hello,

    I know I'm late to respond to this, but I'm not sure how I've offended you or anyone else by my post at htmlgiant. When I say that I am studying popular literature, I mean I am studying popular literature. I'm a PhD student. That's what I do. I study literature and I write about literature. Right now I am doing research on popular literature, for a scholarly article on the subject. How on earth can that make anyone feel less than human?


  2. Chris:

    The way I read the post and comments on HTMLGiant, I felt that you were placing popular fiction writers as outsiders: things to be studied because they are so odd. The way I read it, I felt as if you thought you were the anthropologist figure, going into unknown territory, speaking with the savages. Which within academia, it is (I hate school!).

    This might not be your particular study, and how you view it, but the context of HTMLGiant makes it seem that way, that is condescending.

    Also, since college, I usually have an angry tone in my writing. If college has taught me one thing, it is being an angry writer, and overall an unpleasant person to be with when talking about politics. Sorry if it came off too strong.

    Good luck with your research and PhD!

    - Eric :)