Historical Social Research

C. Clayton Childress,Evolutions in the Literary Field: The Co-Constitutive Forces of Institutions, Cognitions, and Networks [Abstract]

Using the case-study of Odyssey Editions, an e-book publishing imprint created by literary agent Andrew Wylie, this work examines recent developments in the U.S. literary field. In lieu of a technologically deterministic focus on the effects of digital transitions within the book industry, the evolution of relations within the field’s interdependent network structure, shifts in cognitive approaches to tasks and roles, and field-wide institutional orientations toward “blockbuster” texts and “brand-name” authors are highlighted. These three co-constitutive forces have created structural holes within the literary field that entrepreneurial players such as Wylie have worked to fill.