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Selling Stories and Consuming Culture : The Connection between Literature and Marketing in Max Barry's Syrup (1999) and Jennifer Government (2003)


  • Chloe Guenther

Summary, in English

Literature and marketing are closely connected. This statement might be considered surprising. This thesis, however, aims to explore this connection by applying an interdisciplinary approach anchored in both marketing and literary theory. The multifaceted nature of the relationship between the fields can be discussed from various angles. The novels Syrup (1999) and Jennifer Government (2003) by Australian author Max Barry constitute the center of the analysis, which begins with a discussion of books as consumer products – including an examination of the novels’ paratext as product packaging. With the help of marketing theories such as content marketing, personal branding and guerrilla marketing, both books are then discussed in more detail, highlighting Barry’s criticism of consumer culture as expressed through his fiction. Individuals and their struggle against mass culture, corporations as representations of marketing’s influence on culture and the use of literary techniques for promotional purposes are major themes in both novels. As examples of postmodern fiction, the texts are linked to the subgenres of blank fiction and cyberpunk, which puts the novels and the issues they raise in a point of transition between genres and in between the twentieth and twenty-first century.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (two years)


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Contemporary Literature
  • Marketing
  • Branding
  • Advertising
  • Blank Fiction
  • Max Barry
  • Syrup
  • Jennifer Government


  • Ellen Turner