Evangelists of culture: One Book programs and the agents who define literature, shape tastes, and reproduce regionalism

Wendy Griswold*, Hannah Wohl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

The evangelists of culture are mid-level professionals who engage directly with the public. Sociological theories of cultural authority or popular demand fail to explain decisions made at this juncture. An analysis of 3110 selections made by 567 One Book programs, together with interviews with One Book program leaders from all 50 states, reveals that while those people working on the front line of culture both share the literary tastes of cultural authorities and recognize contemporary reader preferences, their choices do not reflect either. Instead, their selections are creative, the product of institutional needs, professional agendas, and a persistent tropism toward regional authors and themes. One Book programs perpetuate a culture of place - literary regionalism - that resists both elite tastes and market forces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-109
Number of pages14
JournalPoetics
Volume50
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

Keywords

  • Cultural authority
  • Cultural intermediaries
  • Literature
  • One Book programs
  • Reading
  • Regionalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Evangelists of culture: One Book programs and the agents who define literature, shape tastes, and reproduce regionalism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this