|History and lists|
While Ian Watt in The Rise of the Novel (1957) suggests that the novel came into being in the early 18th century, the genre has also been described as "a continuous and comprehensive history of about two thousand years", with historical roots in Classical Greece and Rome, medieval, early modern romance, and in the tradition of the novella. The latter, an Italian word used to describe short stories, supplied the present generic English term in the 18th century. Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, is frequently cited as the first significant European novelist of the modern era; the first part of Don Quixote was published in 1605.
While a more precise definition of the genre is difficult, the main elements that critics discuss are: how the narrative, and especially the plot, is constructed; the themes, settings, and characterization; how language is used; and the way that plot, character, and setting relate to reality.
The romance is a related long prose narrative. Walter Scott defined it as "a fictitious narrative in prose or verse; the interest of which turns upon marvellous and uncommon incidents", whereas in the novel "the events are accommodated to the ordinary train of human events and the modern state of society". However, many romances, including the historical romances of Scott, Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights and Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, are also frequently called novels, and Scott describes romance as a "kindred term". Romance, as defined here, should not be confused with the genre fiction love romance or romance novel. Other European languages do not distinguish between romance and novel: "a novel is le roman, der Roman, il romanzo."
- 1 Etymology
- 2 Defining the genre
- 3 History
- 3.1 Early forerunners of the novel
- 3.2 Medieval romance and novella: 1100–1500
- 3.3 Printed books, 1470–1800
- 3.4 The rise of the novel in the 18th century
- 3.5 Romanticism: 1770–1850
- 3.6 The 19th century
- 3.7 Developments in the 20th century and later
- 4 See also
- 5 Notes
- 6 References
- 7 Further reading
The present English (and Spanish) word for a long work of prose fiction derives from the Italian novella for "new", "news", or "short story of something new", itself from the Latin novella, a singular noun use of the neuter plural of novellus, diminutive of novus, meaning "new".[note 1] Most European languages have preserved the term "romance" (as in French, Dutch, Russian, Croatian, Romanian, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian "roman"; German "Roman"; Portuguese "romance" and Italian "romanzo") for extended narratives.
Defining the genre
A novel is a long, fictional narrative which describes intimate human experiences. The novel in the modern era usually makes use of a literary prose style, and the development of the prose novel at this time was encouraged by innovations in printing, and the introduction of cheap paper, in the 15th century.
A fictional narrative
Fictionality is most commonly cited as distinguishing novels from historiography. However this can be a problematic criterion. Throughout the early modern period authors of historical narratives would often include inventions rooted in traditional beliefs in order to embellish a passage of text or add credibility to an opinion. Historians would also invent and compose speeches for didactic purposes. Novels can, on the other hand, depict the social, political and personal realities of a place and period with clarity and detail not found in works of history.
However, up until the 1750s historians were the main critics of the novel and they emphasised its lack of veracity and therefore serious worth, and criticised it for being merely entertainment. Then in the second half of the 18th-century criticism evolved and with Romanticism came the idea that works of fiction could be art.
While prose rather than verse became the standard of the modern novel, the ancestors of the modern European novel include verse epics in the Romance language of southern France, especially those by Chrétien de Troyes (late 12th century), and in Middle English (Geoffrey Chaucer's (c. 1343 – 1400) The Canterbury Tales). Even in the 19th century, fictional narratives in verse, such as Lord Byron's Don Juan (1824), Alexander Pushkin's Yevgeniy Onegin (1833), and Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Aurora Leigh (1856), competed with prose novels. Vikram Seth's The Golden Gate (1986), composed of 590 Onegin stanzas, is a more recent example of the verse novel.
However, in the 15th century, following the invention of printing, prose began to dominate European fiction. This immediately led to the development of a special elevated prose style modelled on Greek and Roman histories, and the traditions of verse narrative. The development of a distinct fictional language was crucial for the genre that aimed at creating works that readers would actually identify, and appreciate, as fiction rather than history.
At the beginning of the 16th century, printing had created a special demand for books that were neither simply published for the non–academic audience nor explicitly scientific literature, but belles-lettres. This included modern history and science in the vernacular, personal memoirs, contemporary political scandal, fiction and poetry. However, prose fiction was soon far more popular than verse, rhetoric and science. Fictional prose, though aiming for stylistic elegance, was closer to everyday language, to personal letters, to the art of "gallant" conversation, and to the personal memoir and travelogue. Pierre Daniel Huet summarised the stylistic ambition of fictional prose accordingly in 1670: "It must be compos'd with Art and Elegance, lest it should appear to be a rude undigested Mass, without Order or Beauty."
By the 18th century, however, English authors began to criticize the French ideals of belles lettres elegance, and a less aristocratic prose style became the ideal for them in the 1740s. When, in the 1760s, it became the norm for the author to open his or her novel with a statement of the work's fictionality, the prose became even more informal.
Media: paper and print
The development of printing technology, along with the availability of paper, changed the situation for prose fiction. Paper allowed the production of cheap books that would not necessarily be read twice, and which could be bought exclusively for private diversion. The new medium produced the modern novel in Europe in the course of the 15th and 16th centuries. The formats duodecimo and octavo, or small quarto in the case of chapbooks, immediately created books which could be read privately at home, or in public, without the support of a table. To read novels in coffee houses, or on journeys, became part of early modern reading culture.
Content: intimate experience
Both in 12th-century Japan and 15th-century Europe, prose fiction created intimate reading situations. On the other hand verse epics, including the Odyssey and Aeneid, had been recited to a select audiences, though this was a more intimate experience than the performance of plays in theaters. The late medieval commercial manuscript production created a market of private books, but it still required the customer to contact the professional copyist with the book a person wanted to have copied, a situation that restricted the development of a more private reading experience. The invention of the printing press, in the 15th century, however, totally altered the situation.
A new world of Individualistic fashion, personal views, intimate feelings, secret anxieties, "conduct" and "gallantry" spread with novels and the associated prose-romance. Love also became a major subject for novels. Pierre Huet, in an early definition of the novel, or romance, noted: "I call them Fictions, to discriminate them from True Histories; and I add, of Love Adventures, because Love ought to be the Principal Subject of Romance." The reader is invited to personally identify emotionally with a novel's characters, whereas historians aim ideally at objectivity.
The novel is today the longest genre of narrative prose fiction, followed by the novella, short story, and flash fiction. However, in the 17th century critics saw the romance as of epic length and the novel as its short rival. A precise definition of the differences in length between these types of fiction, is, however, not possible.
The question how long a novel has to be, in order to be more than a novella, can all the same be of practical importance, as most of the literary awards have developed a ranking system in which length is a criterion.[note 2] The Booker Prize in 2007 created a serious debate with its short-listing of Ian McEwan's 166-page work On Chesil Beach, with some critics stating that McEwan had at best written a novella.[note 3]
The requirement of length has been traditionally connected with the notion that a novel should encompass the "totality of life".
Early forerunners of the novel
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Although early forms of the novel are to be found in a number of places, including classical Rome, 10th– and 11th-century Japan, and Elizabethan England, the European novel is often said to have begun with 'Don Quixote in 1605.
Early works of extended fictional prose, or novels, include works in Latin like the Satyricon by Petronius (c. 50 AD), and The Golden Ass by Apuleius (c. 150 AD), works in Sanskrit such as the 6th– or 7th-century Daśakumāracarita by Daṇḍin, and in the 7th-century Kadambari by Banabhatta, the 11th-century Japanese Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu, the 12th-century Hayy ibn Yaqdhan (or Philosophus Autodidactus, the 17th-century Latin title) by Ibn Tufail, who wrote in Arabic, the 13th-century Theologus Autodidactus by Ibn al-Nafis, another Arabic novelist, and in Chinese in the 14th-century Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong.
Murasaki Shikibu's Tale of Genji (1010) has been described as the world's first novel and shows essentially all the qualities for which Marie de La Fayette's novel La Princesse de Clèves (1678) has been praised: individuality of perception, an interest in character development, and psychological observation. Urbanization and the spread of printed books in Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD) China led to the evolution of oral storytelling into consciously fictional novels by the Ming dynasty (1368–1644 AD). Parallel European developments did not occur for centuries, and awaited the time when the availability of paper allowed for similar opportunities.
By contrast, Ibn Tufail's Hayy ibn Yaqdhan and Ibn al-Nafis' Theologus Autodidactus are works of didactic philosophy and theology. In this sense, Hayy ibn Yaqdhan would be considered an early example of a philosophical novel, while Theologus Autodidactus would be considered an early theological novel. Hayy ibn Yaqdhan, with its story of a human outcast surviving on an island, is also likely to have influenced Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (1719), because the work was available in an English edition in 1711.
Epic poetry exhibits some similarities with the novel, and the Western tradition of the novel reaches back into the field of verse epics, though again not in an unbroken tradition. The epics of Asia, such as the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh (1300–1000 BC), and Indian epics such as the Ramayana (400 BCE and 200 CE), and Mahabharata (4th century BC) were as unknown in early modern Europe as was the Anglo-Saxon epic of Beowulf (c.750–1000 AD), which was rediscovered in the late 18th century and early 19th century. Other non-European works, such as the Torah, the Koran, and the Bible, are full of stories, and thus have also had a significant influence on the development of prose narratives, and therefore the novel. Classical Greek epics like Homer's Iliad and Odyssey (9th or 8th century BC), and those of Ancient Rome, such as Virgil's Aeneid (29–19 BC), were re-discovered by Western scholars in the Middle Ages. Then at the beginning of the 18th century, French prose translations brought Homer's works to a wider public, who accepted them as forerunners of the novel. [note 4]
Classical Greek and Roman prose narratives [note 5] included a didactic strand, with the philosopher Plato's (c.425-c.348 BC) dialogues; a satirical dimension with Petronius' Satyricon; the incredible stories of Lucian of Samosata; and Lucius Apuleius' proto-picaresque The Golden Ass, as well as the heroic romances of the Greeks Heliodorus and Longus. Longus is the author of the famous Greek novel, Daphnis and Chloe (2nd century A.D.).
Medieval romance and novella: 1100–1500
The European tradition of the novel as the genre of extended prose fiction is rooted in the tradition of medieval "romances". Even today, most European languages make that clear by using the word roman roughly the way that English uses the word novel, which claims roots in the Italian novella. Yet, epic length or the focus on a central hero giving the work its name (as in Robinson Crusoe or Oliver Twist) are features derived from the tradition of "romances". The early modern novel had preferred titles that focused on curious examples of modern life, not on heroes.
The word roman or romance had become a stable generic term by the beginning of the 13th century, as in the Roman de la Rose (c. 1230), famous today in English through Geoffrey Chaucer's late-14th-century translation. The term linked fictions back to the histories that had appeared in the Romance language of 11th- and 12th-century southern France. The central subject matter was initially derived from Roman and Greek historians. Works of the Chanson de geste tradition revived the memory of ancient Thebes, Dido and Aeneas, and Alexander the Great. German and Dutch adaptations of the famous histories appeared in the late 12th century and early 13th century. Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde (1380–87) is a late example of this European fashion.
The subject matter which was to become the central theme of the genre in the 16th and 17th centuries was initially a branch of a broader genre. Arthurian histories became a fashion in the late 12th century, thanks to their ability to glorify the northern European feudal system as an independent cultural achievement. The works of Chrétien de Troyes set an example, in that his plot construction subjected the northern European epic traditions to ancient Greek aesthetics. The typical Arthurian romance would focus on a single hero and lead him into a double course of episodes[note 6] in which he would prove both his prowess as an independent knight and his readiness to function as a perfect courtier under King Arthur. The model invited religious redefinitions with the quest and the adventure as basic plot elements: the quest was a mission the knight would accept as his personal task and problem. Adventures (from Latin advenire "coming towards you") were tests sent by God to the knight on the journey, whose course he (the knight) would no longer try to control. The plot framework survived into the world of modern Hollywood movies which still unite, separate and reunite lovers in the course of adventures designed to prove their love and value. Variations kept the genre alive: unexpected and peculiar adventures surprised the audience in romances like Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (c. 1380). Satirical parodies of knight errantry (and contemporary politics) appeared with works such as Heinrich Wittenwiler's Ring (c. 1410).
The shift from verse to prose dates from the early 13th century. The Prose Lancelot or Vulgate Cycle includes passages of that period. The collection indirectly lead to Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur compilation of the early 1470s.
Certain factors made prose increasingly attractive: it linked the popular plots to the field of serious histories traditionally composed in prose (compilations such as Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur claimed to collect historical sources for the sole purpose of instruction and national edification). Prose had an additional advantage for translation, because verse could only be translated by skilled poets.
Prose became the medium of the urban commercial book market in the 15th century. Monasteries sold edifying collections of saints' and virgins' lives composed in prose. The customers were mostly women (the interiors of many of the 14th- and 15th-century paintings of the Annunciation show how far books had spread into the urban households that painters usually depicted as the Blessed Virgin's bourgeois environment.) Prose became in this environment the medium of silent and private reading. It spread with the commercial book market that began to provide such reading materials even before the arrival of the first commercial printed histories in the 1470s.[note 7]
The term novel refers back to the production of short stories that remained part of a European oral culture of storytelling into the late 19th century. Fairy tales, jokes, little funny stories designed to make a point in a conversation, the exemplum a priest would insert in a sermon belong into this tradition. Written collections of such stories circulated in a wide range of products from practical compilations of examples designed for the use of clerics to such poetic cycles as Boccaccio's Decameron (1354) and Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (1386–1400).
The early modern genre conflict between "novels" and "romances" can be traced back to the 14th-century cycles. The standard scheme of stories the author claimed to have heard in a round of narrators promised variety of subject matter and it led to clashes of genres. Short romances appeared within the frame tales side by side with stories of the rival lower genres such as the fabliaux.[note 8] Individual story tellers would openly defend their tastes in a debate that grew into a metafictional consideration.
The cycles themselves showed advantages over the production of rival extended epic-length romances. Romances presupposed a consensus in questions of style and heroism. The cycles shifted the problem of how fictions were to be justified onto the level of the individual storytellers: onto a level the author, Chaucer or Boccaccio, would see as out of his control. The narrators had, so Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales offered these stories to make certain points in a lively conversation he had only chronicled. They attacked each other if they felt the stories of their opponents had missed their points. A competition among the genres developed. If one believes the medieval collections, differing tastes of people with different social statuses were decisive; the different professions fought a battle over precedent with satirical plots designed to ridicule individuals of the opposing trades. A cycle bound rival stories together and it offered the easiest way to keep a critical distance. The pluralistic discourse created here eventually developed into the 17th- and 18th-century debate of fiction and its genres.
Much of this original conception of the genre is still alive whenever a short joke is told to make a certain humorous point in everyday conversation. The longer exploits left the sphere of oral traditions with the arrival of the printing press. The book eventually replaced the story teller and introduced the preface and the dedication as the paratexts in which the authors would continue the metafictional debate over the advantages of genres and the reasons why one published and read fictional stories.
Printed books, 1470–1800
Looking back to the scope of early modern histories, mentalities seem to differ. The Enlightenment seems to separate the 21st-century observer from early modern authors and readers of histories and fictions. The grossest improbabilities pervade many historical accounts found in the early modern print market. William Caxton's 1485 edition of Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur (1471) was sold as a true history, though the story unfolded in a series of magical incidents and historical improbabilities. Witchcraft pervaded the medieval romance, which no one read as "romance" as long as it claimed to be a central text of Great Britain's national memory. Sir John Mandeville's Voyages, written in the 14th century, circulated in printed editions throughout the 18th century, and was filled with natural wonders like the one-footed Ethiopians who use their extremity as an umbrella against the desert sun—again without becoming the subject of critical historical debates. Both works eventually came to be viewed as works of literature, fiction. The realm of history grew around 1700 into a field of comparatively sober argumentative rather than narrative projects.
One can interpret this development as a sign of gradual enlightenment. It stands at the same moment for a new arrangement of discourses the Western nations established beginning with the 1660s. History became in the Western world a secular platform on which all parties, religions, and institutions agree to settle questions of unresolved responsibilities. Debates of state and religion had a comparable importance until the beginning of the 18th century. A new positioning of the sciences and a general interest of the 19th-century nation states in controllable and pluralistic secular debates stand behind the process that found its breakthrough with the American and the French revolutions and the 19th-century unification of Germany.
The transformation of history from a narrative project designed to instruct and to delight into a platform of open controversies is the one larger process which redefined the place of prose fiction since the Middle Ages. The creation of literature as a compound of poetry and fiction is the other. The modern nations won with literature a second field of essentially pluralistic controversies in which the interpretation and collective appreciation of texts gained a new and wider importance.
Two major incidents fuelled the separation of historical and fictional literature in the 16th and 17th centuries. The invention of printing immediately created a new market of comparatively cheap entertainment and knowledge—the market of chapbooks. The more elegant production 17th- and 18th-century authors would propagate as the belles lettres—a market that would be neither low nor academic—defined its ideals of style in the course of the 17th century. It became the wider sphere in which the modern ensemble of "literary genres" of poetry and fiction gained greater cohesion in the late 18th century. The second major development is fixed to a single title: The Spanish Amadis de Gaula, by García Montalvo became the first best-seller of modern fiction; however, it was not accepted as part of the elegant belles lettres. The Amadis eventually became the archetypical "romance" against which the modern novel unfolded its successful wider pattern of genres in the 17th century.
The invention of printing subjected the existing field of histories, whether allegedly true, romantic or novel, to a process of commercialization. Romances had circulated in lavishly ornamented manuscripts to be read out to audiences. The printed book allowed a comparatively inexpensive alternative for the special purpose of silent reading. Abridgements of ancient historians, popular medieval histories of knights, stories of comical heroes, religious legends, and collections of jests and fables were the principal historical subject matter. Offering suspense and stories the audience could accept as allegedly true, even if they were fantastic and unlikely, the new books reached the households of urban citizens and country merchants who visited the cities as traders.
Literacy spread among the urban populations of Europe due to a number of factors: Women of wealthier households had learned to read in the 14th and 15th centuries and had become customers of religious devotion. The Protestant Reformation enkindled propaganda and press wars that lasted into the 18th century. Broadsheets and newspapers became the new media of public information. The early modern customers would not necessarily be able to write, yet even writing skills spread among apprentices and women of the middle classes. Business owners were forced to adopt methods of written book-keeping and accounting. The personal letter became a favourite medium of communication among 17th-century men and women, as many Dutch period paintings show. The prefaces, the escapist subject matter, and a number of satires on the early consumption of fiction show that cheap histories were especially popular among apprentices and younger urban readers of both sexes. Norris' and Bettesworth's 1719 edition of The Seven Famous Champions of Christendom—itself a mixture of legend and romance—ended with a look at the entire spectrum of books the publishers would provide in their shops on London Bridge, a famous location where those who left the city provided themselves with reading materials:
At the afore-mentioned Place, all Country Chapmen may be furnished with all Sorts of Bibles, Commonprayers, Testaments, Psalters, Primers and Horn-books; Likewise all Sorts of three Sheets Histories, Penny Histories, and Sermons; and Choice of new and old Ballads, at reasonable Rates.
The new market was disregarded by scholars. The texts were offered with promises of great erudition to an audience that would not know to distinguish between erudition and the misleading advertisement. The subject matter was extremely conservative. The bestsellers of this market—books such as Till Eulenspiegel, The Seven Wise Masters, Don Belianis of Greece, Dr. Faustus, The London Prentice, and Sir John Mandeville's Voyages—went through innumerable editions between 1500 and 1800. People bought these books because though they were everything but modern and fashionable, one wanted to have them, because they were the books everyone had heard of, books of an eternal value to be chosen if one was not too sure about one's abilities to judge. The prefaces exploited these insecurities, praising the solid value of the old and well–known titles.
The design of these books deteriorated. The texts were copied without much editorship. Standard woodcut illustrations were repeated, often even within a single book, wherever the plot allowed such repetition. The illustrations began to show peculiar style mixes as the printer's stocks grew: early-18th-century editions of 16th-century titles would mix woodcuts of 16th-century knights in armor with equally crude depictions of 18th-century courtiers wearing wigs.
The early modern market divide that created a field of low chapbooks and an alternative "high" market segment of expensive, fashionable, elegant belles lettres can be traced back into the 1530s and 1540s. The Amadis and Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel were the most important publications that lead into this divide. Both books specifically addressed the new customers of popular histories. The Amadis was a multi–volume fictional history of style, according to the advertisements, and aroused a debate of style and elegance as it fanned the first reading craze on the market of printed fiction. Gargantua and Pantagruel had the design of the modern popular history only to satirize its stylistic achievements. The ensuing debate created a gap between "truly elegant" fiction and the conservative bulk of chapbooks. The market divide became especially visible with books that appeared on both markets in the course of the 17th and 18th centuries: the low market eventually included abridgments of books from Miguel Cervantes' Don Quixote (1605/1615)[note 9] to the mutilations of Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (1719), which infuriated the author with their claim to offer the entire plot without the tedious reflections for but half the price.[note 10]
The cheap abridgments openly addressed an audience that had neither the money nor the courage to buy books with engravings and fine print. The prefaces of the abridgements promised shorter sentences, more action and less reflection, and the title for half the money.[note 11] The gradual differentiation between fact and fiction that affected the market of the belles lettres in the 17th and 18th centuries barely touched the chapbook market. One could wonder whether the apprentices and peasants who read such books cared about the status King Arthur, St. George or Julius Caesar had in the historian's eye. William Caxton's preface to Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur (1485) set the tone that would allow Sir John Mandeville's Voyages of the 1360s to continue to be published as a true account of Eastern wonders until the end of the 18th century.
By the 1550s there existed a section of literature (scientific books) addressing the academic audience and a second market of books for the wider audience. The popular second market developed its own differentiation of class and style. While the lowest strata of chapbooks created an extremely conservative market, its antagonist, the elegant "belles lettres", showed a particular design aiming at educated readers of both sexes, though not necessarily at academics. The very term "belles lettres" spoke of the ambition to leave the field of low books and to reach the realm of the sciences, "literature", "les lettres". Polite literature, galante Wissenschaften (that is sciences addressing both sexes and all readers of taste) were the English and German terminological equivalents. The use of French loan words (belles lettres) marked the international aspect of the development. The new market segment comprised poetry, memoirs, modern politics, books of fashion, journals, and the like. Autobiographical memoirs, personal journals and prose fiction set the trend in the modern field as the genres that authors could most freely use for experiments of style and personal expression.
The evolution of prose fiction needed the elegant market, a market of changing styles and fashions, and it found its central critical debate with the publication of the Amadis de Gaula in the 1530s. Two questions moved into the centre of the debate as Spanish, French and German translations and imitations flooded the European market. The first was a question of style and fashion: the Amadis had moved back into the Arthurian Middle Ages, into a world of quests, knights and adventures, though it had turned its princes and princesses into paragons of style and elegance. Was this what one had to expect of modern prose fiction? The second problem was connected with the unprecedented public reaction: the Amadis became the object of a widespread reading craze. Could a market of style and distinguished taste allow such a development?
By 1600 the Amadis had become the detested epitome of the modern romance. A search for alternative subject matters had begun. The biographies of Greek and Roman historians became the most important source here. Heliodorus' romances were to be followed in matters of style and composition,[note 12] while the heroes turned from knights to princes and princesses acting now in ancient courts. The standard plot of adventures gave way to a new plot of love facing intrigues, attacks, rivalry and adversity. A new art of character observation unfolded.
The works that gained the greatest fame—Honoré d'Urfé's L'Astrée (1607–27), John Barclay's Argenis (1625–26), Madeleine de Scudéry's Clelie, and Anton Ulrich von Braunschweig's Römischer Octavia (Octavia the Roman, 1679–1714)—were esteemed both as explorations of the ancient world and as works one would read with an interest in modern life. They present contemporary events set in ancient times and are examples of roman à clef (readers would decipher with the aid of a key who was who within this fictional world). The contemporary fashions of courtly conduct could be found nowhere in such perfection as in these seemingly historical romances, and readers used them as models for their own elegant compliments, letters, and speeches. The genre had much in common with the production of French and Italian operas of the same period. It created a special brand of escapist "Asian" Romances set in the ancient empires of Assyria, Persia, and India. These novels were particularly fashionable among urban female French and German readers of the younger generation, who would dream of sharing the lives and adversities of exotic princesses. The individual European markets reacted differently on these fashions. The fashion had a particularly short life in England where it began in the 1650s only to end in the 1670s, as these romantic plots fell out of fashion.
Stories of witty cheats were an integral part of the European novella with its tradition of fabliaux. Several collections knitted such stories to individual heroes who developed personal and national features. Germany's Till Eulenspiegel (1510) was the hero of chapbooks in and outside Germany. The Spanish Lazarillo de Tormes (1554) represented a transition from a collection of episodes towards the story of the life of a central character, the hero of the work. Grimmelshausen's Simplicissimus Teutsch (1666–1668) took a further step along this path, as its hero experienced recent world history, in this case the history of the Thirty Years' War that had devastated Germany. Richard Head's The English Rogue (1665) is rooted in this tradition (the English preface mentions the precedents; the German translation that appeared in 1672 sold the book as an English equivalent of the German Simplicissimus). The tradition that developed with these titles focused on a hero and his life. The adventures led to satirical encounters with the real world with the hero either becoming the pitiable victim or the rogue who exploited the vices of those he met.
A second tradition of satirical romances can be traced back to Heinrich Wittenwiler's Ring (c. 1410) and to François Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel (1532–1564). It was rather designed to parody and satirize heroic romances, and did this mostly by dragging them into the low realm of the burlesque. Cervantes' Don Quixote (1606/1615) modified the satire of romances: its hero lost contact with reality by reading too many romances in the Amadisian tradition.
Both branches of satirical production seem to have addressed a predominantly male audience (women are despicable victims in works such as Head's The English Rogue). They found the appreciation of critics as long as they revealed the weaknesses of the Amadis. The critics otherwise deplored that the satires could not offer alternatives. Other important works of the tradition are Paul Scarron's Roman Comique (1651–57) with its explicit discussions of the market of fictions, the anonymous French Rozelli with its satire on Europe's religions, Alain-René Lesage's Gil Blas (1715–1735), Henry Fielding's Joseph Andrews (1742) and Tom Jones (1749), and Denis Diderot's Jacques the Fatalist (1773, printed posthumously in 1796).
The term novel in the 17th century
The term novel has been present on the market since the 16th century. William Painter's Palace of Pleasure well furnished with pleasaunt Histories and excellent Novelles (1566) was the first English title to use it. Compared with "romances"; "novelles", "novellas" or "novels" ("novel" became the standard term in the 1650s) had to be short. The novel also had to give up all aspirations on grandeur, heroism and the style romantic heroes and their actions required. Romances focused on lonely heroes and their adventures, novels on incidents that could serve as examples for moral maxims. The titles of romances incorporated the names of their respective heroes and heroines: "Artamene", "Clelie" were the heroes of "heroic romances". "Satirical romances" did the same with their lower class protagonists. The additional "Adventures of" would later emphasize the focus on acts of heroism. The titles of novels preferred a two-part formula in order to state the value of the incident related and William Congreve's Incognita or Love and Duty Reconcil'd (1692) was typical of this. The protagonists of novels were actors in a plot, and it was the plot that gave the example and taught the vital lessons. These protagonists could be average human beings without any special signs of grandeur, and not comical, but of the same nature as their readers. Unlike romances, the protagonists were not role models but still through their actions taught lessons.
The rise of the novel as the major alternative to the romance began with the publication of Cervantes Novelas Exemplares (1613). It continued with Scarron's Roman Comique (the first part of which appeared in 1651), whose heroes noted a rivalry of French romances and the new Spanish genre.
Late 17th-century critics looked back on the history of prose fiction, proud of the generic shift that had taken place, leading towards the modern novel/novella. A wave of "petites histoires" or "nouvelles historiques" had replaced the old romances. The first perfect works in French were those of Scarron and Madame de La Fayette's "Spanish history" Zayde (1670). The development finally led to her Princesse de Clèves (1678), the first novel with what would become characteristic French subject matter.
Europe witnessed the generic shift in the titles of works in French published in Holland, which supplied the international market. English publishers exploited the novel/romance controversy in the 1670s and 1680s. The word novel began to replace the word romance on title pages in the 1680s. Contemporary critics listed the advantages of the new genre: brevity, a lack of ambition to produce epic poetry in prose; the style was fresh and plain; the focus was on modern life, and on heroes who were neither good nor bad. A reader learned through their actions, not by imitating them. The novel's potential to become the medium of urban gossip and scandal fuelled the rise of the novel/novella. The authors of modern journalistic gossip spiced their works with short anonymous histories. The stories were offered as allegedly true recent histories, not for the sake of scandal but strictly for the moral lessons they gave. To prove this, fictionalized names were used with the true names in a separate key. The Mercure Gallant set the fashion in the 1670s. Collections of letters and memoirs appeared, and were filled with the intriguing new subject matter and the epistolary novel grew from this and led to the first full blown example of scandalous fiction in Aphra Behn's Love-Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister (1684/ 1685/ 1687).
However, Robinson Crusoe (1719), unlike these novels, was a new romance, thanks to its exotic setting and to its singular hero's story of survival in isolation. Furthermore Crusoe lacked almost all the assets of the new novels: wit, a fast narration evolving around a group of young fashionable urban heroes and their intrigues, a scandalous moral, gallant talk to be imitated and brevity and conciseness of the plot. The development did, however, lead to Eliza Haywood's epic length novel, Love in Excess (1719/20) and to Samuel Richardson's Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (1741), with the typical two–part title of a novel, which names the heroine and promises its value as an example.
Dubious and scandalous histories
The entire market of early modern fiction remained part of the wider production of (potentially dubious) histories. A market of literature in the modern sense of the word, a separate market for fiction and poetry, did not exist, because all books were sold under the rubric of "History and politicks" in the early 18th century: pamphlets, memoirs, travel literature, political analysis, serious histories, romances, poetry, and novels.
That fictional histories could share the same space with academic histories and modern journalism had been criticized by historians since the end of the Middle Ages: fictions were "lies" and therefore hardly justifiable at all. The climate had, however, changed in the 1670s. Paradoxically, the same historians who pleaded for a new era of academic research also pleaded for fiction to stay within the field of histories. The authors who advocated Pyrrhonism, scepticism as a historical discipline, did not demand that fictions change. Instead, they demanded that historians should step from the old project of historical narratives to a new project of critical analysis and discussion of sources. Pierre Bayle exemplified this with all the articles of his Dictionnaire Historique et Critique (1697) and with his statements on the legitimacy of fictions, especially those of the modern political market.
The new novels, romances, and dubious histories, the quasi–historical works of Madame d'Aulnoy, César Vichard de Saint-Réal, Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras, and Anne-Marguerite Petit du Noyer, were, according to the modern advocates of the free press, not only embedded in the field of veritable critical histories: they had an important function to fulfill in that field. In a time when factuality was not a sufficient defence against a libel suit, the romantic layout allowed the publication of histories that could not risk an unambiguous assertion of their truth. The question was not whether one should separate the markets of true and fictional histories from each other, but whether one would be able to establish critical discourses to evaluate all the interesting production.
The literary market-place of the late 17th and early 18th century employed a simple pattern of options of how fictions could both be part of the historical production and reach out into the sphere of true histories. They allowed its authors to claim they had published fiction, not truth, if they ever faced outright allegations of libel.
Prefaces and title pages of 17th– and early 18th-century fiction acknowledged this pattern: histories could claim to be romances, but threaten to relate true events, as in the Roman à clef. Other works could, conversely, claim to be factual histories, yet earn the suspicion that they were wholly invented. A further differentiation was made between private and public history: Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe was, within this pattern, neither a "romance" nor a "novel". It smelled—with its title page alluding to Fénelon's Telemachus (1699/1700)—of romance, yet the preface stated that it should most certainly be read a true private history:
IF ever the Story of any private Man's Adventures in the World were worth making Pvblick, and were acceptable when Publish'd, the Editor of this Account thinks this will be so.The Editor believes the thing to be a just History of Fact; neither is there any Appearance of Fiction in it: And however thinks, because all such things are dispatch'd, that the Improvement of it, as well as the Diversion, as to the Instruction of the Reader, will be the same;[note 13] and as such he thinks, without farther Compliment to the World, he does them a great Service in the Publication.
The Wonders of this Man's Life exceed all that (he thinks) is to be found extant; the Life of one Man being scarce capable of a greater Variety.
The Story is told with Modesty, with Seriousness, and with a religious Application of Events to the Uses to which wise Men always ap[p]ly them (viz.) to the Instruction of others by this Example, and to justify and honor the Wisdom of Providence in all the Variety of our Circumstances, let them happen how they will.
Delarivier Manley, under interrogation after the publication of her scandalous Atalantis (1709), replied that she had written a work of sheer romance, a fairy tale located on the famous fictional island. If the ruling Whigs wanted to prove that all her stories matched a scandalous truth of their own actions, they might venture a libel case. The author was released and continued her insinuations with three more volumes of proclaimed romance published during the next two years.
While journalists continued to defend the dubious production (relying on the enlightened audience's ability to read with the necessary grain of skepticism if not with amusement), the defenders of public morals demanded an entirely new organization of the market, one that isolated fiction. This was the market the 18th century was to establish.
The rise of the novel in the 18th century
The idea of the "rise of the novel" in the 18th century is especially associated with Ian Watt's important study The Rise of the Novel (1957).[note 16] Ian Watt puts forward the idea that novel was a "new form" and associates this with the importance placed on realism by novelists such as Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, and Henry Fielding. This theory about the novel in the 18th century led to the suggestion that the earlier Romance forms of long prose narrative were either not novels or were at least inferior. However, others including Margaret Anne Doody disagree that the novel originated in the 18th century, arguing that the history of the novel is over two thousands years old, and that in addition the romance tradition continued through the 18th and 19th centuries and still flourishes today. The idea of the rise of the novel in the 18th century is especially associated with English literary criticism, and most other European languages use the same word for an extended narratives: "roman" in French, Dutch, Russian, Croatian, Romanian, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian; German "Roman"; Portuguese "romance" and Italian "romanzo". Novelist and critic Albert J. Guerard argues, in The Triumph of the Novel (1976), on behalf of the anti-realist "other great tradition" of the novel that includes Rabelais, Cervantes, Pynchon, Borges, García Márquez, the "Joyce of Finnegans Wake and the Nabakov of Ada", and sees Ian Watt's The Rise of the Novel as contributing to a confusion between fiction and "real life", "by its insistence on 'formal realism' as implicit in the novel form in general". Guerard suggests that Watt's book is most useful "for a study of the eighteenth-century novel", but that it "should not be applied to the genre as a whole".
Given these differences in opinion, what happened in the 18th century can best be described, not as the rise of the novel, but the rise of realism in fiction. Indeed this is what Ian Watt sees as distinguishing the novel from earlier prose narratives.
There are several theories for the growth in the importance of realism in the history of the novel. One is the growth in the number of novels published. English readers of the late 17th and early 18th century were offered a total of some 2,000 to 3,000 titles per year. The numbers had risen dramatically after the abolition of the Star Chamber in 1641. The simple title count gives, however, a distorted picture as it equates the sales and influence of theological and political pamphlets with editions of books printed to sell over several years. Statistics of the French and German markets have their own distortions: French numbers are comparatively higher because Dutch publishers printed (or reprinted) French books for the international market. French was Europe's lingua franca and the language of international politics and fashions. Germany's book trade was large but divided between Protestant and Catholic states. The former had arranged for a wider exchange at Leipzig's fairs. The academic production in Latin was comparatively large on the continent due to the importance continental universities had gained as providers of careers.
Literature, as defined now, was of marginal significance in Europe until the end of the 18th century. In the Western markets some 2% to 5% of the total production fell into the categories of poetry and dubious or elegant historical works that were later united under the new heading of "literature". In English, fictional output remained here at 20 to 60 titles per year in the beginning of the 18th century, depending on how one accounts for the wider market of histories. French, German and Dutch statistics are comparable. The eastern and southern European neighbors largely subscribed to the international market.
The Western European output of literature in the modern sense rose significantly in the course of the 18th century; the growth rates stabilised in the 1740s. A change in the public appreciation supported that growth and was reflected by the growing media coverage of new works.
Cultural status and place
By around 1700, fiction was no longer a predominantly aristocratic entertainment. The Provençal 12th-century romances and their imitators had already attracted urban connoisseurs who had had the financial means to commission bigger manuscripts in the 14th and 15th centuries. Printed books had soon gained the power to reach readers of almost all classes, though the reading habits differed and to follow fashions remained a privilege. Spain was a trendsetter into the 1630s but French authors superseded Cervantes, de Quevedo, and Alemán in the 1640s. As Huet was to note in 1670, the change was one of manners.[note 17] The new French works taught a new, on the surface freer, gallant exchange between the sexes as the essence of life at the French court. Aristocratic and bourgeois customers sought distinctly French authors to offer the authentic style of conversations in the 1660s.
The situation changed again from 1660s into the 1690s: the French market split. Dutch publishers began to sell works by French authors, published out of the reach of French censors. The publishing houses of The Hague and Amsterdam also pirated the entire Parisian production of fashionable books and thus created a new market of political and scandalous fiction and European fashions. Étienne Roger in Amsterdam published Renneville's L'inquisition Françoise (1715), which was also available in the year of its publication, in English and German. Books of the period boasted of their fame on the international market and of the existence of intermediate translations: "Written originally in Italian and translated from the third edition of the French" is found on title page of Manley's New Atalantis in 1709. A market of European rather than French fashions had arrived in the early 18th century.
By the 1680s the fashionable political European production had inspired a second wave of private scandalous publications and generated new productions of local importance. Women authors reported on politics and on their private love affairs in The Hague and in London. German students imitated them and used the relative anonymity they enjoyed in far smaller towns like Jena, Halle and Leipzig, to boast of their private amours in fiction. The market of the metropolitan London, the anonymous international market of the Netherlands, the urban markets of Hamburg and Leipzig generated new public spheres.[note 18] Once private individuals, such as students of university towns and daughters of London's upper class began to use the novel as platform to exhibit their questionable reputations, the public began to call for a reformation of manners. [note 19]
The reform became the main goal of the second generation of 18th-century novelists who, by the mid-century, openly welcomed the change of climate that had first been promoted in journals such as The Spectator. The Spectator Number 10 had stated that the aim was now "to enliven morality with wit, and to temper wit with morality […] to bring philosophy out of the closets and libraries, schools and colleges, to dwell in clubs and assemblies, at tea-tables and coffeehouses"). Constructive criticism of novels had until then been rare.[note 20] The first treatise on the history of the novel had appeared as a preface to a novel, Marie de La Fayette's Zayde (1670). Journals devoted to the sciences could not easily switch to devote themselves to belles lettres, and a distinct secondary discourse developed with a wave of entertaining new journals like The Spectator and The Tatler at the beginning of the century. New "literary journals" like Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's Briefe, die neuste Literatur betreffend (1758) added to this production in the middle of the century with the offer of new, scientific reviews of art and fiction. By the 1780s, reviews constituted a new marketing platform for fiction, and authors and publishers recognized it as such. One could write to satisfy the old market or one could address the authors of secondary criticism and gain an audience through their discussions. It would take yet another generation for the novel to arrive in the curricula of school and university education. By the end of the 18th century, the public perception of the place of a particular novel was no longer supplied simply by social status and fashionable geographical provenance, but by critical media attention.
Realism and art
The term "literary realism" is regularly applied to 19th-century fiction, and the novels of Defoe, Richardson and Fielding, whose works were published between 1719 and the 1750s, are regarded as precursors. Research of the last decades has, however, contested views that it was Robinson Crusoe's realism that ended the sway of "French baroque romances".[note 21] Madeleine de Scudéry's "romances" had not been completely unrealistic.[note 22] They had left the market nonetheless in the 1670s, defeated by the more realistic "novels" that appeared then. Delarivier Manley's Atalantis was reviewed by a German academic journal in 1713 as work of contemporary public history.[note 23] Christian Friedrich Hunold fled Hamburg in 1706 after his Satyrischer Roman had depicted the city's elegant urban life as a place of scandal. The French pseudo histories connected today with names such as Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras (1644–1712) had become even more radical in their realism and depicted the real world with a detail that rivalled that of historians.
Critics have noted that Defoe's Robinson Crusoe followed Alexander Selkirk's "true" account.[note 24] and that Crusoe's style of writing used modes of the Protestant spiritual autobiography. However, Defoe's book had other models in the contemporary French pseudo histories. René Auguste Constantin de Renneville's report of his imprisonment in the Bastille had appeared in English, published by Defoe's publisher William Taylor four years before Crusoe. Renneville had promised: "Lives and strange Adventures of several Prisoners", Crusoe risked the focus on himself: "The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe". Robinson Crusoe was serialized, in 1719–20, by The Original London Post as a possibly true history.[note 25]
The 18th century witnessed the rise of increasingly realistic fiction, and with a distinction made between fiction and history. This development reduced the importance of works of disreputable fiction. Fiction became valued as a defender of a higher truth, a truth beyond the flat, factual and historical truth of everyday experience. In the second half of the 18th century theories of aesthetics praised the "imitation of nature" and the artist's almost divine power to create worlds of a deeper significance. The previous conflict between historians and romancers was thus finally resolved: fictions and true histories became two distinct fields that the modern nations needed. Literary journals and literary histories became the privileged media for a new analysis of literary art, the development of which eventually led to a change in how the word literature was applied in the 19th century.
Novel and romance
The rise of the word novel at the cost of its rival, the romance, remained a Spanish and English phenomenon, and though readers all over Western Europe had welcomed the novel(la) or short history as an alternative in the second half of the 17th century, only the English and the Spanish had, however, openly discredited the romance.
But the change of taste was brief and Fénelon's Telemachus (1699/1700) already exploited a nostalgia for the old romances with their heroism and professed virtue. Jane Barker explicitly advertised her Exilius as "A new Romance", "written after the Manner of Telemachus", in 1715. Robinson Crusoe spoke of his own story as a "romance", though in the preface to the third volume, published in 1720, Defoe attacks all who said "that [...] the Story is feign'd, that the Names are borrow'd, and that it is all a Romance; that there never were any such Man or Place".
The term novel first peaked on the English market in the 1680s, when the novel(la) manifested itself as the alternative to the older "romance". However, the novel lost its attractiveness with ensuing disreputable works. The 1720s saw a second peak of novels with the first editions of classics of the genre and with new large-scale novels in the style of Eliza Haywood. By the mid-18th century it was no longer clear whether the market had not simply developed two linked terms: "romance" as the generic term, and "novel" as a term for a fashionable product that focused on modern life.
The late 18th century brought an answer with the Romantic Movement's readiness to reclaim the word romance, especially with the gothic romance, but the historical novels of Walter Scott also have a strong romance element. Robinson Crusoe became a "novel" in this period appearing now as a work of the new realistic fiction that the 18th century had created. [note 27] Throughout the 19th century, romances continued to be written in Britain by writers like Emily Brontë, and in America by the dark romantic novelists Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melville.
Legitimating the novel
The French churchman and scholar Pierre Daniel Huet's Traitté de l'origine des romans (1670) laid the ground for a greater acceptance of the novel as literature in the early 18th century. The theologian had not only dared to praise fictions, but he had also explained techniques of theological reading, for the interpretation of fiction, which was a novelty: an individual could read novels and romances to gain insight into foreign and distant cultures as well as into his or her own culture.[note 28] He noted that Christ had used parables to teach.
The decades around 1700 saw the appearance of new editions of Petronius, Lucian, and Heliodorus of Emesa.[note 29] The publishers equipped them with prefaces that referred to Huet's treatise.[note 30] and the canon it had established. Exotic fictions entered the market that gave insight into the Islamic mind. Furthermore The Book of One Thousand and One Nights was first published in Europe from 1704 to 1715 in French, and then translated immediately into English and German, and was seen as a contribution to Huet's history of romances.[note 31]
New classics were added to the market and the English, Select Collection of Novels in six volumes (1720–22), is a milestone in this development. It included Huet's Treatise, along with the European tradition of the modern novel of the day: that is, novella from Machiavelli's to Marie de La Fayette's masterpieces. Aphra Behn's prose fictions had appeared as "novels" in the 1680s but when reprinted in collections, her works became classics. Fénelon's Telemachus (1699/1700) became a classic within three years after its publication. New authors now entered the market ready to use their own personal names as authors of fiction. Eliza Haywood followed the footsteps of Aphra Behn when, in 1719, she used her name with unprecedented pride.
The reformation of manners
The production of classics allowed the novel to gain a past, prestige and a canon. It called at the same moment for a present production of equal merits. A wave of mid-18th-century works that proclaimed their intent to propagate improved moral values gave critics modern novels they could discuss publicly. Instead of banning novels, the efforts at reformation of manners that had begun in the 1690s now led to their reform.
Female authors and heroines were the first affected by the development. Madame d'Aulnoy and Delarivier Manley became notorious examples of a bygone age of impudence. They had washed their dirty linen in public and used their novels to reinvent themselves and convert their own notoriety into fame. The new female heroines had to show intimacy and sensitivity where their early-18th-century ancestors had been ready to appear in public in order to sanitize their reputations. Intimate confessions and blushes filled the new novels, feelings of guilt, even where suspicions were groundless (early-18th-century heroines had defended their virtues and reputations flamboyantly even where they had gone astray). The modern heroines acted transparently, whereas their early-18th-century counterparts had resorted to secret dealings in endless intrigues. Madame de La Fayette's La Princesse de Clèves (1678) can be read as the first novel that showed the new behavior.
To become a fashion, if not the standard of modern behavior, the new personality features needed new social environments. Marie de La Fayette's Princesse had fallen into a desperate situation as soon as she risked the outrageous transparency to confess her feelings for another man to her husband. Neither he nor his rival knew how to continue once all this was clear. Mid-18th-century novels created alternatives: protagonists acted transparently, their antagonists saw that as a weakness and exploited and ruined them – quite the early-18th-century option – but now the moral balance shifted: the open-hearted heroines were no longer victims one could blame for a lack of virtue, but tragic (or melodramatic) figures who had defended a better world. Other novels placed the new transparent heroines into equally new caring environments. Their families resisted temptations to marry them off against their wills, and men around them resisted temptations to seduce them in moments of weakness. The message was that respect and care were to meet open-heartedness in a new age of sensibility. Other novels experimented with surprising acts of an enlightened rationality with which their protagonists could escape deadlock situations far worse than the one Marie de La Fayette's Princesse had produced with her confessions.
Samuel Richardson's Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded (1740), composed "to cultivate the Principles of Virtue and Religion in the Minds of the Youth of Both Sexes" focused, by contrast, on the potential victim, a heroine of all the modern virtues vulnerable through her social status and her occupation as servant of the libertine who falls in love with her. Eventually, she shows the power to reform her antagonist.
Christian Fürchtegott Gellert's Life of the Swedish Countess of G** (1747/48) tested the options of rationality. The titular countess had to decide between two husbands after her first, believed to be dead, returned from a Siberian war captivity. Both her husbands, former friends, had to come to terms with the rational problem her situation presented (and did it in a startling mixture of piety and modern philosophy).
Male heroes adopted the new sentimental character traits in the 1760s. Laurence Sterne's Yorick, the hero of the Sentimental Journey (1768) did so with an enormous amount of humour. Oliver Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield (1766) and Henry Mackenzie's Man of Feeling (1771) produced the far more serious role models.
The virtuous production inspired a sub- and counterculture of pornographic novels. Greek and Latin authors in modern translations had provided elegant transgressions on the market of the belles lettres for the last century. Satirical novels like Richard Head's English Rogue (1665) had led their heroes through urban brothels, women authors like Aphra Behn had offered their heroines alternative careers as precursors of the 19th-century femmes fatales – without creating a subculture.[note 32] The market for belles lettres had been openly transgressive as long as it did not find any reflections in other media. The new production beginning with works like John Cleland's Fanny Hill (1748) differed in that it offered almost exact reversals of the plot lines the virtuous production demanded. Fanny Hill is introduced to a life of prostitution, learns to enjoy her part and establishes herself as a free and economically independent individual, in editions one could only expect to buy under the counter.
Openly uncontrollable conflicts arrived in the 1770s with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774). The titular hero realised how impossible it had become for him to integrate into the new conformist society. Pierre Choderlos de Laclos's Les Liaisons dangereuses (1782) shows the other extreme, with a group of aristocrats playing games of intrigue and amorality.
The sentimental protagonists of the 1740s had already surprised their readers and aroused a debate whether human nature was correctly depicted with these new novels. They discovered a truth of the heart one had not dared to deal with so far. The radical and lonely characters that appeared in the 1760s and 1770s broke with traditions and eventually needed entirely new back-stories to become plausible. Childhoods and adolescences had to explain why these protagonists should have developed so differently. The concept of character development began to fascinate novelists in the 1760s. Jean Jacques Rousseau's novels focused on such developments in philosophical experiments. The German Bildungsroman offered quasi-biographical explorations and autobiographical self-examinations of the individual and its personal development by the 1790s. A subcategory of the genre focused on the creation of an artist (if not the artist writing the novel). It led to the 19th-century production of novels exploring how modern times form the modern individual.
Fiction as a new experimental field
The new 18th-century status of the novel as an object of debate is particularly manifest in special development of philosophical[note 33] and experimental novels.
Philosophical fiction was not exactly new. Plato's dialogues were embedded in fictional narratives. Utopias had added to this production with works from Thomas More's Utopia (1516) to Tommaso Campanella's City of the Sun (1602). Works such as these had not been read as novels or romances but as philosophical texts. The 1740s saw new editions of More's work under the title that created the tradition: Utopia: or the happy republic; a philosophical romance (1743).
Voltaire utilised the romance to write philosophy with his Micromegas: a comic romance. Being a severe satire upon the philosophy, ignorance, and self-conceit of mankind (1752, English 1753). His Zadig (1747) and Candide (1759) became central texts of the French Enlightenment and of the modern novel. Jean-Jacques Rousseau bridged the genres with his less fictional Emile: or, On Education (1762) and his far more romantic Julie, or the New Heloise (1761). It made sense to publish these works as romances or novels, works of fiction, only because prose fiction had become an object of public discussion. The public reception provided by the new market of journals was both freer and wider than the discussion in journals of philosophy would have been. It had become attractive to step into the realm of fiction in order to provide matter for the ongoing debates.
The genre's new understanding of itself resulted in the first metafictional experiment, pressing against its limitations. Laurence Sterne's The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1759–1767) rejected continuous narration. It expanded the author-reader communication from the preface into the plot itself: Tristram Shandy develops as a conversation between the narrative voice and his audience. Besides narrative experiments, there were visual experiments: a marbled page, a black page to express particular sorrow, a page of little lines to visualize the plot lines of the book one was reading. Jonathan Swift's A Tale of a Tub (1704) is an early precursor in this field—a work that employs visual elements with similar ambition—yet hardly a text in the tradition of the original novel or its rival the romance.
The very word romanticism is connected to the idea of romance, and the romance genre experienced a revival, at the end of the 18th century, with gothic fiction. The origin of the gothic romance is attributed to English author Horace Walpole, with his 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto, subtitled (in its second edition) "A Gothic Story". Other important works are Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) and 'Monk' Lewis's The Monk (1795).
The new romances challenged the idea that the novel involved a realistic depictions of life, and destabilized the difference the critics had been trying to establish, between serious classical art and popular fiction. Gothic romances exploited the grotesque, and some critics thought that their subject matter deserved less credit than the worst medieval tales of Arthurian knighthood, and that if the Amadis had troubled Don Quixote with curious fantasies, the new romantic tales were worse: they described a nightmare world, and explored sexual fantasies.
The authors of this new type of fiction could be (and were) accused of exploiting all available topics to thrill, arouse, or horrify their audience. These new romantic novelists, at the same time, claimed to explore the entire realm of fictionality. New, psychological interpreters, in the early 19th century, read these works as encounters with the deeper hidden truth of the human imagination: this included sexuality, anxieties, and insatiable desires. Under such psychological readings, novels were described as exploring deeper human motives, and it was suggested that such artistic freedom would reveal what had not previously been openly visible.
The romances of de Sade, Les 120 Journées de Sodome (1785), Poe, Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (1840), Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (1818), and E. T. A. Hoffmann, Die Elixiere des Teufels (1815), would later attract 20th-century psychoanalysts and supply the images for 20th- and 21st-century horror films, love romances, fantasy novels, role-playing computer games, and the surrealists.
The ancient romancers most commonly wrote fiction about the remote past with little attention to historical reality. Walter Scott's historical novel Waverley (1814) broke with this earlier tradition of historical romance, and he was "the inventor of the true historical novel". At the same time he was a romantic and was influenced by gothic romance. He had collaborated "with the most famous of the Gothic novelists 'Monk' Lewis" on Tales of Wonder in 1801. With his Waverley novels Scott "hoped to do for the Scottish border" what Goethe and other German poets "had done for the Middle Ages, "and make its past live again in modern romance". Scott's novels "are in the mode he himself defined as romance, 'the interest of which turns upon marvelous and uncommon incidents'". He used his imagination to re-evaluate history by rendering things, incidents and protagonists in the way only the novelist could do. His work remained historical fiction, yet it questioned existing historical perceptions. The use of historical research was an important tool: Scott, the novelist, resorted to documentary sources as any historian would have done, but as a romantic artist he gave his subject a deeper imaginative and emotional significance. By combining research with "marvelous and uncommon incidents", Scott attracted a far wider market than any historian could, and he became the most famous novelist of his generation, throughout Europe.
The 19th century
Romance and realism
During the 19th century, romances continued to be written in Britain, and major writers such as Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy  were influenced by the tradition. The Brontë sisters are notable mid-19th-century creators of romance. Their works include Anne Brontë's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre and Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights. Publishing first at the very end of the 19th century, Joseph Conrad has been called, "a supreme 'romancer'". In America, it was said, "the romance has proved to be a serious, flexible, and successful medium for the exploration of philosophical ideas and attitudes" into the 20th century, and notable examples are Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! and Robert Penn Warren's World Enough and Time.
European figures that were influenced by romanticism include Victor Hugo, with novels like The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (1831) and Les Misérables (1862), and Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov, whose novel A Hero of Our Time (1840) is notable for introducing Superfluous man into the world of literature.
Most 19th-century authors hardly went beyond illustrating and supporting widespread historical views. The more interesting titles won fame by doing what no historian nor journalist would do: make the reader experience another life. Émile Zola's novels depicted the world of which Marx and Engels wrote in a non-fictional mode. Slavery in the United States, abolitionism and racism became topics of far broader public debate thanks to Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), whose characters provided personifications for topics that had previously been discussed mainly in the abstract. Charles Dickens led the audience into contemporary British workhouses: his novels imitated firsthand accounts of child labour. War changed with Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace (1868/69) from historical fact to a world of personal fate. Crime became a personal reality with Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment (1866). Women authors had dominated the production of fiction from the 1640s into the early 18th century, but few before George Eliot so openly questioned the position of women, the precepts of their education, and their social position.
As the novel became the most interesting platform of modern debates—allegedly free, as art could claim to be in the modern secular western societies—a race began between nations to (re-)establish their national literatures with novels as the essential production that could link the present with the past. Alessandro Manzoni's I Promessi Sposi (1827) did this for Italy; Russia and the surrounding Slavonic brought forth their first novels; the Scandinavian countries entered the race.
With the new appreciation of history, the future also became a topic for fiction. Samuel Madden's Memoirs of the Twentieth Century (1733) had been a satire, presenting a future that was basically the present age, but with the Jesuits secretly ruling the globe. Louis-Sébastien Mercier‘s L'An 2440 (1771) had gone a step further and created an enlightened future, that one could establish immediately if only one dared to live according to better moral precepts. The step into a different future began with Mary Shelley's The Last Man (1826), a work whose plot culminated in the catastrophic last days of a mankind extinguished by the plague, even if it remained an autobiographical allegory of the author deploring her personal losses. Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward (1887) and H. G. Wells's The Time Machine (1895) were, by contrast, marked by the idea of long term technological and biological developments. Industrialization, Darwin's theory of evolution and Marx's theory of class divisions shaped these works and turned historical processes into a subject matter of wide debate: Bellamy's Looking Backward became the second best-selling book of the 19th century after Harriet Beecher-Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin.[note 34] Such works of scientific reflection inspired a whole genre of popular science fiction as the 20th century approached.
The novel as national literature
By the beginning of the 19th century, prose fiction had moved from a field of questionable entertainment and precarious historicity into the centre of the new literary debate. A new arrangement of the sciences taught at modern universities would finally protect the development. Theology, law, medicine, and philosophy had been the four traditional faculties. National literature became the object of a new university system in which the natural sciences acted as exact sciences, the social sciences with an outlook on the modern societies, and the humanities with a responsibility for history and culture. Literature in a definition that turned fiction into a central literary production would be a subject of the philologies in the latter segment of research.
The traditional task of literary historians, to review the sciences, was referred to the individual sciences and their respective academic journals. The general debate of literature was turned into an exploration of poetry and fiction.[note 35]
The modes of this exploration were new. Poetry had been analysed in poetological treatises asking for perfection and the rules that had to be mastered in the different genres. Early-18th-century critics had been ready to see the opera as the central poetic production of the modern era. One would differentiate between an Italian and a French style and consider an international production. This arrangement was discredited in the course of the 18th century. Operas became music and the new literary histories offered in the 19th century focused on the greatest works an outstanding nation or language had brought forth. The new interest lay in interpretations. Georg Gottfried Gervinus' Geschichte der poetischen National-Literatur der Deutschen, published in its successive volumes between 1835 and 1842 became the European model with a project that rather resembled Pierre Daniel Huet's Treatise on the Origin of Romances (1670) than any of the previous works on poetry or on literature (the sciences). The new literary historian spoke about the cultural significance of the works he analysed. Unlike Huet, Gervinus was solely interested in the works of his nation, whose history and mentality he hoped to better understand. Other nations were of interest as they had threatened the intellectual development to be observed. Huet had given a world history of fiction. The 19th-century literary historian offered his project with the controversial promise to show how the nation had freed and found itself in its fictional production.
The project persuaded scholars in France and Italy to bring forth similar histories for their nations while the Anglophone world remained rather uninterested. Hippolyte Taine eventually offered the first history of English literature, at first in French, and a year later, in 1864, in an English version that opened with a look back on the 1st century of modern literary history:
HISTORY, within a hundred years in Germany, and within sixty years in France, has undergone a transformation owing to a study of literatures.
The discovery has been made that a literary work is not a mere play of the imagination, the isolated caprice of an excited brain, but a transcript of contemporary manners and customs and the sign of a particular state of intellect. The conclusion derived from this is that, through literary monuments, we can retrace the way in which men felt and thought many centuries ago. This method has been tried and found successful.
We have meditated over these ways of feeling and thinking and have accepted them as facts of prime significance. We have found that they were dependent on most important events, that they explain these, and that these explain them, and that henceforth it was necessary to give them their place in history, and one of the highest.
The essentially nationalistic analysis of poetical fictions had begun in Germany in the late 1720s with a look back on three decades of international European fashions. German authors had embraced French "gallantry" as the essence of elegance and style. The country had gained nothing in the wars the European nations had supported on behalf of the Empire. The comparatively European decades of the Nine Years War (1689–1697), the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714), and the Great Northern War (1700–1721) had eventually left the intellectual elite disenchanted. The discussion of the nation's poetry Johann Christoph Gottsched proposed at the end of the 1720s formulated a national project connected with the offer to reform the entire market of German poetry. Johann Jakob Bodmer, Johann Jakob Breitinger, and Gotthold Ephraim Lessing adopted Gottsched's project and created the national discourse that finally gained national importance between 1789 and 1813 when Germany had to define itself in the events of the French Revolution and the ensuing Napoleonic Wars.
At the turn into the 19th century, the first German territories implemented the new field of research in their national school curricula. Three decades later the first histories of German literature appeared with proposals of the canon the young nation would need. Literature made its way into the educational systems; it became the object of the university philologies, of German classes at schools, and of criticism in the public media.
The new topic was of immense interest thanks to its focus on the nation,[note 36] thanks to its controversial perspectives on the nation's history and identity, and thanks to its attempts to reform the markets of fiction. The secularization pushed the new topic in France and Germany. Literature offered worldly texts to be interpreted in schools and at universities where religious texts had been interpreted thus far.
The Anglophone world adopted the new topic reluctantly. London had developed a commercial production of the belles lettres, independent from the markets of Amsterdam and Paris, as early as the early 18th century. The new market had found its own commercial criticism and did not need an academic variant with a distinctly national perspective. Shakespeare had become an object of national veneration without the help of academic critics by the 1760s. A rediscovery of the past had followed, with such doubtful discoveries as the Ossian fragments. Critics discussed the belles lettres in fashionable English journals. Latest theatre performances were discussed in the newspapers at the end of the 18th century. The continental debate of "literature" remained uninteresting with all the academic institutions it promised to generate.
Great Britain did not need new national platforms. State politics and religion were open platforms, in Britain protected by modern press laws since the 1690s. The continent had opted for a fundamental secularisation. Britain rested on the union of state and church, the US on the opposite notion of private religiosity and a state that would not interfere. Neither country needed a topic for school lessons, in which worldly texts would be used in much the same way as religious texts had been used before. As for criticism of plays and fictions one could well live with the commercial criticism the market brought forth. Germany invented a dualism of "Literaturwissenschaft", literary criticism formulated by university professors, and "Literaturkritik", literary criticism to be found in the newspapers. A single word remained enough to speak of literary criticism in English.
The new topic was eventually adopted both in Britain and the US in the 1870 and 1880s. The educational systems of the Western nations developed international standards. The Western canon became the project of a new international competition.[note 37] The Western nations defined themselves as "Kulturnationen", exporters of a specific Western civilisation in the middle second European colonization wave. To do this they eventually shared the same academic institutions that monitored, evaluated and basically organised their public controversies. Literature and culture had been topics the nations could hope to handle with more competence than religion. The "Republic of Letters", the "respublica literaria", the early modern scientific community that had coined the term literature had definied itself as the first truly pluralistic institution. The universities it required would be state run and controlled by the respective nations.
The new topic spread in win-win situations. The publishing industry promoted fiction, literature, Belletristik. New authors profited from the exchange. The reading public eagerly followed the debate and was ready to identify with the greatest authors now produced.
New commercial rules began to structure the exchange. Most of the early-18th-century authors of fiction had published anonymously. They had offered their manuscripts and received all the payment to be expected for the manuscript. The new copyright laws introduced in the 18th and 19th centuries[note 38] promised a profit share on all future editions and created a new strategy with the revolutionary work, readers would initially hardly understand. One would publish such a work in a small first edition hoping for critics to prove it into an eternal classic. Novelists, a scandalous branch of authors a century ago, assumed entirely new roles as public voices; they spoke as their nation's conscience, as national sages, as farsighted judges in newspapers, in public debates and in entirely new celebrations of their public status. The novelist who reads in theater halls and book shops is a 19th-century invention.
Fiction gained new qualities in the exchange. The literary market gave rise to difficult texts that could not hope to be understood without critical interpretations. New novels openly addressed the present political and social issues, sure to be discussed by media focusing on the same issues. Responsibility became a key issue: responsibility of the citizen whose voice is heard or responsibility of the artist whose work future generations will have evaluate. The theoretical debate concentrated on the moral soundness of modern novels, on the integrity of individual artists, and on the provocative claims of aestheticists such as Oscar Wilde and Algernon Charles Swinburne who proposed to write "art for art's sake", that is with a responsibility the present audience and the present critics might not be able to understand.
The up-market of works deserving to be read as "literature" was matched by a growing market of "popular fictions", "trivial literature" – a market that discontinued the production of chapbooks and grew in the former field of elegant belles lettres. New institutions like the circulating library affected the market as platforms publishing houses would address with their first editions. Fiction became the object of a new mass reading public protected, monitored and analysed by nationwide debates and by institutions the new states would hope to control.
The developments did not lead to stable definitions of the terms it popularized. "Art", "literature" and "culture" became much rather the field of controversies authors, critics, and readers would feed in ever new attempts to find platforms for their interests. The exchange affected from now onwards children at school as much as intellectuals who risked their lives in public controversies.
The modern individual
The individual, the potentially isolated hero, had stood at the centre of romantic fictions since the Middle Ages. The early novel(la) had placed the story itself at the centre: it was driven by plot, by incident and accident, rather than being the story of a single larger-than-life figure. And yet, the individual had returned with a wave of satirical romances and historical pseudo romances. Individuals such as Robinson Crusoe, Moll Flanders, Pamela, and Clarissa reintroduced the old romantic focus on the individual as the centre of what was to become the modern novel.
Ancient, medieval and early modern fictional characters lacked certain features that modern readers expect. Epics and romances created heroes, individuals who would fight against knight after knight, change (as an Assyrian princess) into men's clothes, survive alone on an island – while it would never see its personal experience as an individualizing factor. The early modern novelist had remained a historian as much as the author of the most personal French contemporary memoir. As soon as it came to relating the facts and experiences, it became a question of proper writing skills.
The modern individual changed. The rift can first be seen in the works of medieval mystics and early modern Protestant autobiographers: moments in which they witnessed a change in their very experience of things, an inner isolation they would only be able to communicate to someone who had experienced the same. The sentimental experience created a new field of – secular, rather than religiously motivated – individualizations which immediately invited followers to join. Werther's step out of the value systems that surrounded him, his desperate search for the one and only soul to understand him, inspired an instantaneous European fashion. Napoleon told Goethe he had read the volume about a dozen times; others were seen wearing breeches in Werther's colour to signal that they were experiencing the same exceptionalism. The novel proved the ideal medium for the new movements as it was ultimately written from an individual's point of view with the aim to unfold in the silence of another's individual mind.
The late-18th-century exploration of personal developments created room for depictions of personal experiences; it gained momentum with the romantic exploration of fictionality as a medium of creative imagination; and it gained a political edge with the 19th-century focus on history and the modern societies. The rift between the individual and his or her social environment had to have roots in personal developments which this individual shared with those around him or her, with his or her class or the entire nation. Any such rift had the power to criticize the collective histories the modern nations were just then producing. The new personal perceptions the protagonists of novels offered were on the other hand interesting as they could easily become part of the collective experience the modern nation had to create.
The novel's individual perspective allowed for personal reevaluations of the public historical perceptions and it allowed for personal developments that could still lead back into modern societies. The 19th-century Bildungsroman became the arena of such explorations of personal developments that separated the individual from, and then reunited it with, his or her social environment. Outsider perspectives became the field of mid-19th-century explorations. The artist's life had been an interesting topic before with the artist being by public definition the exceptional individual whose perceptions naturally enabled him to produce different views. Novels from Goethe's Wilhelm Meister (1795) to Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time (1913–1927) and James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) created an entire genre of the Künstlerroman. Jane Austen's Emma (1815), Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary (1856), Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina (1873–77), and George Eliot's Middlemarch (1871–72) brought female protagonists into the role of the outstanding observer. Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist (1839) and Gottfried Keller's Green Henry (1855) focused on the perspectives of children, Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment (1866) added a drop-out student who became a murderer to the spectrum of special observers whose views would promise reinterpretations of modern life.
The exploration of the individual's perception eventually revolutionized the very modes of writing fiction. The search for one's personal style stood in the centre of the competition among authors in the 19th century, now that novelists had become publicly celebrated minds. The destabilization of the author-text connection, which 20th-century criticism was to propose later on, finally led to experiments with what had been the individual's voice so far – speaking through the author or portrayed by him. These options were to be widened with new concepts of what texts actually were with the beginning of the 20th century.
Developments in the 20th century and later
Global market place
Given the number of new editions and the place of the modern novel among the genres sold in bookshops today, the novel is far from the crisis predicted by John Barth. Literature has not ended in "exhaustion" or in a silent "death". New technologies continue to be rapidly adapted for the writing and distributing of novels. In 1968, four years after the introduction of the first word processor, the IBM MT/ST, the first novel was written on it – Len Deighton's Bomber, published in 1970. Printed books have not yet been superseded by new media such as cinema, television or such new channels of distribution as the Internet, [note 39] or e-books. Novels such as the Harry Potter (1997–2007) books have created public sensation among an audience critics had seen as lost.[note 40]
Novels were among the first material artefacts the Nazis burnt in public celebrations of their power in 1933; and they remained the very last thing they allowed their publishers to print as World War II ended in the devastation of central Europe: fiction could still be employed to keep the retreating troops in dream worlds of an idyllic homeland waiting for them.[note 41] Novels were in the pockets of American soldiers who went to Vietnam and in the pockets of those who protested against the Vietnam War: Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf and Carlos Castaneda's Journey to Ixtlan (1972) had become cult classics of inner resistance. While it was difficult to learn anything about Siberia's concentration camps in the strictly censored Soviet media, it was a novel, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1962) and its proto-historic expansion The Gulag Archipelago (1973) that eventually gave the world an inside view.
The novel remains both public and private. It is a public product of modern print culture even where it circulates in illegal samizdat copies. It remains difficult to target. Totalitarian regimes can close down Internet service providers, and control theatres, cinemas, radio and television stations, while individual paper copies of a novel can be smuggled into countries, defying strict censorship, and read there in cafés and parks almost as safely as at home. Its covers can be as inconspicuous as those of Iranian editions of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses (1988). An Orwellian regime would have to search households and to burn every retrievable copy: an engagement of dystopian dimensions that only a novel, Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 (1953), would envisage.
The artefact that constituted one of the earliest flashpoints in the current cultural confrontation between the secular West and the Islamic East, Rushdie's Satanic Verses (1988), exemplifies almost all the advantages the modern novel has over its rivals. It is a work of epic dimensions no film maker could achieve, a work of privacy and individuality of perspective wherever it leads into the dream worlds of its protagonists, a work that uniquely anticipated ensuing political debates, and a work many Western critics classified as one of the greatest novels ever written. It is postmodernist in its ability to play with the entire field of literary traditions without ever sacrificing its topicality.
The democratic West depicted itself as the advocate of literature as the freest form of self-expression. The Islamic fundamentalist interpretation of the same confrontation has its own historical validity. This interpretation sees a conflict between Western secular nations and a postsecular religious world. In this view, the West has severed its religious roots and begun to idolize an arrangement of secular "pluralistic" debates. "Literature", "art", and "history" – the subject matter of the humanities – have become a Western substitute for religion. The Islamic republic eventually demonstrated how far the West had created its own inviolable if not sacred spheres in this development: Westerners can become atheists, they can admire any "blasphemy" as "art", but they cannot act with the same freedom in the field of history. Holocaust denial is criminalised in several Western nations in defence of secular pluralism. The Islamic nations protect, so goes the rationale, at the heart of the conflict a different hierarchy of discourses.
In a longer perspective, the conflict arose with the worldwide expansion of Western literary and cultural life in the 20th century. To look back, around 1700 fiction had been a small but virulent market of fashionable books in the sphere of public history. By contrast, in 19th-century Europe the novel had become the center of a new literary debate. The 20th century began with the Western export of new global conflicts, new technologies of telecommunication and new industries. The new arrangement of the academic disciplines became a world standard. Within this system the humanities are the ensemble of subjects that evaluate and organise public debate, from art and literature to history. Former colonies and modern third world nations adopted this arrangement in their educational systems in order to pursue equal footing with the "leading" industrial nations. Literature entered their public spheres almost automatically as the arena of free personal expression and as a field of national pride in which one had to search for one's historical identity, as the Western nations had done before.
A number of literatures could challenge the West with traditions of their own: Chinese novels are older than any comparable Western works. Other regions of the world had to begin their traditions as the Slavonic and Scandinavian nations had done in the 19th-century European competition: South Asia and Latin America joined the production of world literature at the beginning of the 20th century. The run for the first black African novel to be written by a black African author is today a topic of research in postcolonialist literary studies. The race was fueled by Western theories of cultural superiority: 20th-century critics such as Georg Lukács and Ian Watt saw the novel as the form of self-expression characteristic of the "modern Western individual". The worldwide spread of the novel was monitored and mentored by such Western institutions as the Nobel Prize in Literature. The list of its laureates can be read as a chronicle of the gradual expansion of Western literary life. Guatemalan Miguel Angel Asturias received the Nobel Prize in 1967, Japanese Yasunari Kawabata in 1968, Colombian Gabriel García Márquez in 1982; the Nigerian Wole Soyinka, honoured in 1986, became the first black African author to receive the award; the Egyptian Naguib Mahfouz became the first novelist of the Arab world to do so in 1988; Kenzaburō Ōe, honoured in 1994 is a Japanese novelist, Orhan Pamuk, honoured in 2006, is a Turkish novelist.
The contemporary novel defends the significance it had won by the 1860s, and it has stepped beyond, into a new awareness of its public outreach. Nationwide debates can become international debates at any given moment. Today's novelists can address a worldwide public, with international institutions, prestigious prizes, and such far-reaching associations as the worldwide association of writers P.E.N. The exiled author,[note 42] who is celebrated by the international audience while he or she is persecuted at home is a 20th-century (and now 21st-century) figure. The author as keeper of his or her nation's conscience is a new cultural icon of the age of globalization.
Back in the early 18th century some 20–60 titles per year, that is between one and three percent of the total annual English production of about 2,000 titles, could be reckoned as fiction – a total of 20,000–60,000 copies on the assumption of standard print runs of about 1,000 copies. In 2001 fiction made about 11% of the 119,001 titles published in the UK consumer book market. The percentage has remained relatively stable over the past 20 years, though the total numbers doubled from 5,992 in 1986 to 13,076 in 2001. The press output and the money made with fiction have risen disproportionately since the 18th century: According to Nielsen BookScan statistics published in 2009 UK publishers sold an estimated 236.8 million books in 2008. Adult fiction (an estimated 75.3 million copies) made 32% of this market. Children's, young adult and educational books, a section comprising best-sellers such as the Harry Potter volumes, made another 63.4 million copies, 27%. The total UK consumer market is supposed to have had a value £1,773m in 2008. Adult fiction made roughly a quarter of that value: £454m.
A vibrant literary life fuels the market. It unfolds in a complex interaction between authors, their publishing houses, the reading public, and a literary criticism of immense diversity voiced in the media and in the nation's educational systems. The latter provide through their branches of academic criticism many of the topics, the modes of discussion and to a good extent the experts themselves who teach and discuss literature in schools and in the media. Modern marketing of fiction reflects this complex interaction with an awareness of the specific reverberations a new title must find in order to reach a wider audience.[note 43] Different levels of communication mark successful modern novels as a result of the genre's present position in (or outside) literary debates. An elite exchange has developed between novelists and literary theorists, allowing for direct interactions between authors and critics. Authors who write literary criticism can eventually modify the very criteria under which theorists discuss their works. Literary recognition can also be gained when novels influence thinking about non-literary controversies. A third option remains with novels that find their audiences without the help of critical debate. Even serious novels can become the object of direct marketing strategies along the lines publishers usually reserve for "popular fiction".
20th century and later
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Many of the techniques the novel developed over the past 100 years can be understood as the result of competition with new mass media: film, comic books and at the end of the century the World Wide Web. Shot and sequence, focus and perspective have moved from film editing to literary composition. Experimental 20th-century fiction is, at the same time, influenced by literary theory.
James Joyce's Ulysses (1922) had a major influence on modern novelists, in the way that it replaced the 18th- and 19th-century narrator with a text that attempted to record inner thoughts: a "stream of consciousness". This term was first used by William James in 1890 and entered the terminology of literary criticism with the discussions of the novels of modernists like Dorothy Richardson, Marcel Proust, and James Joyce, as well as, later Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner. The characters endowed with these new voices had no firm ground from which to narrate and their readers had to re-create what was purposefully broken. One of the aims was to represent the reality of thoughts, sensations and conflicting perspectives. William Faulkner was particularly concerned with recreating real life, an undertaking which he said was unattainable. The argumentative structure, which a narration had used in previous centuries to make its points, had lost its importance. Also in the 1920s expressionist Alfred Döblin went in a different direction with Berlin Alexanderplatz (1929), where interspersed non-fictional text fragments enter the fictional sphere to create an another new form of realism to that of stream-of-consciousness.
Later works like Samuel Beckett's trilogy Molloy (1951), Malone Dies (1951) and The Unnamable (1953), as well as Julio Cortázar's Rayuela (1963) and Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (1973) all make use of the stream-of-consciousness technique. On the other hand Robert Coover is an example of those authors, who the 1960s, fragmented their stories and challenged time and sequentiality as fundamental structural concepts.
In the second half of the 20th century, Postmodern authors subverted serious debate with playfulness, claiming that art could never be original, that it always plays with existing materials. The idea that language is self-referential had already been an accepted truth in the world of pulp fiction. A postmodernist re-reads popular literature as an essential cultural production. The creative avant-garde of the 1960s and 1970s "closed the gap" and recycled popular knowledge, conspiracy theories, comics and films to recombine these materials into entirely new works of art. Roland Barthes' 1950s analysis of popular culture, and his late 1960s claim that the author was dead while the text continued to live, became standards of postmodern theory. Novels from Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 (1966), to Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose (1980) and Foucault's Pendulum (1989) made use of a universe of intertextual references while they thematized their own creativity in a new postmodern metafictional awareness.
What separated these authors from their 18th- and 19th-century predecessors, who had also invited other textual worlds into their own compositions, was the interaction the new authors sought with the field of literary criticism. 20th-century metafictional works expect literary historians to deal with them; literary critics and theorists become the privileged first readers that the new texts need. James Joyce is said to have said, to have joked, that in Ulysses, "I've put in so many enigmas and puzzles that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant, and that's the only way of insuring one's immortality," a statement to which Salman Rushdie referred in 1999, when asked about the possibility of there being "Cliff's Notes" to his writings. Rushdie answered that although he didn't expect readers to get all the allusions in his works, he didn't think such notes would detract from the reading of them, and added: "James Joyce once said after he had published Ulysses that he had given the professors work for many years to come; and I'm always looking for ways of employing professors, so I hope to have given them some work too."
Novelists such as John Barth, Raymond Federman, Lance Olsen, and Umberto Eco went still further, by mixing criticism and fiction, creating "critifiction" (a term Raymond Federman attempted to coin in 1993).
While the postmodern movement has been criticized as too reliant on theory, and escapist, it was successfully exploited in several films of the 1990s and first decade of the 21st century: Pulp Fiction (1994), Memento (2000), and The Matrix (1999–2003) can be read as new textual constructs designed to prove that we are surrounded by virtual realities, by realities we construct out of circulating fragments, of images, concept, a language of cultural materials, which the new filmmakers explore.
Writing world history
On the one hand, media and institutions of criticism enable the modern novel to become the object of global debate. On the other hand, novels themselves, individual books, continue to arouse attention with unique personal and subjective narratives that challenge all circulating views of world history. Novels remain personal. Their authors remain independent individuals even where they become public figures, in contrast to historians and journalists who tend, by contrast, to assume official positions. The narrative style remains free and artistic, whereas modern history has by contrast almost entirely abandoned narration and turned to the critical debate of interpretations. Novels are seen as part of the realm of "art", defended as a realm of free and subjective self-expression. Crossovers into other genres – the novel as film, the film as novel, the amalgam of the novel and the comic book that led to the evolution of the graphic novel – have strengthened the genre's influence on the collective imagination and the arena of ongoing debates.
Personal realities have attracted 20th- and 21st-century novelists: first in an explicit reaction to the new science of psychology, later, far more importantly, in a renewed interest in subject matter that almost automatically destabilizes and marginalizes the realities of "common sense" and collective history. Personal anxieties, daydreams, magic and hallucinatory experiences mushroomed in 20th-century novels. What would be a clinical psychosis if stated as a personal experience – in one extreme example, Gregor Samsa, the point of view character of Kafka's The Metamorphosis, awakes to find that he has become a giant insect – will, as soon as it is transformed into a novel, become the object of competing literary interpretations, a metaphor, an image of the modern experience of personal instability and isolation. The term "Kafkaesque" has joined the term "Orwellian" in common parlance to refer not only to aspects of literature, but of the world.
Horror has also been an extremely popular genre in literature. Many are from famous horror-writer Stephen King and known horror writer Dean Koontz. King has wrote over 100 stories throughout his lifetime. His first published novel was Carrie, a horror novel about a teenage girl tormented by her fellow schoolmates and her religious-crazed mother, she uses her powers of telekinesis to exact revenge. The novel became a best-seller. But King's first hardback best-seller is the well-known novel The Shining, about a family who moves into a hotel in Colorado and the husband takes a job there. The son, Danny Torrance, has the power to see ghosts and malevolent spirits, which is called "Shining". The novel adapted into a 1980 horror film and that became named as one of Hollywood's most scariest films. Not all horror novels are written for adults. R.L. Stine is a children's horror writer, best known for writing the popular Goosebumps series. Neil Gaiman wrote the children's horror novella Coraline, a story about a girl and her family moving into an apartment and she finds a secret door to a perfect world, but later finds out that the world is a trap to capture her and destroy her. The novella was a success, winning the Bram Stoker Award. It was later adapted into the Academy-Award nominated film Coraline.
Each generation of the 20th century saw its unique aspects expressed in novels. Germany's lost generation of World War I veterans identified with the hero of Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front (1928) (and with the tougher, more existentialist rival Thor Goote created as a national socialist alternative). The Jazz Age found a voice in F. Scott Fitzgerald, the Great Depression in John Steinbeck and the incipient Cold War in George Orwell. France's existentialism was prominently voiced in Jean-Paul Sartre's Nausea (1938) and Albert Camus' The Stranger (1942). The counterculture of the 1960s gave Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf (1927) a new reception, while producing such iconic works of its own as Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club (1996) became (with the help of the film adaptation) an icon of late-20th-century manhood and a reaction to the 20th-century production of female voices. Virginia Woolf, Simone de Beauvoir, Doris Lessing, Elfriede Jelinek became prominent female and feminist voices. Questions of racial and gender identities, the option to reclaim female heroines of a predominantly male cultural industry have fascinated novelists over the last two decades with their potential to destabilize the preceding confrontations.
The major 20th-century social processes can be traced through the modern novel: the history of the sexual revolution[note 44] can be traced through the reception of sexually frank novels: D. H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover had to be published in Italy in 1928; British censorship lifted its ban as late as 1960. Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer (1934) created the comparable US scandal. Transgressive fiction from Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita (1955) to Michel Houellebecq's Les Particules élémentaires (1998) entered a literary field that eventually opened itself to the production of frankly pornographic works such as Anne Desclos' Story of O (1954) to Anaïs Nin's Delta of Venus (1978).
Crime became a major subject of 20th- and 21st-century novelists. The extreme confrontations of crime fiction reach into the very realities that modern industrialized, organized societies try and fail to eradicate. Crime is also an intriguing personal and public subject: criminals each have their personal motivations and actions. Detectives, too, see their moral codes challenged. Patricia Highsmith's thrillers became a medium of new psychological explorations. Paul Auster's New York Trilogy (1985–1986) crossed the borders into the field of experimental postmodernist literature.
The major political and military confrontations of the 20th and 21st centuries have inspired novelists. The events of World War II found their reflections in novels from Günter Grass' The Tin Drum (1959) to Joseph Heller's Catch-22 (1961). The ensuing cold war lives on in a bulk of spy novels that reach out into the realm of popular fiction. Latin American self-awareness in the wake of the (failing) left revolutions of the 1960s and 1970s resulted in a "Latin American Boom", connected today with the names of Julio Cortázar, Mario Vargas Llosa, Carlos Fuentes and Gabriel García Márquez and the invention of a special brand of postmodern magic realism. The unstable status of Israel and the Middle East have become the subject of Israeli and Arab perceptions. Contemporary fiction has explored the realities of the post-Soviet nations and those of post-Tiananmen China. Arguably, though, international perceptions of these events have been shaped more by images than words. The wave of modern media images has, in turn, merged with the novel in the form of graphic novels that both exploit and question the status of circulating visual materials. Art Spiegelman's two-volume Maus and, perhaps more important in its new theoretical approach, his In the Shadow of No Towers (2004) – a graphic novel questioning the reality of the images the 9/11 attacks have produced – are interesting artefacts here.
The extreme options of writing alternative histories have created genres of their own. Fantasy has become a field of commercial fiction branching into the worlds of computer-animated role play and esoteric myth. Its center today is J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (1954/55), a work that mutated from a book written for young readers in search of openly fictionalised role models into a cultural artefact of epic dimensions. Tolkien successfully revived northern European epic literature from Beowulf and the North Germanic Edda to the Arthurian Cycles and turned their incompatible worlds into an epic of global confrontations that magically preceded all known confrontations.
Science fiction has developed a broad variety of genres from the technological adventure Jules Verne had made fashionable in the 1860s to new political and personal compositions. Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (1932) has become a touchpoint for debate of Western consumerist societies and their use of modern technologies. George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) focuses on the options of resistance under the eyes of public surveillance. Stanisław Lem, Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke became modern classical authors of experimental thought with a focus on the interaction between humans and machines. A new wave of authors has added post-apocalyptic fantasies and explorations of virtual realities in crossovers into the commercial production of quickly mutating sci-fi genres. William Gibson's Neuromancer (1984) became a cult classic here and founded a new brand of cyberpunk science fiction.
Writing popular fiction
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Popular fiction shares the literary market place with other types of literature through the genres that they share.
The historic advantage of genres is to allow the direct marketing of fiction. While the reader of so-called elitist literature will follow public discussions of novels, the popular production has to employ the traditionally more direct and short-term marketing strategies with the open declarations of their content. Genres fill the gap that the absent critics leaves, and work as direct promises of reading pleasure. The most typical stratum of popular fiction is based entirely on genre expectations, which it fixes with serializations and identifiable brand names. Ghost writers hide behind collective pseudonyms to ensure the steady supply of fiction that will have the very same hero, the very same story arc, and the very same number of pages, issue after issue.
Though a production not promoted by secondary criticism it is popular literature that holds the largest market share. Romance fiction had an estimated $1.375 billion share in the US book market in 2007. Religion/inspirational literature followed with $819 million, science fiction/fantasy with $700 million, mystery with $650 million and then classic literary fiction with $466 million.
The most important subgenres, in this period, were according to Romance Writers of America 's data, given on the basis of numbers of releases:
- Contemporary series romance: 26%
- Contemporary romance: 22%
- Historical romance: 16%
- Paranormal romance: 12%
- Romantic suspense: 7%
- Inspirational romance: 7%
- Romantic suspense (series): 5%
- Other (chick-lit, erotic romance, women's fiction): 3%
- Young adult romance: 3%
In an historical perspective modern popular literature might be seen as the successor of the early modern chapbook. Both fields share a focus on readers who are in search of easily accessible reading satisfaction. Early modern booksellers saw a reduced vocabulary and a focus on plot as the advantages in the abridged versions that they sold. The market of chapbooks disappeared, however, in the course of the 19th century. The German rediscovery of chapbooks in the 1840s and their new identification as a distinct, and truly original, production of "Volksbücher", books the people had created, is noteworthy. The popular modern works had by that time developed out of the early modern belles lettres. John J. Richetti was the first to point out the various similarities within the spectrum of genres.
The 20th-century love romance is a successor of the novels Madeleine de Scudéry, Marie de La Fayette, Aphra Behn, and Eliza Haywood wrote from the 1640s into the 1740s. The modern adventure novel goes back to Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (1719) and its immediate successors. Modern pornography has no precedent in the chapbook market; it goes back, again, to the libertine and hedonistic belles lettres, to John Cleland's Fanny Hill (1749) and its companions of the elegant 18th-century market. Ian Fleming's James Bond is a descendant of the anonymous yet extremely sophisticated and stylish narrator who mixed his love affairs with his political missions in La Guerre d'Espagne (1707). Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon exploits Tolkien, as well as Arthurian literature and its romantic 19th-century reflections. Modern horror fiction also has no precedent on the market of chapbooks – it goes back to the elitist market of early-19th-century romantic literature. Modern popular science fiction has an even shorter history, hardly dating past the 1860s.
The emerging field of popular fiction immediately created its own stratifications with a production of bestselling authors such as Raymond Chandler, Barbara Cartland, Ian Fleming, Johannes Mario Simmel, Rosamunde Pilcher, Stephen King, Ken Follett, Patricia Cornwell, and Dan Brown who enjoy the potential to attract fans and who appear as role models in author-fan relationships. The typical popular market segment does not develop any mythologies of authorship, and hardly differentiates between hero and author: readers buys the new Perry Rhodan, Captain Future, or Jerry Cotton.
Popular fiction has dealt with almost any topic the modern public sphere has provided. Class and gender divisions are omnipresent in love stories: the majority of them harp on tragic confrontations that arise wherever a heroine of lower social status falls in love with a doctor, the wealthy heir of an estate or company, or just the Alpine farmer whose maid she happens to be. It is not said that these aspirations lead to happy endings. They can be read as escapist dreams of how to change social status by marriage; they are at the same time constant indicators of existing or imaginary social barriers. All major political confrontations of the past one hundred years have become the scenery of popular exploits, whether they focused on soldiers, spies, or on civilians fighting between the lines.
The authors of popular fiction–and that is the essential difference between them and their counterparts in the sphere of so-called elitist literature–tend to proclaim that they have simply exploited the controversial topics. Dan Brown does this on his website answering the question whether his Da Vinci Code could be called an "anti-Christian" novel:
No. This book is not anti-anything. It's a novel. I wrote this story in an effort to explore certain aspects of Christian history that interest me. The vast majority of devout Christians understand this fact and consider The Da Vinci Code an entertaining story that promotes spiritual discussion and debate. Even so, a small but vocal group of individuals has proclaimed the story dangerous, heretical, and anti-Christian. While I regret having offended those individuals, I should mention that priests, nuns, and clergy contact me all the time to thank me for writing the novel. Many church officials are celebrating The Da Vinci Code because it has sparked renewed interest in important topics of faith and Christian history. It is important to remember that a reader does not have to agree with every word in the novel to use the book as a positive catalyst for introspection and exploration of our faith
The author of popular fiction has a fan community to serve and satisfy. He or she can risk rebuffing both the critical public and its literary experts in their search for interesting readings (as Dan Brown effectively does with his statement on possible readings of his novel). The popular author's position towards his text is generally supposed to be relaxed. Authors of other types of literature are by contrast supposed to be compelled to write. They follow (says the popular mythology) their inner voices, a feeling for injustice, an urge to face a personal trauma, an artistic vision. The authors of popular fiction have their own calling: they must not fail the expectations of their audiences. A covenant of loyalty and mutual respect is the basis on which the author of popular fiction continues his or her work. The typical branches of the production have no contact to mythologies of authorship.
The artificial and arbitrary boundaries between popular and so-called serious literature have blurred in recent years, through the explorations of postmodern and poststructuralist writers, as well as the exploitation of popular literary classics by the film industry. The present landscape of media – with television and the Internet indiscriminately reaching the entire audience – has a potential to destabilize boundaries between the fields. The division lines are, on the other hand, likely to stay intact as the critical discourse continues to need and to produce privileged objects of debate.
J. K. Rowling, 2010
Henning Mankell lecturing at Parkteateret, Oslo 2007
Joyce Carol Oates, 2006
Doris Lessing, Cologne literature festival 2006, Germany
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Genres of the novel
- "Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2 August 2009. "The term novel is a truncation of the Italian word novella (from the plural of Latin novellus, a late variant of novus, meaning "new"), so that what is now, in most languages, a diminutive denotes historically the parent form. The novella was a kind of enlarged anecdote like those to be found in the 14th-century Italian classic Boccaccio's Decameron, each of which exemplifies the etymology well enough."
- The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Nebula Award [dead link] gives the following guidelines: Novel – 40,000 words or more; Novella – 17,500–39,999 words; Novelette – 7,500–17,499 words; Short Story – 7,499 words or fewer. For this purpose, "word" is understood to be five characters plus one space, so, a novel must have at least 240,000 characters-with-spaces, which, in practice, does make about one hundred printed pages, a reasonable length for a novel.
- Cf. a rather unfavourable review in the Irish Independent: "Ian McEwan's new novel has been greeted with unqualified, sometimes ecstatic, praise from every reviewer in Britain, which may strike some readers here as a bit odd when they read the book. For a start, it's not a novel. It's barely even a novella. In some ways it's more a long short story, built around a single event and involving just two characters—if it was a play it would be a one-act two-hander."
- Anne Dacier's translations, 1699 and 1708, turned Homer's verses into prose and generated an uproar among European intellectuals, who were surprised by their archaic tone.
- Good surveys are: John Robert Morgan, Richard Stoneman, Greek fiction: the Greek novel in context (Routledge, 1994), Niklas Holzberg, The ancient novel: an introduction (Routledge, 1995), Gareth L. Schmeling, The Novel in the Ancient World (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 1996) and Tim Whitmarsh (hrsg.) The Cambridge companion to the Greek and Roman novel (Cambridge University Press 2008).
- For the structural analysis see: Hugo Kuhn's 1948 article on Hartmann's von Aue, Erec reprinted in Dichtung und Welt im Mittelalter (Stuttgart, 1959). pp. 133–150. See also: Hans Fromm: "Doppelweg", in: Werk-Typ-Situation, ed. Ingeborg Glier et al. Festschrift Hugo Kuhn (Stuttgart, 1969), pp. 64–79. The structural analysis has been criticised by Elisabeth Schmid, "Weg mit dem Doppelweg. Wider eine Selbstverständlichkeit der germanistischen Artusforschung", in: Erzählstrukturen der Artusliteratur. Forschungsgeschichte und neue Ansätze, ed. Friedrich Wolfzettel (Tübingen, 1999), p.69-85 and by Friedrich Wolfzettel in his, "Doppelweg und Biographie" in: Erzählstrukturen der Artusliteratur. Forschungsgeschichte und neue Ansätze, ed. F. Wolfzettel (Tübingen, 1999), p. 119–141.
- See for a survey of medieval reading practices: Jessica Brantley, Reading in the Wilderness: Private Devotion and Public Performance in Late Medieval England (University of Chicago Press, 2007).
- On Chaucer's tendency to increase the romance's influence see: Joseph Mersand, Chaucer's Romance Vocabulary (New York, 1939); on the competing novelistic fabliaux tradition see: Charles Muscatine, Chaucer and the French Tradition (Berkeley, Los Angeles, 1957).
- The history of the ever-renowned knight Don Quixote de la Mancha containing his many wonderful and admirable achievements and adventures (London: W.O./ H.) is an example here, Wing: 1522:14, today in the possession of the British Library. The title appeared around 1695 without a date, so that it could be sold over any period of time without appearing to be a shelf warmer. The plot was condensed to a mere 24 pages. The prestigious Peter Motteux edition published in 1706 consisted of (to show the contrast) four volumes each of 400 pages.
- The first of these editions was the so-called "Amsterdam Coffee House Edition" published by T. Cox on August 1, 1719. The original Publisher, Taylor, threatened to sue Cox and his customers in The St. James Post (7 August 1719), and repeated his threats in the 2nd edition of vol. 2. Cox replied in The Flying Post (29 October 1719). See H. C. Hutchins, Robinson Crusoe and Its Printing (New York: Columbia University Press, 1925), pp. 99–100/ 142–45.
- The Contes des fées the Comtesse D'Aunois had published in 1698 sold in an English chapbook abridgment with all these promises of the simplified and cheaper reading matter – the translator in the preface: "I did not attempt this with a Design to follow exactly the French Copy, nor have any regard to our English Translation; which to me, are both tedious and irksome. Nor have I begun some of it many Years since: But to make it portable for your walking Diversion, and less Chargeable: and chiefly to set aside the Distances of Sentences and Words, which not only dissolve the Memory, but keep the most nice and material Intrigues, from a close Connexion." The History of the Tales of the Fairies. Newly done from the French (London: E. Tracy, 1716), fol. Arv.
- See on the early modern reception of Greek romances: Georges Molinié, Du roman grec au roman baroque. Un art majeur du genre narratif en France sous Louis XIII (Toulouse, Presses universitaires du Mirail, 1995).
- Though Taylor has stated that he supposes the account to be "just history of fact" this is a direct rendering of what Horace has said about the aims of poetic fictions: "aut prodesse volunt aut delectare poetae", "to instruct and to delight, that is what poets are aiming at", Ars Poetica verse 333.
- Press output statistics would be needed to see how important the political production actually was for the publishers. One would produce them with an estimate of the numbers of sheets printed. A viable solution would be (for the period 1600–1800) to assume standard editions of about 800 copies; the number of sheets a title needed per copy could be deduced from format and page numbers. It is not clear whether it would be technically possible to use the ESTC data to create such a statistic.
- Numbers follow the ESTC classification of "fiction" and have to be seen as arbitrary identifications of "fictions". Searching for dubious histories and works written in what is today perceived as the literary style of novels one is likely to arrive at higher numbers.
- Ian Watt's, The Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Richardson and Fielding (London, 1957) set the phrase and inspired a number of ensuing publications. Major titles are here John J. Richetti, Popular Fiction before Richardson. Narrative Patterns 1700–1739 (1969), Lennard J. Davis, Factual Fictions: The Origins of the English Novel (New York: Columbia University Press, 1983), J. Paul Hunter, Before Novels: The Cultural Contexts of Eighteenth-Century English Fiction (New York: Norton, 1990), and a volume of the journal Eighteenth Century Fiction brought out under the title "Reconsidering The Rise of the Novel" (which appeared in January–April 2000). Research in Aphra Behn, Delarivier Manley, and Eliza Haywood has changed the picture since the 1970s with a focus on the two generations of female authors who dominated the stage into the 1720s. Major studies and text editions have been provided here by Patricia Köster, Ros Ballaster, Janet Todd and Patrick Spedding. A compound story is here Josephine Donovan, Women and the Rise of the Novel, 1405–1726 revised edition (Palgrave Macmillan, 2000).
- "We owe (I believe) this Advantage to the Refinement and Politeness of our Gallantry; which proceeds, in my Opinion, from the great Liberty which the Men of France allow to the Ladies. They are in a manner Recluses in Italy and Spain; and separated from Men by so many Obstacles, that they are scarce to be seen, and not to be spoken with at all. Hence the Men have neglected the Art of Engaging the Tender Sex, because the Occasions of it are so rare. All the Study and Business there, is to surmount the Difficulties of Access; when this is effected, they make Use of the Time, without amusing themselves with Forms. But in France, the Ladies go at large upon their Parole; and being under no Custody but that of their own Heart, erect it into a Fort, more strong and secure than all the Keys, Grates, and Vigilance of the Douegnas. The Men are obliged to make a Regular and Formal Assault against this Fort, to employ so much Industry and Address to reduce it, that they have formed it into an Art scarce known to other Nations. 'Tis this Art which distinguishes the French from other Romances, and renders the Reading of them so Delicious, that they cause more Profitable Studies to be neglected." Pierre Daniel Huet, The History of Romances, transl. by Stephen Lewis (London: J. Hooke/ T. Caldecott, 1715), pp. 138–140.
- The standard study, though problematic with its theory of historical delays, is here Jürgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry Into a Category of the Bourgeois Society , translated by Thomas Burger (MIT Press, 1991).
- The Entertainments of Gallantry: or Remedies for Love. Familiarly discours'd, by a society of persons of quality (London: J. Morphew, 1712) celebrate how easy it has become for private individuals to write little novels – the entire book wants to prove this in the End. For criticism of the new production see the Entertainments pp.74–77, Jane Barker's preface to her Exilius (London: E. Curll, 1715), and George Ernst Reinwalds Academien- und Studenten-Spiegel (Berlin: J. A. Rüdiger, 1720), pp.424–427.
- See for a European perspective: Hugh Barr Nisbet, Claude Rawson (eds.), The Cambridge history of literary criticism, vol. IV (Cambridge University Press 1997); for greater detail Ernst Weber, Texte zur Romantheorie: (1626–1781), 2 vols. (München: Fink, 1974/ 1981) and the individual volumes of Dennis Poupard (et al.), Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800: Critical Discussion of the Works of Fifteenth-, Sixteenth-, Seventeenth-, and Eighteenth-Century Novelists, Poets, Playwrights, Philosophers, and Other Creative Writers (Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research Co, 1984 ff.).
- Ian Watt's The Rise of the Novel (London, 1957) established the standard connections between Defoe, Richardson and Fielding and the 19th-century emergence of literary realism. J. Davis's, Factual Fictions: The Origins of the English Novel (New York: Columbia University Press, 1983) and J. Paul Hunter's Before Novels: The Cultural Contexts of Eighteenth-Century English Fiction (New York: Norton, 1990) substantiated the connection. Feminist research on Defoe's precursors, research on female authors from Aphra Behn and Delarivier Manley revised the picture and coincided with research in the market of French late-17th-century (fictional) memoirs and histories. See e.g. Gustave Reynier, Le Roman réaliste au XVIIe siècle  (Genève: Slatkine Reprints, 1971), Roger Francillon, "Fiction et réalité dans le roman français de la fin du XVIIe siècle", Saggi e ricerche di letteratura francese, vol. XVII, (1978), pp. 99–130, and Günter Berger, "Histoire et fiction dans les pseudo-mémoires de l'âge classique: dilemme du roman ou dilemme de l'historiographie?", Perspectives de la recherche sur le genre narratif français du XVIIe siècle, actes du colloque de Pavie (octobre 1998), Pise-Genève, Edizioni Ets–Éditions Slatkine n° 8 (2000). p.213-226.
- See on connections between the heroical romance and French historical fiction: Camille Esmein, "Le roman héroïque (1640–1680), première théorisation d'un roman historique" in Fiction narrative et hybridation générique dans la littérature française ed. by Hélène Baby (L'Harmattan, 2006).
- See the serious political review of Manley's New Atalantis the Deutsche Acta Eruditorum (1713), vol. 9, p.771-779, and vol. 14, pp. 112–115.
- Compare John Howell, The life and adventures of Alexander Selkirk: Containing the Real Incidents Upon which the Romance of Robinson Crusoe is Founded (Oliver & Boyd, 1829) and Diana Souhami, Selkirk's Island: The True and Strange Adventures of the Real Robinson Crusoe (Harcourt, 2002).
- Volume 1 was reprinted in The Original London Post, or Heathcot's Intelligence, numbers 125–202 (London: 7 October 1719 – 30 March 1720), volume 2 followed with numbers 203-89 (London, 1 April – 18 October 1720). The advertisement for W. Taylor's edition of the second part in no. 202 implies that this was no pirated edition. It is rather likely that Taylor and Defoe allowed the serialization to the disadvantage of the rival pirate publishers.
- The statistic includes a small number of plays that came out as "novels" or "romances" while both words also stood for genres of stories.
- The precise date cannot be determined. John Howell used the word "romance" in 1829 in the title of his The life and adventures of Alexander Selkirk: Containing the Real Incidents Upon which the Romance of Robinson Crusoe is Founded (Oliver & Boyd, 1829). The word "novel" had by that time referred to Robinson Crusoe on the very same ground with the publication of Providence displayed: or, the remarkable adventures of Alexander Selkirk [...] whose adventures was founded the celebrated novel of Robinson Crusoe (Bristol: I. James etc., 1800).
- Huet had gone, however, into this direction with a longer preparation. His De interpretatione libri duo, quorum prior est de optimo genere interpretandi alter de claris interpretibus (1661) had by 1670 become one of the greatest works in the field of theological interpretation.
- The Works of T. Petronius Arbiter [...] second edition [...] made English by Mr. Wilson, Mr. Burnaby, Mr. Blount, Mr. Tho. Brown, Capt Ayloff, and several others (London: S. Briscoe/ J. Woodward/ J. Morphew, 1710). The Works of Lucian, translated from the Greek, by several eminent hands, 2 vols. (London: S. Briscoe/ J. Woodward/ J. Morphew, 1711). See The Adventures of Theagenes and Chariclia [...] written originally in Greek by Heliodorus Bishop of Tricca, in the Fourth Century, 2 vols. (London: W. Taylor/ E. Curll/ R. Gosling/ J. Hooke/ J. Browne/ J. Osborn, 1717).
- A tongue in cheek reference to Huet can be found in The German Rogue: or, The Life and Merry Adventures, Cheats, Stratagems, And Contrivances of Tiel Eulespiegle [...] Made English from the High-Dutch (London, 1720), a German chapbook offered in the new design of a classic according to Huet.
- August Bohse's (alias Talander) preface to the German edition starting in 1710 offers the link between the Arabian Nights and Huet. See: Die Tausend und eine Nacht [...] erstlich vom Hrn. Galland, der Kön. Academie Mitgliede, aus der arabischen Sprache in die frantzösische, und aus selbiger anitzo ins Teutsche übersetzt: erster und anderer Theil. Mit einer Vorrede von Talandern (Leipzig: J. L. Gleditsch/ M. G. Weidmann, 1710).
- Aphra Behn's Love-Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister (1684/ 1685/ 1687) – with her heroine becoming a high-tier prostitute – had explicit sex scenes and nonetheless became a classic that male and female readers of taste could openly praise.
- See for the 17th- and 18th-century philosophical novel: The chapter "The Spinozistic Novel in French", in Jonathan Irvine Israel, Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650–1750 (Oxford University Press, 2002), p.591-599, Roger Pearson, The fables of reason: a study of Voltaire's "Contes philosophiques" (Oxford University Press 1993), Dena Goodman, Criticism in action: Enlightenment experiments in political writing (Cornell University Press 1989), Robert Francis O'Reilly, The Artistry of Montesquieu's Narrative Tales (University of Wisconsin., 1967), and René Pomeau and Jean Ehrard, De Fénelon à Voltaire (Flammarion, 1998).
- On the publishing history of Uncle Tom's Cabin: Claire Parfait, The Publishing History of Uncle Tom's Cabin, 1852–2002 (Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2007).
- In-depth studies are here: Jürgen Fohrmann's Das Projekt der deutschen Literaturgeschichte (Stuttgart, 1989), giving the structure of the following: Olaf Simons, Marteaus Europa, oder Der Roman, bevor er Literatur wurde (Amsterdam/ Atlanta: Rodopi, 2001), p.85-95, and pp. 116–193 and Lee Morissey's, The Constitution of Literature. Literacy, Democracy, and Early English Literary Criticism (Stanford University Press, 2008). For the conceptual change see: Rainer Rosenberg, "Eine verworrene Geschichte. Vorüberlegungen zu einer Biographie des Literaturbegriffs", Zeitschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik, 77 (1990), p.36-65, Richard Terry, "The Eighteenth-Century Invention of English Literature: A Truism Revisited", Journal for Eighteenth Century Studies, 19.1 (1996), p.47-62.
- See for the connection of criticism and the (early) modern nation building: Thomas Docherty, Criticism and Modernity: Aesthetics, Literature, and Nations in Europe and Its Academies (Oxford University Press, 1999) and Terry Eagleton, The Function of Criticism  (Verso, 2005).
- See on the politics of the 19th- and 20th-century canon building: John Guillory, Cultural Capital: The Problem of Literary Canon Formation (University of Chicago Press, 1993) and Mihály Szegedy-Maszák, Literary Canons: National and International (Akadémiai Kiadó, 2001).
- With a special perspective on the censor's interest to establish copyright laws and thus to fix responsibilities, see Lyman Ray Patterson, Copyright in Historical Perspective (Vanderbilt University Press, 1968).
- The entire English book production from 1473 to 1700 became available to experts through Early English Books Online and the production from 1700 to 1800 through Eighteenth Century Collections Online. Gallica France provides similar services for all French readers. Google is currently scanning massive numbers of 19th-century books. Html databases such as Project Gutenberg offer classic fiction. Modern Internet fiction exists on numerous platforms, with a special emphasis on graphic novels.
- As of June 2008, the Potter series has sold more than 400 million copies and has been translated into 67 languages. Guy Dammann (June 18, 2008). "Harry Potter breaks 400m in sales". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media Limited). Retrieved 2008-10-17.
- See the chapters on the war production of the most important German publisher of the period in Saul Friedländer, Norbert Frei, Trutz Rendtorff and Reinhard Wittmann (eds.), Bertelsmann im Dritten Reich (Gütersloh: Bertelsmann, 2002). See also: Hans-Eugen and Edelgard Bühler, Der Frontbuchhandel 1939–1945. Organisationen, Kompetenzen, Verlage, Bücher (Frankfurt am Main: Buchhändler-Vereinigung, 2002).
- See: Andrew Gurr, Writers in exile: the identity of home in modern literature (Brighton, Sussex: Harvester Pr., 1981); John Glad (ed.), Literature in exile (Durham: Duke Univ. Pr., 1990); David Bevan (ed.), Literature and exile (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1990); James Whitlark and Wendell Aycock (eds.) The literature of emigration and exile (Lubbock, Tex: Texas Tech University Press, 1992); and Guy Stern, Literarische Kultur im Exil: gesammelte Beiträge zur Exilforschung (1989–1997) (Dresden: Dresden Univ. Press, 1998).
- See titles like David Cole, The Complete Guide to Book Marketing 2nd edition (Allworth Communications, Inc., 2004) and Alison Baverstock, How to Market Books: The Essential Guide to Maximizing Profit and Exploiting All Channels to Market, 4th edition (Kogan Page Publishers, 2008).
- See: Charles Irving Glicksberg, The Sexual Revolution in Modern American Literature (Nijhoff, 1971) and his The Sexual Revolution in Modern English Literature (Martinus Nijhoff, 1973). On recent trends: Elizabeth Benedict, The Joy of Writing Sex: A Guide for Fiction Writers (Macmillan, 2002). Very interesting with its focus on trivial literature written for the female audience: Carol Thurston, The Romance Revolution: Erotic Novels for Women and the Quest for a New Sexual Identity (University of Illinois Press, 1987).
- Margaret Anne Doody, The True Story of the Novel. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1996, rept. 1997, p. 1. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
- Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature. Kathleen Kuiper, ed. 1995. Merriam-Webster, Springfield, Mass.
- "Essay on Romance", Prose Works volume vi, p.129, quoted in "Introduction" to Walter Scott's Quentin Durward, ed. Susan Maning. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992, p.xxv. Romance should not be confused with harlequin romance.
- "Introduction" to Walter Scott's Quentin Durward, ed. Susan Maning, pp.xxv-xxvii.
- Moers, Ellen. Literary Women: The Great Writers (London: The Women’s Press, 1978)
-  Robert McCrum, "The Hundred best novels: Moby Dick", The Observer, Sunday 12 January 2014.
- Doody (1996), p. 15.
- Doody (1996), pp. 18-3, 187.
- Doody (1996), p. 187.
- Huet, Pierre–Daniel, Traitté de l'origine des romans (1670), Stephen Lewis' 1715 translation, The History of Romances, pp. 3-4. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
- See Johann Friedrich Riederer's "Satyra von den Liebes-Romanen", in: Die abentheuerliche Welt in einer Pickelheerings-Kappe, vol. 2 (Nürnberg, 1718) with descriptions of the diverse situations in which people read novels at the beginning of the 18th century at Marteau.
- György Lukács The Theory of the Novel. A historico-philosophical essay on the forms of great epic literature [first German edition 1920], transl. by Anna Bostock (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1971).
- Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature. Kathleen Kuiper, ed. 1995. Merriam-Webster, Springfield, Mass.
- The Tale of Genji. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 06 Apr. 2014. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/581365/The-Tale-of-Genji>
- The Japanese. Reischauer, Edwin O. Belknap Press. Cambridge, MA 1980. p.49. ISBN 0-674-47178-4.
- Identity in Asian Literature edited by Lisbeth Littrup. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon Press, 1996, p. 3.
- Jon Mcginnis, Classical Arabic Philosophy: An Anthology of Sources, p. 284, Hackett Publishing Company, ISBN .
- Samar Attar, The Vital Roots of European Enlightenment: Ibn Tufayl's Influence on Modern Western Thought, Lexington Books, ISBN .
- Muhsin Mahdi (1974), "The Theologus Autodidactus of Ibn at-Nafis by Max Meyerhof, Joseph Schacht", Journal of the American Oriental Society 94 (2), pp. 232–234.
- The Improvement of Human Reason, exhibited in the life of Hai Ebn Yokdhan: written in Arabic above 500 Years ago, by Abu Jaafar Ebn Tophail [...] newly translated from the original Arabick, by Simon Ockley (London: W. Bray, 1711).
- Encyclopaedia Britannica
- See Heinrich von Veldeke's Eneas Romance written around 1175 or Herbort von Fritzlar's Liet von troye (c. 1195).
- See William Caxton's preface to his 1485 edition.
- See the Annunciations of Robert Campin (c. 1430) ([[:File::Robert Campin 006.jpg|Image]]) and Rogier van der Weyden (c. 1435) (Image).
- See on the authorial function: George Kane, "The Autobiographical Fallacy in Chaucer and Langland Studies," Chambers Memorial Lecture (London: HK Lewis, 1965).
- See: David Lawton, Chaucer's Narrators (Woodbridge, Eng., Dover, NH, 1985).
- The ESTC notes 29 editions published between 1496 and 1785 ESTC search result
- See Rainer Schöwerling, Chapbooks. Zur Literaturgeschichte des einfachen Lesers. Englische Konsumliteratur 1680–1840 (Frankfurt, 1980), Magaret Spufford, Small Books and Pleasant Histories. Pleasant Fiction and its Readership in Seventeenth-Century England (London, 1981) and Tessa Watt, Cheap Print and Popular Piety 1550–1640 (Cambridge, 1990).
- See Guglielmo Cavallo, Roger Chartier, A History of Reading in the West, transl. by Lydia G. Cochrane (University of Massachusetts Press, 2003), and Jennifer Andersen and Elizabeth Sauer, Books and Readers in Early Modern England: Material Studies (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001).
- See Johann Friedrich Riederer German satire on the widespread reading of novels and romances: "Satyra von den Liebes-Romanen", in: Die abentheuerliche Welt in einer Pickelheerings-Kappe, vol. 2 (Nürnberg, 1718). online edition
- The Illustrious and Renown'd History of the Seven Famous Champions of Christendom (London: T. Norris/ A. Bettesworth, 1719), pp. 164–168. See de:Volksbuch for a longer excerpt of the publisher's backlist.
- See Hilkert Weddige, Die "Historien vom Amadis auss Franckreich": Dokumentarische Grundlegung zur Entstehung und Rezeption (Beitrage zur Literatur des XV. bis XVIII. Jahrhunderts ; vol. 2) (Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1975).
- Compare also: Günter Berger, Der komisch-satirische Roman und seine Leser. Poetik, Funktion und Rezeption einer niederen Gattung im Frankreich des 17. Jahrhunderts (Heidelberg: Carl Winter Universitätsverlag, 1984), Ellen Turner Gutiérrez The reception of the picaresque in the French, English, and German traditions (P. Lang, 1995), and Frank Palmeri, Satire, History, Novel: Narrative Forms, 1665–1815 (University of Delaware Press, 2003).
- See Camille Esmein, "Construction et démolition du 'héros de roman' au XVIIe siècle", La fabrique du personnage ed. by Françoise Lavocat, Claude Murcia, Régis Salado (Paris: Honoré Champion éditeur, 2007).
- See Paul Scarron, The Comical Romance, Chapter XXI. "Which perhaps will not be found very Entertaining" (London, 1700) with its call for the new genre. online edition
- See [Du Sieur,] "Sentimens sur l'histoire" in: Sentimens sur les lettres et sur l'histoire, avec des scruples sur le stile (Paris: C. Blageart, 1680) online edition and Camille Esmein's Poétiques du roman. Scudéry, Huet, Du Plaisir et autres textes théoriques et critiques du XVIIe siècle sur le genre romanesque (Paris, 2004).
- See: René Godenne, "L'association 'nouvelle – petit roman' entre 1650 et 1750", CAIEF, n°18, 1966, p.67-78, Roger Guichemerre, "La crise du roman et l'épanouissement de la nouvelle (1660–1690)", Cahiers de l'U.E.R. Froissart, n°3, 1978, pp. 101–106, Ellen J. Hunter-Chapco, Theory and practice of the "petit roman" in France (1656–1683): Segrais, Du Plaisir, Madame de Lafayette (University of Regina, 1978), and the two volumes of La Nouvelle de langue française aux frontières des autres genres, du Moyen-Âge à nos jours, vol. 1 (Ottignies: 1997), vol. 2 (Louvain, 2001).
- See Robert Ignatius Letellier, The English novel, 1660–1700: an annotated bibliography (Greenwood Publishing Group, 1997).
- See the preface to The Secret History of Queen Zarah (Albigion, 1705)– the English version of Abbe Bellegarde, "Lettre à une Dame de la Cour, qui lui avoit demandé quelques Reflexions sur l'Histoire" in: Lettres curieuses de littérature et de morale (La Haye: Adrian Moetjens, 1702) online edition
- DeJean, Joan. The Essence of Style: How the French Invented Fashion, Fine Food, Chic Cafés, Style, Sophistication, and Glamour (New York: Free Press, 2005).
- See: Markus Völkel's study of the entire debate "Pyrrhonismus historicus' und "Fides historica" (Frankfurt: Lang, 1987).
- See Martin Mulsow, "Pierre Bayles Beziehungen nach Deutschland. Mit einem Anhang: ein unveröffentlichtes Gespräch von Bayle", Aufklärung 16 (2004), 233–242. online edition of Stolle's notes
- See his Dom Carlos, nouvelle histoire (Amsterdam, 1672) and the recent dissertation by Chantal Carasco, Saint-Réal, romancier de l'histoire: une cohérence esthéthique et morale (Nantes, 2005).
- Jean Lombard, Courtilz de Sandras et la crise du roman à la fin du Grand Siècle (Paris: PUF, 1980).
- That would be William Taylor, the publisher unless otherwise stated.
- Changed to "disputed" in the third edition
- Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (London: W. Taylor, 1719)
- See Delarivier Manley's account of the affair in her Adventures of Rivella (London: E. Curl, 1714), p.114
- The Rise of the Novel, chapter 2.
- Doody (1996), pp.2-3.
- Doody (1996), p. 1-2.
- The Triumph of the Novel (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976), p.12.
- The Triumph of the Novel, p.12.
- The Rise of the Novel (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1963, p.10.
- See the statistics Inger Leemans offers for the Dutch and French production, Het woord is aan de onderkant: radicale ideeën in Nederlandse pornografische romans 1670–1700 (Nijmegen: Vantilt, 2002), S.359–364. See also for an overview of the German and English early-18th-century production: 
- See for the following: Christiane Berkvens-Stevelinck, H. Bots, P. G. Hoftijzer (eds.), Le Magasin de L'univers: The Dutch Republic as the Centre of the European Book Trade: Papers Presented at the International Colloquium, Held at Wassenaar, 5–7 July 1990 (Leiden/ Boston, MA: Brill, 1992).
- See also the article on Pierre Marteau for a profile of the European production of (not only) political scandal.
- See George Ernst Reinwalds Academien- und Studenten-Spiegel (Berlin: J. A. Rüdiger, 1720), p.424–427 and the novels written by such "authors" as Celander, Sarcander, and Adamantes at the beginning of the 18th century.
- See: Siegfried Seifert, "The learned periodical as the medium of current literary criticism and information in 18th-century Germany", Transactions of the 7th International Congress on the Enlightenment, 2 (1988), p.661-63.
- See Benjamin Wedel, Geheime Nachrichten und Briefe von Herrn Menantes Leben und Schriften (Cologne: Oelscher, 1731, reprint: Zentralantiquariat der DDR, Leipzig 1977).
- See George Alexander Starr, Defoe and Spiritual Autobiography (Princeton: University Press, 1964).
- See Wilhelm Füger, Die Entstehung des historischen Romans aus der fiktiven Biographie in Frankreich und England, unter besonderer Berücksichtigung von Courtilz de Sandras und Daniel Defoe (Munich, 1963).
- See the preface to her Exilius (London: E. Curll, 1715)
- A Handbook of Literary Terms, 7th edition, ed. Harmon and Holman (1995), p.450.
- See the extended excerpt of Stephen Lewis 1715 edition at Traitté de l'origine des romans (1670) for the collection of these statements and further literature.
- See for novels teaching strategies: Vera Lee, Love and strategy in the eighteenth-century French novel (Schenkman Books, 1986), Anton Kirchhofer, Strategie und Wahrheit: Zum Einsatz von Wissen über Leidenschaften und Geschlecht im Roman der englischen Empfindsamkeit (München: Fink, 1995). online edition and the two first context chapters in Olaf Simons, Marteaus Europa, oder Der Roman, bevor er Literatur wurde (Amsterdam, 2001), p.200-207 and pp.259–290.
- The elegant and clearly fashionable edition of The Works of Lucian (London: S. Briscoe/ J. Woodward/ J. Morphew, 1711), would thus include the story of "Lucian's Ass", vol.1 p.114-43.
- See Robert Darnton, The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France (New York: Norton, 1995), Lynn Hunt, The Invention of Pornography: Obscenity and the Origins of Modernity, 1500–1800 (New York: Zone, 1996), Inger Leemans, Het woord is aan de onderkant: radicale ideeën in Nederlandse pornografische romans 1670–1700 (Nijmegen: Vantilt, 2002), and Lisa Z. Sigel, Governing Pleasures: Pornography and Social Change in England, 1815–1914 (January: Scholarly Book Services Inc, 2002).
- See Geoffrey Galt Harpham, On the Grotesque: Strategies of Contradiction in Art and Literature, 2nd ed. (Davies Group, Publishers, 2006).
- See Gerald Ernest Paul Gillespie, Manfred Engel, and Bernard Dieterle, Romantic prose fiction (John Benjamin's Publishing Company, 2008).
- The Bloomsbury Guide to English Literature, ed. Marion Wynne Davis. New York: Prentice Hall, 1990, p.885.
- The Bloomsbury Guide to English Literature, ed. Marion Wynne Davis, p.885.
- The Bloomsbury Guide to English Literature, ed. Marion Wynne Davis, p.884.
- The Norton Anthology of English Literature, vol.2, 7th edition, ed. M. H. Abrams. New York: Norton, 2000, pp. 20-21.
- The Bloomsbury Guide to English Literature, p.885.
- Arthur C. Benson, "Charles Dickens". The North American Review, Vol. 195, No. 676 (Mar., 1912), pp. 381-391.
- Jane Millgate, "Two Versions of Regional Romance: Scott's The Bride of Lammermoor and Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles. Studies in English Literature, 1500–1900, Vol. 17, No. 4, Nineteenth Century (Autumn, 1977), pp. 729-738.
- Lucasta Miller, The Brontë Myth. London: Vintage, 2002.
- Dictionary of Literary Terms & Literary Theory, ed. J. A. Cuddon, 4th edition, revised C. E. Preston (1999), pp. 761.
- For the wider context of 19th-century encounters with history see: Hayden White, Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 1977).
- See Scott Donaldson and Ann Massa American Literature: Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries (David & Charles, 1978), p. 205.
- .Hippolyte Taine, Histoire of English Literature [French 1863] (1864)
- See for the project of a German "Nationalliteratur": Peter Uwe Hohendahl, Building a National Literature: The Case of Germany, 1830–1870 transl. by Renate Franciscono (Cornell University Press, 1989).
- See Ian Hunter, Culture and Government. The Emergence of Literary Education (Basingstoke, 1988).
- See: Sebastian Neumeister und Conrad Wiedemann (eds.), Res publica litteraria: Die Institutionen der Gelehrsamkeit in der frühen Neuzeit (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1987) and Dena Goodman, The Republic of Letters: A Cultural History of the French Enlightenment (Cornell University Press, 1996).
- See Mark Rose, Authors and Owners: The Invention of Copyright 3rd ed. (Harvard University Press, 1993) and Joseph Lowenstein, The Author's Due: Printing and the Prehistory of Copyright (University of Chicago Press, 2002)
- See Susan Esmann, "Die Autorenlesung – eine Form der Literaturvermittlung", Kritische Ausgabe 1/2007 PDF; 0,8 MB.
- See: James Engell, The committed word: Literature and Public Values (Penn State Press, 1999) and Edwin M. Eigner, George John Worth (ed.), Victorian criticism of the novel (Cambridge: CUP Archive, 1985).
- Gene H. Bell-Villada, Art for Art's Sake & Literary Life: How Politics and Markets Helped Shape the Ideology & Culture of Aestheticism, 1790–1990 (University of Nebraska Press, 1996).
- See Richard Altick and Jonathan Rose, The English Common Reader: A Social History of the Mass Reading Public, 1800–1900, 2nd ed. (Ohio State University Press, 1998) and William St. Clair, The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period (Cambridge: CUP, 2004).
- See D. Bruce Hindmarsh, The Evangelical Conversion Narrative: Spiritual Autobiography in Early Modern England (Oxford University Press, 2005), Owen C. Watkins, The Puritan Experience: Studies in Spiritual Autobiography (Routledge & K. Paul, 1972).
- See Gustav Seibt, Goethe und Napoleon. Eine historische Begegnung (München: C. H. Beck, 2008).
- John Barth "The Literature of Exhaustion" (1967)
- Alvin Kernan, The Death of Literature (Yale University Press, 1990).
- Kirschenbaum, Matthew (March 1, 2013). "The Book-Writing Machine: What was the first novel ever written on a word processor?". Slate. Retrieved March 2, 2013.
- Jan-Pieter Barbian, Literaturpolitik im "Dritten Reich". Institutionen, Kompetenzen, Betätigungsfelder, new edition (Stuttgart: dtv, 1995).
- See: Sabrina Hassumani, Salman Rushdie: a postmodern reading of his major works (Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, 2002).
- See e.g. Malise Ruthven, A satanic affair: Salman Rushdie and the rage of Islam (Chatto & Windus, 1990), Girja Kumar, The book on trial: fundamentalism and censorship in India (Har-Anand Publications, 1997) and Madelena Gonzalez, Fiction After the Fatwa: Salman Rushdie and the Charm of Catastrophe (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2005).
- See: Donovan R. Walling, Under Construction: The Role of the Arts and Humanities in Postmodern Schooling (Bloomington, Indiana: Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation, 1997).
- See Paul Brian, Modern South Asian Literature in English (Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Press, 2003).
- See for the rise of postcolonial literatures Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, Helen Tiffin (eds.), The empire writes back: theory and practice in post-colonial literatures (London/ New York: Routledge, 1989), 2nd edition (London/ New York: Routledge, 2002).
- See: Kjell Espmark, The Nobel Prize in literature: a study of the criteria behind the choices (G.K. Hall, 1991), Julia Lovell, The politics of cultural capital: China's quest for a Nobel Prize in literature (University of Hawaii Press, 2006) und Richard Wires, The Politics of the Nobel Prize in Literature: How the Laureates Were Selected, 1901–2007 (Edwin Mellen Press, 2009).
- See James F. English, The Economy of Prestige (2005).
- Data published in The Bookseller and made available at Book Marketing Ltd.
- See the Press Release issued of February 9, 2009.
- See Erwin R. Steinberg (ed.) The Stream-of-consciousness technique in the modern novel (Port Washington, N.Y: Kennikat Press, 1979). On the extra-European usage of the technique see also: Elly Hagenaar/ Eide, Elisabeth, "Stream of consciousness and free indirect discourse in modern Chinese literature", Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 56 (1993), p.621 and P. M. Nayak (ed.), The voyage inward: stream of consciousness in Indian English fiction (New Delhi: Bahri Publications, 1999).
- See for a first survey Brian McHale, Postmodernist Fiction (Routledge, 1987) and John Docker, Postmodernism and popular culture: a cultural history (Cambridge University Press, 1994).
- See Leslie Fiedler's "Cross the border, close the gap!" Playboy (December 1969).
- Roland Barthes, Mythologies  (New York: Hill & Wang, 1987).
- Roland Barthes "The Death of the Author"  in Image, Music, Text (London: Fontana, 1977).
- See Gérard Genette, Palimpsests, trans. Channa Newman & Claude Doubinsky (Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press) and Graham Allan, Intertextuality (London/New York: Routledge, 2000).
- See Linda Hutcheon, Narcissistic Narrative. The Metafictional Paradox (London: Routledge, 1984) and Patricia Waugh, Metafiction. The Theory and Practice of Self-conscious Fiction (London: Routledge 1988).
- This comment was allegedly made by Joyce in October 1921, recalled by Jacques Benoist-Méchin in 1956 before it became a standard with Richard Ellman's biography, James Joyce (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982) p.521.
- Paul Brians in his Notes for Salman Rushdie,The Satanic Verses (1988) Version (February 13, 2004), p.5.
- Raymond Federman, Critifiction: Postmodern Essays, (SUNY Press, 1993).
- See, for example, Susan Hopkins, Girl Heroes: The New Force In Popular Culture (Annandale NSW:, 2002).
- See the page Romance Literature Statistics: Overview (visited March 16, 2009) of Romance Writers of America homepage. The subpages offer further statistics for the years since 1998.
- See Karl Joseph Simrock's edition Sammlung deutscher Volksbücher, 13 vols. (Frankfurt, 1845–67) and Jan Dirk Müller (ed.) in his Romane des 15. und 16. Jahrhunderts, vol. 1 (Frankfurt a. M., 1990).
- See his Popular Fiction before Richardson. Narrative Patterns 1700–1739 (Oxford: OUP, 1969).
- Dan Brown on his website[dead link] visited February 3, 2009.
17th- and 18th-century views
- 1651: Paul Scarron, The Comical Romance, Chapter XXI. "Which perhaps will not be found very Entertaining" (London, 1700). Scarron's plea for a French production rivalling the Spanish "Novels". online edition
- 1670: Pierre Daniel Huet, "Traitté de l'origine des Romans", Preface to Marie-Madeleine Pioche de La Vergne comtesse de La Fayette, Zayde, histoire espagnole (Paris, 1670). A world history of fiction. pdf-edition Gallica France
- 1683: [Du Sieur], "Sentimens sur l'histoire" from: Sentimens sur les lettres et sur l'histoire, avec des scruples sur le stile (Paris: C. Blageart, 1680). The new novels as published masterly by Marie de LaFayette. online edition
- 1702: Abbe Bellegarde, "Lettre à une Dame de la Cour, qui lui avoit demandé quelques Reflexions sur l'Histoire" in: Lettres curieuses de littérature et de morale (La Haye: Adrian Moetjens, 1702). Paraphrase of Du Sieur's text. online edition
- 1705/1708/1712: [Anon.] In English, French and German the Preface of The Secret History of Queen Zarah and the Zarazians (Albigion, 1705). Bellegarde's article plagiarised. online edition
- 1713: Deutsche Acta Eruditorum, German review of the French translation of Delarivier Manley's New Atalantis 1709 (Leipzig: J. L. Gleditsch, 1713). A rare example of a political novel discussed by a literary journal. online edition
- 1715: Jane Barker, preface to her Exilius or the Banish'd Roman. A New Romance (London: E. Curll, 1715). Plea for a "New Romance" following Fénlon's Telmachus. online edition
- 1718: Johann Friedrich Riederer, "Satyra von den Liebes-Romanen", from: Die abentheuerliche Welt in einer Pickelheerings-Kappe, 2 (Nürnberg, 1718). German satire about the widespread reading of novels and romances. online edition
- 1742: Henry Fielding, preface to Joseph Andrews (London, 1742). The "comic epic in prose" and its poetics. online edition
- Erwin Rohde Der Griechesche Roman und seine Vorläufer (1876) [un-superseded history of the ancient novel] (German)
- Lukács, Georg (1971, 1916). The Theory of the Novel. trans. Anna Bostock. Cambridge: M.I.T. Press. Check date values in:
- Bakhtin, Mikhail. About novel. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Ed. Michael Holquist. Trans. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. Austin and London: University of Texas Press, 1981. [written during the 1930s]
- Watt, Ian (1957). The Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Richardson and Fielding. Berkeley: University of Los Angeles Press. Watt reads Robinson Crusoe as the first modern "novel" and interprets the rise of the modern novel of realism as an achievement of English literature, owed to a number of factors from early capitalism to the development of the modern individual.
- Burgess, Anthony (1963). The Novel To-day. London: Longmans, Green.
- Burgess, Anthony (1967). The Novel Now: A Student's Guide to Contemporary Fiction. London: Faber.
- Ben Edwin Perry The Ancient Romances (Berkeley, 1967) review
- Richetti, John J. (1969). Popular Fiction before Richardson. Narrative Patterns 1700–1739. Oxford: OUP. ISBN.
- Burgess, Anthony (1970). "Novel, The" – classic Encyclopædia Britannica entry.
- Miller, H. K., G. S. (1970) Rousseau and Eric Rothstein, The Augustan Milieu: Essays Presented to Louis A. Landa (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970). ISBN 0-19-811697-7
- Arthur Ray Heiserman The Novel Before the Novel (Chicago, 1977) ISBN 0-226-32572-5
- Madden, David; Charles Bane; Sean M. Flory (2006) . A Primer of the Novel: For Readers and Writers (revised ed.). Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-5708-1. Updated edition of pioneering typology and history of over 50 genres; index of types and technique, and detailed chronology.
- Spufford, Magaret, Small Books and Pleasant Histories (London, 1981).
- Davis, Lennard J. (1983). Factual Fictions: The Origins of the English Novel. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-05420-3.
- Spencer, Jane, The Rise of Woman Novelists. From Aphra Behn to Jane Austen (Oxford, 1986).
- Armstrong, Nancy (1987). Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-504179-8.
- McKeon, Michael (1987). The Origins of the English Novel, 1600–1740. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-3291-8.
- Reardon (ed.), Bryan (1989). Collected Ancient Greek Novels. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-04306-5.
- Hunter, J. Paul (1990). Before Novels: The Cultural Contexts of Eighteenth-Century English Fiction. New York: Norton. ISBN 0-393-02801-1.
- Ballaster, Ros (1992). Seductive Forms: Women's Amatory Fiction from 1684 to 1740. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-811244-0.
- Doody, Margaret Anne (1996). The True Story of the Novel. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. ISBN 0-8135-2168-8.
- Relihan, Constance C. (ed.), Framing Elizabethan fictions: contemporary approaches to early modern narrative prose (Kent, Ohio/ London: Kent State University Press, 1996). ISBN 0-87338-551-9
- "Reconsidering The Rise of the Novel," Eighteenth Century Fiction, Volume 12, Number 2-3, ed. David Blewett (January–April 2000).
- McKeon, Michael, Theory of the Novel: A Historical Approach (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000).
- Josephine Donovan, Women and the Rise of the Novel, 1405–1726 revised edition (Palgrave Macmillan, 2000).
- Simons, Olaf (2001). Marteaus Europa, oder, Der Roman, bevor er Literatur wurde: eine Untersuchung des Deutschen und Englischen Buchangebots der Jahre 1710 bis 1720. Amsterdam: Rodopi. ISBN 90-420-1226-9. A market study of the novel around 1700 interpreting contemporary criticism.
- Inger Leemans, Het woord is aan de onderkant: radicale ideeën in Nederlandse pornografische romans 1670–1700 (Nijmegen: Vantilt, 2002). ISBN 90-75697-89-9.
- Price, Leah (2003). The Anthology and the Rise of the Novel: From Richardson to George Eliot. London: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-53939-0. from Leah Price
- Rousseau, George (2004). Nervous Acts: Essays on Literature Culture and Sensibility (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004). ISBN 1-4039-3454-1
- Roilos, Panagiotis, Amphoteroglossia: A Poetics of the Twelfth-Century Medieval Greek Novel (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2005).
- Mentz, Steve, Romance for sale in early modern England: the rise of prose fiction (Aldershot [etc.]: Ashgate, 2006). ISBN 0-7546-5469-9
- Rubens, Robert, "A hundred years of fiction: 1896 to 1996. (The English Novel in the Twentieth Century, part 12)." Contemporary Review, December 1996.
- Schmidt, Michael, The Novel: A Biography (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2014).
- Schultz, Lydia, "Flowing against the traditional stream: consciousness in Tillie Olsen's 'Tell Me a Riddle.'" Melus, 1997.
- Steven Moore, The Novel: An Alternative History. Vol. 1, Beginnings to 1600: Continuum, 2010. Vol. 2, 1600–1800: Bloomsbury, 2013.