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This might make you laugh, but Oprah changed the world of literature beginning in 1996 with her "book club." Her selections rocketed to the top of the best seller lists. I believe she largely chose fiction...and often somewhat depressing themes. But I don't think anyone doubts the fact that she changed literature, encouraging millions to buy and read books that they may never have considered otherwise.
In the realm of literature, pop fiction was king. Topping the bestseller lists were usually names like Tom Clancy (military novels), John Grisham (legal thrillers), and Stephen King (horror and psychological thrillers). Along with these authors, romance novelists like Danielle Steele and Nicholas Sparks made their mark.
Art: The nineties was a time for reflection and retrospection. Many artists began adopting styles used by prior masters -- Picasso, Van Gogh, and Da Vinci, to name just a few. Art of this decade, even contemporary art, smacked of art from times past.
Theater: Crowds flocked to see productions of Les Miserables, Cats, and Phantom of the Opera, in addition to other popular plays of this era. Theater of the nineties became more comfortable with previously taboo themes like homosexuality (see: The Birdcage).
Overall, culture of the nineties was a broad and eclectic mixture of past cultures sprinkled with the novelty of future ideas yet to be born.
Literature, art and theater cover a very wide field. And then there are so many different countries and so many different groups of persons such as teenagers, young people, common people, intellectuals, and pseudo-intellectuals. I think it is not possible to have a meaningful comprehensive list applicable to all or even most of the regions, or even big country like USA or India and valid for all the interest groups. So instead of trying to give a comprehensive view I am just giving two observation made by me.
India painters including the living ones as well as those from nineteenth and early twentieth century started receiving much more recognition than they had received earlier.
Publication of first Harry Potter novel in 1997, and the other novels in the series, created records of popularity that are unmatched by any work of fiction in recent times.
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