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Book Talk on “Big Fiction: How Conglomeration Changed the Publishing Industry and American Literature”

In the late 1950s, Random House editor Jason Epstein would talk jazz with Ralph Ellison or chat with Andy Warhol while pouring drinks in his office. By the 1970s, editors were poring over profit-and-loss statements. What happened? The electronics company RCA had bought Random House in 1965. Other large corporations followed suit, purchasing formerly independent publishers. As multinational conglomerates consolidated the industry, the business of literature – and literature itself – transformed.

In his book “Big Fiction: How Conglomeration Changed the Publishing Industry and American Literature”, literary scholar Dan Sinykin explores how changes in the publishing industry have affected fiction and the literary form, and what it means to be an author. Offering an inside look into the industry’s daily routines, personal dramas, and institutional crises, he reveals how conglomeration shaped what kinds of books have been written and which writers have been published since the 1970s. The event is open to the public and will be in English. The audience is welcome to ask questions in German.

Big Fiction: How Conglomeration Changed
the Publishing Industry and American Literature.
Featuring author Dan Sinykin (Emory University)
Moderation: Nathan Taylor (Frankfurt Humanities Research Centre)
June 18, 2024, 18:15, Eisenhower Hall,
IG-Farben-Haus, Westend Campus, Goethe University Frankfurt

Dan Sinykin is assistant professor of English at Emory University. He is the author of American Literature and the Long Downturn: Neoliberal Apocalypse (2020). His essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among others.

Book Talks is a series organized by the Frankfurt Humanities Research Centre. The next book talk will take place on July 4, at 6 pm. At the event, Vinzenz Hediger and Thomas Helbig will be discussing Jean Luc-Godard.

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