Authorship, publication, reception (2): 1660-1750

Robert D. Hume

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines the period between the mid-1680s and 1740, long considered to be the time ‘the rise of the novel’ occurred. Scholars have difficulty separating fiction from factual narrative during this era, as the authors and readers of the time thought of fiction not as the ʼnovel’ but rather as a congeries of disparate and overlapping types: ‘history’, ‘letters’, ‘tale’, ‘romance’, ‘secret history’, ‘memoirs’, ‘true relation’, and the like. Only in the 1740s could one find a publishing environment more familiar to modern observers. Moreover, a recurrent theme of this era is price, to which book historians are usually sensitive, but which literary critics have not tended to consider important. Price is a crucial factor in relation to the length of the book, the author’s remuneration, the publisher’s profit, and the audience that can be reached.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford History of the Novel in English
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 1: Prose Fiction in English from the Origins of Print to 1750
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780199580033
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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