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For a type of boiler, see pot boiler.

A potboiler or pot-boiler is a low-quality novel, play, opera, film, or other creative work whose main purpose was to pay for the creator's daily expenses—thus the imagery of "boil the pot",[1] which means "to provide one's livelihood".[2] Authors who create potboiler novels or screenplays are sometimes called hack writers or hacks. Novels deemed to be potboilers may also be called pulp fiction, and potboiler films may be called "popcorn movies."

Etymology and usage[edit]

High culture[edit]

"In the more elevated arenas of artistry such a motive...was considered deeply demeaning."[3] If a serious playwright or novelist's creation is deemed a potboiler, this has a negative connotation that suggests that it is a mediocre or inferior-quality work.

Historical usages[edit]

See also[edit]

Sources and notes[edit]

  1. ^ http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=potboiler&sub=Search+WordNet&o2=&o0=1&o8=1&o1=1&o7=&o5=&o9=&o6=&o3=&o4=&h=[dead link]
  2. ^ The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (Fourth ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 2000. ISBN 0-395-82517-2. 
  3. ^ a b http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-pot1.htm "Potboiler" at World Wide Words
  4. ^ Cohen, Morton; Green, Roger, eds. (1979). The Letters of Lewis Carroll. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 397. ISBN 0-19-520090-X. 
  5. ^ Mohs, Mayo; J. Madeleine Nash (12 July 1982). "Books: The Luck of Andrew Greeley". Time. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  6. ^ Kinzer, Stephen (19 April 1998). "Traveling Companions". New York Times. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  7. ^ Dziemianowicz, Stefan (6 October 2003). "From Splatterpunk to Bullets: PW Talks with David Schow". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 

Further reading[edit]