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The Oxford History of the Novel in EnglishVolume 6: The American Novel 1879-1940$
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Priscilla Wald and Michael A. Elliott

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780195385342

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195385342.001.0001

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The Dime Novel

The Dime Novel

(p.273) 17 The Dime Novel
The Oxford History of the Novel in English

David Kazanjian

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on American dime novels published in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It examines the dime novel as an historically specific but unruly body of popular culture that reflects the social changes, conflicts, and potentials of the period. The chapter tackles this unruliness by discussing the dime novel's genres and content, the conditions of its production, and the practices of reading and interpreting it. It also considers the dime novel's transnational character and how it was influenced by—and asserted its influence upon—sensationalist fiction written in languages such as Yiddish, Spanish, German, and French not only by immigrants to the United States but also by authors throughout Europe and the Americas. Finally, it describes the American dime novel's depictions of race, class, sex, and violence that reflect its nature as a world literature.

Keywords:   dime novel, popular culture, genres, reading, sensationalist fiction, immigrants, race, class, violence, world literature

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