Popular Culture – Serial Culture
Nineteenth-Century Serial Fictions in Transnational Perspective, 1830s-1860s
University of Siegen, April 28-30, 2016
North American Literary and Cultural StudiesRecent publications such as Transnationalism and American Serial Fiction (Okker 2011) and Serialization in Popular Culture (Allen/van den Berg 2014) remind us that serial modes of storytelling, publication, and reception have been among the driving forces of modern culture since the first half of the nineteenth century. Indeed, as studies of Victorian serial fiction, the French feuilleton novel, and American magazine fiction indicate, much of what we take for granted as central features of contemporary serial fictions traces back to a particular period in the nineteenth century between the 1830s and the 1860s. This is the time when new printing techniques allowed for the mass publication of affordable reading materials, when literary authorship became a viable profession, when reading for pleasure became a popular pastime for increasingly literate and socially diverse audiences, and when previously predominantly national print markets became thoroughly international.