Witty and accessible, Popular Culture Genres is a fascinating study of genres and genre criticism. Author Arthur Asa Berger empowers readers to make their own analysis by providing the methods and examples of good criticism. Part I deals with genres from a critical perspective, asking questions such as: How do the conventions of different genres affect the creation and production of texts and the audiences of those texts? Do certain genres have significant social and political implications? And, how do genres evolve? Part II takes a look at five “classic” popular texts (in both their novel and film versions). Viewing these works in the context of their respective genres is not only instructive in nature but captivating reading as well.
The Figure and the Ground
The relationship between individual works (novels, films, TV shows) and genres (detective, science fiction, spy, etc.) strikes me as being a figure-ground one. Texts have an integrity of their own and are “wholes” that stand on their own two feet (so to speak), but they also have meaning relative to something broader, the genre which they can be subsumed under (or, in some cases, the genres, in that mixed-genre texts are possible).
This book is written in a period of time when literary theory seems to be the rage in academia and novels, films, and television shows only have relevance, it is suggested, as grist for the critic's mill. Critics now seem to feel that they are more important than creators, ...