Clayton Childress, “Under the Cover: The Creation, Production, and Reception of a Novel” (Princeton UP, 2017)
How does a book come into being?
In Under the Cover: The Creation, Production, and Reception of a Novel (Princeton University Press, 2017), Clayton Childress, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at The University of Toronto, accounts for the social processes behind the contemporary novel. The book uses a case study of Jarrettsville, a work of historical fiction, to explore the processes of creation, production, and reception for the book. Drawing on, but also extending and developing, field theory, the book challenges the usual perception of a lone authorial genius with a detailed sociological picture of how a novel is made. The book offers rich empirical material, from quantitative analysis of inequalities in publishing, through readers’ responses to the novel and insider knowledge from agents and editors, to ethnographic reflections on the social setting for authorial work. The book is a fascinating and accessible read for anyone interested in contemporary culture. The first chapter is available for as a preview here.
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