I've been reading Don Quixote in fits and starts, and just got to the scene in chapter 6 where Quixote's friends toss all his books of chivalry into the yard to be burned.
And it occurs to me that, although the scene is funny, it invites the reader to sympathize with book-burners and to rail against pop culture, two things that I'm a little reluctant to do.
(I'm imagining the modern equivalent might be a scene in which a vampire-LARPer's friends decide to burn his whole collection of vampire books, with droll commentary on each one as they consign it to the flames.)
Anyway, it also brought to mind Northanger Abbey, which I can't believe I've never written an actual entry about. No time to do so now; short version is that it's my second-favorite Austen novel, after P&P. And it's all about the dangers of reading too much popular fiction. One of the things I like about it is how much fun it has with that idea; Catherine seems to me to be recognizably a Fan, and the book seemed to me an excellent portrayal of early Fandom.
So now I'm wondering: what other well-known now-classic books took as a main theme the criticism of popular fiction and its readers?
The Rivals has some of that, though iIrc it's a little bit less the main idea than in Quixote and Northanger Abbey. (But it's been a long time since I saw or read that play, so I could be wrong.)
Not thinking of others offhand, but I'm sure they exist. Anyone?