Singapore University of Social Sciences

Popular Fiction and Culture

Popular Fiction and Culture (ELT375)


ELT375 Popular Fiction and Culture explores the history, forms and role of popular fiction in popular culture. It provides a critical introduction to key concepts and approaches to popular literature studies: debates about the value of popular literature, issues of cultural production, literary taste, readership and reception. The course looks at the important genres of popular fiction: crime and mystery, romance, horror, fantasy and science fiction. Students will read representative examples of these genres and examine them in their social, cultural, political contexts.

Level: 3
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: EVERY JAN


  • What is popular culture?
  • Literature and popular culture
  • Emergence of popular fiction and mass readership
  • Crime and mystery in detective fiction
  • Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  • Mystery and romance
  • Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca
  • Narratives of horror: Stephen King’s Misery
  • Fantasy and science fiction in popular culture
  • Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  • Nuraliah Norasid’s The Gatekeeper
  • Changes in modes and production of popular fiction.

Learning Outcome

  • Identify characteristic features of key genres of popular fiction.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the historical and cultural production of popular fiction.
  • Evaluate critical issues and approaches in the study of popular fiction.
  • Discuss the social, historical and cultural contexts of works of popular fiction.
  • Examine the stylistic features and treatment of issues in popular fiction genres through close reading of texts.
  • Apply research skills and critical methods to discuss works of popular fiction.
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