Description

This trans-disciplinary thesis questions how theories of generification are useful in clarifying misunderstood literature and the role of similar, f¬¬ormulaic narratives in literary business. It attempts to answer the question

This trans-disciplinary thesis questions how theories of generification are useful in clarifying misunderstood literature and the role of similar, f¬¬ormulaic narratives in literary business. It attempts to answer the question through four parts: defining generification and related business marketing topics; a literary case study centering on Frankenstein; a second case study on the poem “The Road Not Taken”; and, an application of the demonstrated ideas to Young Adult (YA) publishing trends of 2005-2015. The first section concludes that the presence of a formula, created through the theories of heroic journeys and archetypes, lends itself to generification in literary marketing as publishing houses attempt to find the next virally successful narrative. The first case study, focused on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, establishes the existence of generification throughout the work’s life, attributing the generification to her characterization of both Doctor and Creature as antiheroes, a purposeful overlap leading to centuries of misinterpretation. The second case study centers around Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken”, concluding that in this situation generification greatly impacted both the legacy of the work and the image of the author. The section examines the role of Americanization in the confabulation of both the poem and the author, proving that the butchered interpretation greatly damages the reading of the poem. Finally, this paper takes the established concept of generification, along with related ideas such as narrative economics and formula fiction, and applies these ideas to an analysis of the YA publishing industry. It concludes that the simple existence of fandom culture creates a paradox: the fandom demands a constant stream of quality narratives, both inciting and rejecting any purposeful generification attempted on the part of the publishers.

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