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A Dove Grey Renaissance

Persephone Books and the neglected ‘middlebrow’

In: Logos
Author: Sarah Bennett
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Abstract

Launched in 1999, at a time of radical change for the publishing industry, Persephone Books has become a successful independent publisher of neglected female authors mainly from the 20th-century inter-war period. Publishing being an industry primarily shaped by the differential distribution of symbolic and economic capital (Bourdieu, ‘The Market for Symbolic Goods’, in The Rules of Art, Polity Press, 1996, p. 9), competing principles of cultural legitimacy within an increasingly commercial climate clarify the position of modern publishing at the intersection of culture and commerce (Bourdieu, The Field of Cultural Production, Columbia University Press, 1993, p. 27). This article explores how Persephone Books’ understated assertion of publishing’s ‘middle ground’ and commitment to the historically reviled ‘middlebrow’ genre have reconciled the perennial tension between culture and commerce to create a thriving yet unintentional publishing brand.

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