Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Melinda Knight

Committee Member

Laura Nicosia

Committee Member

David Galef


This paper takes on the practice of fan fiction by introducing its origins, exploring the concept of it being recognized as a part of “real literature”—while also determining what makes real literature—as well as comparing literary retellings to fan fiction and questioning what makes distinguishes them from one another. The influence that fan fiction already has garnered within popular culture will also be explored, as well as the role fan fiction plays within fandoms.

By examining at primary texts such as E. L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey, Anna Todd’s After, and the popular fanfic known as Heat Waves, this thesis will analyze the reach of specific kinds of fan fiction and the way they are received within their own fandoms and in popular culture. Additionally, specific studies conducted by Bronwen Thomas, Judith May Fathallah, and others will explore the significance of fandom communities, why fan fiction is considered a cultural phenomenon, and its status as “real literature” in terms of the impact, either positive or negative, it may have on consumers like any published literary work would.

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