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Under the Cover Clayton Childress

Under the Cover By Clayton Childress

Under the Cover by Clayton Childress

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Under the Cover Summary

Under the Cover: The Creation, Production, and Reception of a Novel by Clayton Childress

Under the Cover follows the life trajectory of a single work of fiction from its initial inspiration to its reception by reviewers and readers. The subject is Jarrettsville, a historical novel by Cornelia Nixon, which was published in 2009 and based on an actual murder committed by an ancestor of Nixon's in the postbellum South. Clayton Childress takes you behind the scenes to examine how Jarrettsville was shepherded across three interdependent fields--authoring, publishing, and reading--and how it was transformed by its journey. Along the way, he covers all aspects of the life of a book, including the author's creative process, the role of the literary agent, how editors decide which books to acquire, how publishers build lists and distinguish themselves from other publishers, how they sell a book to stores and publicize it, and how authors choose their next projects. Childress looks at how books get selected for the front tables in bookstores, why reviewers and readers can draw such different meanings from the same novel, and how book groups across the country make sense of a novel and what it means to them. Drawing on original survey data, in-depth interviews, and groundbreaking ethnographic fieldwork, Under the Cover reveals how decisions are made, inequalities are reproduced, and novels are built to travel in the creation, production, and consumption of culture.

Under the Cover Reviews

Co-Winner of the 2018 Mary Douglas Prize for Best Book, Sociology of Culture Section of the American Sociological Association
Under the Cover is well-plotted, making use of the kind of narrative device--a three-act structure, revealing details, even cliff-hangers--one might find in an actual novel, all of which is underpinned by insightful observations of the many writers, agents, editors, publishers, booksellers, readers and others Childress studies. . . . An engaging story about the interface of the word and the world.---Megan Marz, Times Literary Supplement
Written with great love, accuracy, attention for every little detail, it is extremely clear in the exposition of the various steps of the creation of a book it's a great reading, captivating and interesting! Intriguing from the beginning to the end, this book can't be put down for a second.---Anna Maria Polidori, Alfemminile
In this excellent contribution to the study of literature and of the sociology of culture, Childress situates a specific cultural object--Cornelia Nixon's novel Jarrettsville (2009)--within the many contexts responsible for its birth and integration into the social fabric. In so doing, he reasserts the social nature of cultural products, a claim at the cornerstone of sociology as a discipline. . . . This work is interesting as a study of the evolving role of literature in modern life, and sociologists will learn from its unique approach to analyzing cultural products. * Choice *
Even someone who is part of the publishing system as an author is unaware of how the soup is made, and there can be no more fascinating, enjoyable, insightful, and well-written a guide to what goes on in the publishing kitchen than Clayton Childress' wonderful Under the Cover.---Mitchell Abidor, Jewish Currents
Under the Cover is a significant contribution to work on cultural objects. Readers, prepared to be bowled over by the wealth of data Childress collected and the depth of his analyses. I certainly was. If you know you've read a good book when you're jealous that you didn't write it yourself, then color me green. To sum up, permit me to poach the words of Ayelet Waldman: 'This is a fucking AWESOME book.'---Terence E. McDonnell, Social Forces
It is to Childress's credit that Under the Cover does not announce itself as a program for the study of culture; such claims are more persuasive as demonstrations rather than pronouncements. Those who are open to the demonstration will note that in the guise of a lucid, lively study of a single novel, Under the Cover points the way to an arduous but richly rewarding approach to studying cultural life in general.---Ben Merriman, American Journal of Sociology
This beautifully written and deeply insightful book does just what its title indicates: it gets 'under the cover'of a historical literary novel and follows it through its full life cycle, from inception to birth and beyond.---Heather Haveman, Administrative Science Quarterly

About Clayton Childress

Clayton Childress is assistant professor of sociology at the University of Toronto.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction: The Estrangement of Creation, Production, and Reception 1 I The Field Of Creation 15 2 The Structure of Creativity: Or, Why Jarrettsville Almost Wasn't Called Jarrettsville 17 3 Authorial Careers: Or, How $6,000 Becomes a Middle-Class Income 37 II From Creation To Production 59 4 Literary Agents and Double Duties: Or, Why an Author's Success Is Out of Her Control 61 III The Field Of Production 83 5 Decision Making, Taste, and Financial Commitment to Culture: Or, Why Counterpoint Press Accepted Jarrettsville after Rejecting It 85 6 Industry Structure and the Position and Disposition of Publishers: Or, How Some of the End of Jarrettsville Quite Literally Became the Beginning 107 7 Storytelling and Mythmaking: Or, How a One-Sentence Email Nearly Doubled a Print Run 127 IV From Production To Reception 151 8 Retailers and Reviewers: Or, How Being Placed on the Front Table Could Have Tanked Jarrettsville 153 V The Field Of Reception 183 9 Reading Life into Novels: Or, Why a Misanthropic Thug May Not Be All Bad 185 10 Reading Novels into Life: Or, How a Story about the Past Became a Story about the Present 205 VI Connecting The Circuit 223 11 Conclusion: Reconnecting Creation, Production, and Reception 225 Methodological Appendix: From There to Here 245 Acknowledgments 255 Notes 259 References 283 Index 299

Additional information

Under the Cover: The Creation, Production, and Reception of a Novel by Clayton Childress
Used - Very Good
Princeton University Press
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us

Customer Reviews - Under the Cover