sociology of literature

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A branch of literary study that examines the relationships between literary works and their social contexts, including patterns of literacy, kinds of audience, modes of publication and dramatic presentation, and the social class positions of authors and readers. Originating in 19th‐century France with works by Mme de Staël and Hippolyte Taine, the sociology of literature was revived in the English‐speaking world with the appearance of such studies as Raymond Williams's The Long Revolution (1961), and is most often associated with Marxist approaches to cultural analysis.

Subjects: Literature.

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