I litteraturens mittfåra. Månadens bok och svensk bokmarknad under 1970-talet
Sammanfattning: The present dissertation, I litteraturens mittfåra, deals with book trade, book clubs, and the fiction prose of the 1970s in Sweden. The background to the study is the radical change in Swedish book trade through a far-reaching deregulation of the trade in 1970. The book clubs expanded from a position where they held a 9% share of the market in 1970 to a market share of 30% in 1980.And the specific aim of the study has been to find out whether or not the subscription book clubs that started during the decade influenced contemporary literature and changed the book trade in general. Månadens bok arouses special interest as it was the most debated of all the book clubs, and through its particular position within the trade demonstrates particular connections between society, the book trade, and literature. The first chapter describes the book trade during the 1970s ? focusing on the publishing houses, the distributors, the sales of books, and on the authors. The second chapter depicts the rise of the book clubs and their growth during the 20th century, and more explicitly the disposition and status of Månadens bok. A third more extensive chapter describes and analyses the 89 Swedish fiction prose that was offered in Månadens bok during the 1970s. The particular aspects discussed are realism, the reception of the particular texts, the prevalent ideology, an inheritance from the documentarist movement, and dominant themes. A fourth chapter briefly deals with the relation between the popular literature that was published and sold during the period and the selection of books that was sold in Månadens bok. The dissertation confirms that the growth of book clubs was a result of social, financial, and political circumstances. It also claims that these clubs became important for the promotion of new literature, and thus for the consecration and canonizing of particular texts and authors. The status in the 1970s of the realistic fiction and authors such as Kerstin Ekman, Sven Delblanc, Lars Gustafsson and P. C. Jersild is closely tied in with the importance of Månadens bok for distributing and marketing their writing. And it can be claimed that the strong position of realistic fiction in Sweden during the 1970s was a result of the book club's emphasis on this kind of literature. The deregulation of the book trade in 1970 marked the beginning of a new era in the Swedish trade, and the dramatic development that followed gave rise to many new phenomena, of which the book clubs appear to have been the most significant one.
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