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 s. Before the rise of the literary novel, reading novels had only been a form of entertainment. However, one of the earliest English novels, Daniel Defoe 's Robinson Crusoe , has elements of the romance, unlike these novels, because of its exotic setting and story of survival in isolation.
Crusoe lacks almost all of the elements found in these new novels: wit, a fast narration evolving around a group of young fashionable urban heroes, along with their intrigues, a scandalous moral, gallant talk to be imitated, and a brief, concise plot. The idea of the "rise of the novel" in the 18th century is especially associated with Ian Watt 's influential study The Rise of the Novel The rising status of the novel in eighteenth century can be seen in the development of philosophical  and experimental novels.
Philosophical fiction was not exactly new. Plato 's dialogues were embedded in fictional narratives and his Republic is an early example of a Utopia. The tradition of works of fiction that were also philosophical texts continued with Thomas More 's Utopia and Tommaso Campanella 's City of the Sun However, the actual tradition of the philosophical novel came into being in the s with new editions of More's work under the title Utopia: or the happy republic; a philosophical romance His Zadig and Candide became central texts of the French Enlightenment and of the modern novel.
An example of the experimental novel is Laurence Sterne 's The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman — , with its rejection of continuous narration. In addition to Sterne's narrative experiments, there has visual experiments, such as a marbled page, a black page to express sorrow, and a page of lines to show the plot lines of the book. The novel as a whole focuses on the problems of language, with constant regard to John Locke 's theories in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. 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.
The late 18th century brought an answer with the Romantic Movement's readiness to reclaim the word romance, with the gothic romance , and the historical novels of Walter Scott. Robinson Crusoe now became a "novel" in this period, that is a work of the new realistic fiction created in the 18th century.
Sentimental novels relied on emotional responses, and feature scenes of distress and tenderness, and the plot is arranged to advance emotions rather than action. The result is a valorization of "fine feeling", displaying the characters as models of refined, sensitive emotional effect. The ability to display such feelings was thought at this time to show character and experience, and to help shape positive social life and relationships.
An example of this genre is Samuel Richardson 's Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded , composed "to cultivate the Principles of Virtue and Religion in the Minds of the Youth of Both Sexes", which focuses on a potential victim, a heroine that has all the modern virtues and who is vulnerable because her low social status and her occupation as servant of a libertine who falls in love with her. She, however, ends in reforming her antagonist. Male heroes adopted the new sentimental character traits in the s.
Laurence Sterne 's Yorick , the hero of the Sentimental Journey did so with an enormous amount of humour. These works inspired a sub - and counterculture of pornographic novels, for which Greek and Latin authors in translations had provided elegant models from the last century. The prostitute Fanny Hill learns to enjoy her work and establishes herself as a free and economically independent individual, in editions one could only expect to buy under the counter. Less virtuous protagonists can also be found in satirical novels, like Richard Head 's English Rogue , that feature brothels, while women authors like Aphra Behn had offered their heroines alternative careers as precursors of the 19th-century femmes fatales.
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The genre evolves in the s with, for example, Werther in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 's The Sorrows of Young Werther realising that it is impossible for him to integrate into the new conformist society, and Pierre Choderlos de Laclos in Les Liaisons dangereuses showing a group of aristocrats playing games of intrigue and amorality. By around , fiction was no longer a predominantly aristocratic entertainment, and 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. As Huet was to note in , the change was one of manners.
The situation changed again from s into the s when works by French authors were published in Holland out of the reach of French censors. This led to a market of European rather than French fashions in the early 18th century. By the s fashionable political European novels 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.
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German students imitated them to boast of their private amours in fiction. An important development in Britain, at the beginning of the century, was that new journals like The Spectator and The Tatler reviewed novels.
In Germany Gotthold Ephraim Lessing 's Briefe, die neuste Literatur betreffend appeared in the middle of the century with reviews of art and fiction. By the s such reviews played had an important role in introducing new works of fiction to the public. Influenced by the new journals, reform became the main goal of the second generation of eighteenth century novelists.
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".
Romance for Sale in Early Modern England: The Rise of Prose Fiction - CRC Press Book
Constructive criticism of novels had until then been rare. A much later development was the introduction of novels into school and later university curricula. The theologian had not only dared to praise fictions, but he had also explained techniques of theological interpretation of fiction, which was a novelty. Furthermore, readers of novels and romances could gain insight not only into their own culture, but also that of distant, exotic countries. When the decades around saw the appearance of new editions of the classical authors Petronius , Lucian , and Heliodorus of Emesa.
Also exotic works of Middle Eastern fiction entered the market that gave insight into Islamic culture. The Book of One Thousand and One Nights was first published in Europe from to in French, and then translated immediately into English and German, and was seen as a contribution to Huet's history of romances. The English, Select Collection of Novels in six volumes —22 , is a milestone in this development of the novel's prestige.
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 novels had appeared in the s but became classics when reprinted in collections. New authors entering the market were now ready to use their personal names rather than pseudonyms, including Eliza Haywood , who in following in the footsteps of Aphra Behn used her name with unprecedented pride. 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 , that began in with English author Horace Walpole 's The Castle of Otranto , subtitled in its second edition "A Gothic Story".
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. The authors of this new type of fiction were accused of exploiting all available topics to thrill, arouse, or horrify their audience.
These new romantic novelists, however, claimed that they were exploring the entire realm of fictionality. And 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 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. Hoffmann , Die Elixiere des Teufels , 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 historical romance was also important at this time. But, while earlier writers of these romances paid little attention to historical reality, Walter Scott 's historical novel Waverley broke with this tradition, and he invented "the true historical novel". 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 he gave his subject a deeper imaginative and emotional significance.
In the 19th century the relationship between authors, publishers, and readers, changed. Authors originally had only received payment for their manuscript, however, changes in copyright laws , which began in 18th and continued into 19th century  promised royalties on all future editions. Another change in the 19th century was that novelists began to read their works in theaters, halls, and bookshops. New institutions like the circulating library created a new market with a mass reading public. Another difference was that novels began to deal with more difficult subjects, including current political and social issues, that were being discussed in newspapers and magazines.
The idea of social responsibility became a key subject, whether of the citizen, or of the artist, with the theoretical debate concentrating on questions around the moral soundness of the modern novel. Major British writers such as Charles Dickens  and Thomas Hardy  were influenced by the romance genre tradition of the novel, which had been revitalized during the Romantic period. Many 19th-century authors dealt with significant social matters.
Reading Material in Early Modern England: Print, Gender, and Literacy
In the United States slavery and racism became topics of far broader public debate thanks to Harriet Beecher Stowe 's Uncle Tom's Cabin , which dramatizes topics that had previously been discussed mainly in the abstract. Charles Dickens ' novels led his readers into contemporary workhouses , and provided first-hand accounts of child labor. Similarly the treatment of crime is very different in Fyodor Dostoyevsky 's Crime and Punishment , where the point of view is that of a criminal.
Women authors had dominated fiction from the s into the early 18th century, but few before George Eliot so openly questioned the role, education, and status of women in society, as she did. As the novel became a platform of modern debate, national literatures were developed that link the present with the past in the form of the historical novel. Alessandro Manzoni 's I Promessi Sposi did this for Italy, while novelists in Russia and the surrounding Slavonic countries, as well as Scandinavia , did likewise.
Along with this new appreciation of history, the future also became a topic for fiction. This had been done earlier in works like Samuel Madden 's Memoirs of the Twentieth Century and Mary Shelley 's The Last Man , a work whose plot culminated in the catastrophic last days of a mankind extinguished by the plague.
Edward Bellamy 's Looking Backward and H. Wells 's The Time Machine were concerned with 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 of wide debate. James Joyce 's Ulysses 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, or a " stream of consciousness ".
This term was first used by William James in and, along with the related term interior monologue , is used by modernists like Dorothy Richardson , Marcel Proust , Virginia Woolf , and William Faulkner.