Popular Culture Review 29.1 (Spring 2018) - Page 163

The second chapter examines the anticipatory moves to stay afloat during a significant shift in literary tradition; using Conrad’s Lord Jim (1899), Belk highlights the ways in which Conrad acknowledges the “widespread cultural currency of a robust and multifaceted literary tradition” by drawing on conventions of adventure stories derived from adventures at sea, travel books, diaries, captivity narratives, and discover journals from the previous two centuries (8). Chapter three considers the significant shift in adventure fiction during the first decades of the twentieth century, noting its unevenness and the adjustments made in H.G. Wells’s Tono- Bungay series for the shifting audience. This chapter presents a compelling argument for reading the turn of the century adventure story alongside contemporary advertisements for holiday cruises, tour packages, and deluxe travel itineraries (9). The fourth chapter presents a fantastic examination of Conan Doyle’s essays on photography and The Lost World (1912), highlighting the ways commercial and professional relationships between print and competing forms of popular media influenced new media technologies. Belk argues that Doyle skillfully appropriates photography in the popular illustrated magazine as a form of “proof and documentary evidence” that allowed him to create new adventures of escape and transgression (10). Doyle’s use of cutting edge cinema technology in 1922 is a fascinating example of the innovative relationships between popular print publishing and emerging technologies, and heralded the wealth of possibilities for visually enhancing narratives to keep the public informed and entertained (130, 133). The final chapter examines the convergence of modern media; Belk uses John Buchan’s spy novels to highlight the necessary professional command of literary agency, publishing, and authorship a writer needed to navigate the threat of new media successfully (11). Attention to the differences in British and American pulp trends underscores the complex understanding of audience appeal across national lines. Overall, the chapters provide a compelling and insightful look at the complex and versatile range of adventure fiction during the decades leading up to the First World War. This book does many things well. The rich history of publishers’ active engagement in understanding the expanding base of consumers, catering to a more globally-aware readership, and quick adjustments to stay abreast of the rapidly evolving technology provide a fascinating narrative. As a scholarly text, the meticulous research elucidates connections between several fields: publishing, education, culture, pulp magazines, developing technologies, and news media. Belk connects aspects of leisure 163