An Aesthetics of Junk Fiction

Thomas J. Roberts


“Roberts writes in an engaging, clear manner, and his frequent neologisms—‘thick reading,’ ‘superorganic source,’ ‘genre allergic,’ ‘exclusivists,’ ‘bookscapes,’ etc.—are either self-explanatory or well-defined in the text.”
Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Review Annual

“There is no doubt that Roberts has written a valuable and enjoyable book; it is stronger on texts than on reading, stronger on criticism than on theory, but one from which even ‘allergics’ to the title can profit.”
British Journal of Aesthetics

“Though the book is intellectually challenging, Roberts’ style, just this side of breezy, helps in juggling the concepts he steadily tosses at the reader.”
Milwuakee Journal

“Roberts’s brilliant and witty observations on such matters as taste, escapism, and aesthetics . . . make this book not only an important theoretical contribution, but a pleasure.”

“An insightful and balanced overview of the terrain of books people actually read and why they read them—this book belongs in all libraries and should be read by all who profess an interest in popular literature.”

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With wit and insight, Thomas J. Roberts reassesses popular writing forms, such as westerns, romances, and fantasies, that are often denigrated and explores the motives and experiences of readers of these genres. Drawing widely from literary criticism, the sociology and psychology of literature, and popular culture, An Aesthetics of Junk Fiction is an incisive examination of our discretionary reading tastes and a pioneering work in establishing new criteria for evaluating vernacular literature.

Page count: 298 pp.
Trim size: 6 x 9


List price: $29.95

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Thomas J. Roberts is a professor emeritus at the University of Connecticut. He is the author of When Is Something Fiction?