Deliberations between the covers : an audience-centred ethnography of Chinese popular fiction readers

Kozar, Seana (1998) Deliberations between the covers : an audience-centred ethnography of Chinese popular fiction readers. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This thesis is an ethnography of Chinese popular fiction readership which presents an integrated exploration of contemporary readers' tastes and patterns of reading behaviour. However, in order to understand the genres and particular texts that contemporary readers designate as "popular," especially within the context of Chinese popular culture which has long been the site of an active exchange between written and oral traditions, it is necessary to examine the historical audiences and generic antecedents, the traditions of texts and contexts, that provide modern readers with reference points of continuity and change within the larger landscape of Chinese popular literature. -- To this end, this study suggests that reading patterns, like other kinds of expressive behaviour in everyday life, can be thought of in terms of repertoires of aesthetic discrimination which may have inactive as well as active dimensions. The inactive facets of a reader's repertoire, it is argued, may still exert important influences on the shaping and articulation of preferences and associations. -- Related to issues of methodological design, including the use of printed and electronic Chinese and English language questionnaires, face-to-face interviews and e-mail correspondence, the readership sample is comprised primarily of men and women who have achieved or are pursuing some level of post-secondary or postgraduate education. Trends in readers' affinities and/or aversions to particular genres, as well as their uses of fiction - whether they read for escape or instruction, for example - are considered, as are such concepts as fan culture, reader identification with characters or other aspects of the narrative and the phenomenon of addictive reading styles. This pattern of consumption is explored with particular reference to Chinese martial arts fiction, which as a genre is given the most detailed treatment, followed by romance and detective fiction. In addition to readers' conceptions of the process of reading itself and their perceptions of the various traditions which inform their favourite contemporary novels, this work also looks at the importance of conversation in readers' experiences, as well as some of the interactions between gender and genre, especially with regard to the intentional transgression and renegotiation of the boundaries of traditionally "masculine" or "feminine" fiction.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 9431
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 241-261.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Folklore
Date: 1998
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Chinese fiction--History and criticism; Martial arts fiction, Chinese; Popular literature--History and criticism

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