The label popular fiction has been used, together with terms such as “popular literature” and “paraliterature”, to refer to texts perceived as less “worthy” than other texts that have the official approval of the cultural establishment, and which are considered part of the “serious” Literature, with a capital L (see Literary translation). Popular fiction is also often equated to “genre fiction” (Murphy 2018: 5), that is texts usually having a formulaic nature and which rely on standardized characters and plots, belonging to genres such as detective stories, science fiction, romance and comedy. Given the high sales figures which typically characterize popular fiction, translated and not, the term has also been used as a synonym of “mass-market literature” and “bestsellers”. It has been noted, however, that “literary”, rather than “popular”, novels can also be bestsellers (Gelder 2004: 13), and classic literature can also, in fact, be translated for the mass market (Milton 2001).
1998 “The Translation Turn in Cultural Studies.” In Constructing Cultures: Essays on Literary Translation, ed. by Susan Bassnett and André Lefevere, 123–40. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
2009 “Popular Literature in Hebrew as a Marker of Anti-Sabra Culture.” Translation Studies 2 (2): 178–95. .
2018 “Dangerous Visions? The Circulation and Translation of Women’s Crime Fiction and Science Fiction.” Perspectives 26 (6): 901–15. .
Bianchi, Diana, and Federico Zanettin
2018 “ ‘Under Surveillance’. An Introduction to Popular Fiction in Translation.” Perspectives 26 (6): 793–808. .
Bolter, Jay David, and Richard Grusin
1999Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
2018 “Translating Popular Fiction.” In Routledge Handbook of Translation and Culture, ed. by Sue-Ann Harding and Ovidi Carbonell i Cortés, 431–44. London: Routledge.
2018 “From Antiheroes to New Realism: French and Italian Crime Fiction in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Century.” Perspectives 26 (6): 809–23. .
2004Popular Fiction. The Logics and Practices of a Literary Field. London: Routledge.
2018 “Fictional Representations.” In A History of Modern Translation Knowledge, ed. by Lieven D’hulst and Yves Gambier, 51–56. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Merkle, Denise, Carol O’Sullivan, Luc van Doorslaer, and Michaela Wolf
2010 “Exploring a Neglected Century: Translation and Censorship in Nineteenth-Century Europe.” In The Power of the Pen: Translation and Censorship in Nineteenth-Century Europe, ed. by Denise Merkle, Carol O’Sullivan, Luc van Doorslaer, and Michaela Wolf, 7–26. Vienna: Lit.
2001 “Translating Classic Fiction for Mass Markets.” The Translator 7 (1): 43–69. .
Murphy, Bernice M
2018Key Concepts in Contemporary Popular Fiction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
2018 “Stemming the Flood: The Censorship of Translated Popular Fiction in Fascist Italy.” Perspectives 26 (6): 838–51. .
van Doorslaer, Luc
2020 “Translation Studies: What’s in a Name?” Asia Pacific Translation and Intercultural Studies 7 (2): 139–50. .
1991 “Translation of Prose Fiction from English to Hebrew: A Function of Norms (1960s and 1970s).” In Translation: Theory and Practice, Tension and Interdependence, ed. by Mildred L. Larson, 206–223. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
2017 “Translation, Censorship and the Development of European Comics Cultures.” Perspectives 26 (6): 868–84. .
Zlatnar Moe, Marija, and Tanja Žigon
2016 “Comparing National Images in Translations of Popular Fiction.” In Interconnecting Translation Studies and Imagology, ed. by Luc van Doorslaer, Peter Flynn, and Joep Leerssen, 145–62. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Further essential reading
2003Cultural Studies. Theory and Practice. Second edition. London: Sage.
2019 “Prose fiction.” In Routledge Handbook of Literary Translation, ed. by Kelly Washbourne and Ben Van Wyke, 206–219. London: Routledge.
Hopkinson, Amanda and Karen Seago
2019 “Crime fiction.” In Routledge Handbook of Literary Translation, ed. by Kelly Washbourne and Ben Van Wyke 220–239. London: Routledge.