By D. Strinati

This advent to well known media tradition in Britain discusses the ways that pop culture might be studied, understood and favored, and covers its key analytical matters and a few of its most crucial methods.

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Additional resources for Come on Down?: The Politics of Popular Media Culture in Post-War Britain

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The kinds of fiction directed at the new found market of women readers by no means endorsed the stay-at-home ideologies of the women’s magazines of the early 1950s. A recurrent bestselling author, both during and for many years after the war, was Monica Dickens, whose work was (and still is) repeatedly reprinted in hard and paper covers. Her best known books are all accounts of working as a woman: One Pair of Hands (1939), One Pair of Feet (1942) and My Turn to Make the Tea (1951) were, respectively, accounts of her work as a cook-housekeeper, a nurse and as a journalist.

Sales figures are inevitably an underestimation of the number of the readers for each copy of a popular novel. None the less, as Ken Worpole points out, ‘Publishing in Britain, so long thought of as a cottage industry located in Bloomsbury, is now a billion pound business’ (1984: chap. 1), and has become the largest manufacturing centre in London. Within this industry, fiction is the largest and most commercially successful category. In a 1982 survey of consumption, 45 per cent of respondents said that they were reading a book, and of those, two-thirds were reading fiction.

As the head of Harrap noted: ‘It has become abundantly clear that more than threequarters of the picture covered paperbacks are being sold outside the bookshops’ (quoted in Greenfield 1989:232). And it is clear from the sales sites for the marketing of books in corner shops that this new market for fiction was seen to consist of women. In 1948, Penguin entered into an agreement with Chatto & Windus, Faber, Hamish Hamilton, Heinemann and Michael Joseph to publish their hardcover titles in paperback under a joint imprint, and thus established itself as a major distributor for paper-covered fiction.

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