Crossover Literature

Crossover is a somewhat slippery term, as it is used with a different meaning in a variety of fields. None of the main entries in the OED, where the word is spelled with a hyphen, refer to literature or to any other art form; rather, they refer to textiles, women’s clothing, railway lines, river currents, and biology. While the final definition of cross-over, “that crosses over; characterized by crossing over,” allows for applications to literature and other arts, the exemplary quotations are limited to fashion and politics. It is not until a draft addition of December 2006 that the arts are mentioned in a meaning originating in the US, where, since the 1970s, crossover has been used to refer to music that finds appeal beyond its niche market with a “different (esp. a wider) audience.” In the field of children’s literature, the term refers specifically to texts that cross age boundaries. As in music, the word is used both as an adjective and a noun that can refer to either “the process or phenomenon” or “a piece… which undergoes this process” (OED). The etymology of the word from the verbal phrase to cross over explains the lexical tensions of a...

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