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Key Concepts in Contemporary Popular Fiction

Bernice M. Murphy

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A jargon-free guide to the key terms, concepts, and theoretical approaches to contemporary popular fiction

Key Concepts in Contemporary Popular Fiction represents an invaluable starting point for students wishing to familiarise themselves with this exciting and rapidly evolving area of literary studies. It provides an accessible, concise and reliable overview of core critical terminology, key theoretical approaches, and the major genres and sub-genres within popular fiction. Because popular fiction is significantly shaped by commercial forces, the book also provides critical and historical contexts for terminology related to e-books, e-publishing, and self-publishing platforms. By using focusing in particular on post-2000 trends in popular fiction, the book provides a truly up-to-date snapshot of the subject area and its critical contexts.

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A-Z of Key Concepts and Terms
Key Critical and Theoretical Approaches to Popular Fiction
Six Major Popular Genres (and one Popular Mode)
15 Key Works of Contemporary Popular Fiction
Chronology of Selected Key Dates in Popular Fiction
Bibliography for A-Z Section.

About the Author

Bernice M. Murphy is Lecturer in Popular Literature in the School of English, Trinity College Dublin, and Director of the TCD M.Phil in Popular Literature, which was established in 2005. She has published extensively on topics related to popular fiction and horror and gothic studies. Recent publications include the text book Key Concepts in Contemporary Popular Fiction (Edinburgh University Press, 2017).


Bernice Murphy's excellent guide to the rapidly changing field of contemporary popular fiction explores every nook and cranny from 'Aga Sagas' to Zombie fiction, leaving no stone unturned. Theoretically acute, historically informed and written with immense verve, this is an indispensable and, above all, accessible introduction that is certain to reach a wide and diverse readership.

- David Glover, University of Southampton

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