Towards an Alternative Canon: Demystifying the Academia’s War against Popular Literature

Raj Das


Popular literature has always had a chequered relationship with the academia. On one hand, readers across all spectrums have enjoyed and admired the formidable works of ‘highbrow’ fiction. Yet, all along, there has always been an urge to read lighter works which are all too often given the pejorative sobriquet of ‘lowbrow’ books. The academia thrives on creating canons, that sanctum sanctorum of texts and works of literature whose greatness and legacy remain intact and can never be called into question. This is cleverly done through the creation of the academic syllabus, a process that sifts the highbrow from the lowbrow. Recently however, texts which had hitherto been marginalised and relegated to the periphery are slowly making their way into the centre (canon). Such fictions are continually compelling the academia to reassess their criterion of greatness. This paper aims to defend popular literature and to ascertain why it is important to assimilate such works into the mainstream.

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