From one angle we get How Fiction Works, a book I've only read about half of, and whose title seems overoptimistic. Still, it gives some history of where we got our ideas about what literature ought to be-- for example, that there should be highly detailed visual description, or that characters should change in the course of the book, and offers evidence of highly esteemed fiction which doesn't follow the rules.
From another angle, there's the popular idea of literary fiction-- a pseudo-story of elaborately description of nothing happening. I think it's only in recent years, maybe a decade or so, that the stereotype came to include an adulterous male professor as the main character. I've heard that no literary fiction featuring that main character has been found,
Anyone know of research on the popular idea of literary fiction?
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