Novels, Novelists, and Readers

Toward a Phenomenological Sociology of Literature

By Mary F. Rogers

Subjects: Literary Criticism
Series: SUNY series in the Sociology of Culture
Paperback : 9780791406038, 324 pages, July 1991
Hardcover : 9780791406021, 324 pages, July 1991

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents


1. The World of Literature

2. Self-experiences and Novel Making

3. Novel Making and the World of Everyday Life

4. Novels and Everyday Life

5. The Uses of Privacy

6. Readers' Self-experiences

7. Novel Making, Novel Reading, and Literary Interaction

8. Literary Socialization

9. The Business of Literature

10. The Art of Social Worlds and the Science of Social Worlds

11. The Fictive

Appendix: Additional Novels in the Sample



Proper Name Index

Subject Index


Focusing on British and American novels, Rogers takes a sociological look at the business of literature, the book industry, and the experiences of novelists and readers. Viewing the novel as a vehicle of cultural meaning, the author shows how the literary canon overlooks substantial similarities among novels in favor of restrictive codes based on social as well as literary considerations. She emphasizes the kinship between the social sciences and humanities in her analysis, by reinvigorating affection for the novel and also establishing its rich cultural significance.

Mary F. Rogers is Professor of Sociology at The University of West Florida.


"This is one of the most ambitious works in the sociology of literature that I have recently seen. It asks big questions and the author is not afraid to do the kind of intensive and extensive reading and thinking necessary to answer those questions. This is the first book I have seen that uses a phenomenological perspective to ask about novels, readers, authors, the act of reading, and the publishing industry. " — Gaye Tuchman, City University of New York

"Novels, Novelists, and Readers is a substantial undertaking, resting upon a data base of English-American fiction which Rogers treats with a most keen reading eye. This literature is situated within the social history of publishing and criticism, a history which Rogers uses to support her points about the social nature of literature, the evolution of and perception of genres, and the role of the female author. She also utilized the most recent work in the sociology of culture to both illuminate her analysis and to locate the sociology of culture within the present dilemma of sociology's search for a distinctive identity. " — Charles R. Simpson, State University of New York, Plattsburgh

"The book is unusual in the detailed way in which the various classes of readers are put together with the various types of literature. It shows a superior knowledge of literature and readers and the connection between them. " — Arnold Foster, State University of New York, Albany