A b s t r a k t
This article discusses the concept of the “mainstream” in relation to the old concepts of the canon and the opinion-forming center, as terms which have gradually replaced the more traditional and institutionally justified premises of literary criticism in the public debate. The changes in the meaning of the “literary canon,” inspired by the new pragmatic cultural market and the political transformation in Poland after 1989, have already been discussed in the last twenty years. The concept of the “mainstream” is often treated in literary criticism as a substitute. This article aims to show the difference between the abovementioned terms and the “mainstream,” which may be considered an entity to a greater extent dependent on the network model of communication in a society influenced by factors which shape culture on a “global” basis.