M. O. Grenby
This essay investigates the conservative, loyalist fiction published in Britain during the French Revolution and its aftermath. A substantial number and a wide variety of these novels were published: long and short, propagandistic and philosophical, for adults and children and by obscure and well-known authors. The essay identifies and analyses the principal structures and themes of anti-Jacobin fiction, and closely examines a representative sample. It assesses their contribution to the ‘war of ideas’ and considers how they fit into larger histories of the novel.
Walter Scott’s historical novel achieved unprecedented success, and almost single-handedly propelled the novel as a genre into the literary field. A potent synthesis of history, romance, theory, and antiquarianism, the Waverley Novels rewrote contemporary modes of historical and national romance through a thematic of the heterogeneity of historical time. They answered to a new historical sensibility in a post-Revolutionary era of expanding readership; helped to forge a new British national identity; and were instrumental in reconfiguring literary culture for their time.
Melissa J. Homestead
The beginnings of the American novel form the basis of this article. It traces the birth of novel as a genre in the American heartland. Edward Kimber recorded his experiences of New England in his work titled Itinerant Observations in America. This phenomenal work was to influence Susana Rowson. More than two decades after Edward Kimber crossed the Atlantic from England to the colonies, young Susanna made her first transatlantic crossing in 1766, four years after her birth in Portsmouth, England, to join her father in America. Rowson, like Kimber, made American people and places the subject of a novel first published in London, Charlotte, A Tale of Truth (1791). Her novel features a central character who crosses the Atlantic at a young age under duress. A comparative study between the English novel and its American counterpart winds up this article.
Kevin J. Hayes
The life, works, and contribution of Benjamin Franklin is the focus of this article. Sailing for England in 1724 aboard the London Hope two months prior to his nineteenth birthday, Benjamin Franklin looked forward to seeing London, where he planned to acquire a printing press. Once in England, Franklin discovered that there were no letters and no patrons. He started working for a printing press and started writing. He wrote and printed A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity (1725), a pamphlet taking issue with William Wollaston's Religion of Nature Delineated (1722). Franklin repudiated the ideas he expressed in the Dissertation in an essay entitled “On the Providence of God in the Government of the World” (1732), but the Dissertation remains important in terms of his biography. This article further discusses several other compositions of Franklin and the impact such writings had on society at large.
This essay provides an overview of the publishing context at the turn of the eighteenth century out of which the novel would emerge, including the development and early dominance of the London book, before going on to describe the conditions for the spread of printing and bookselling nationally from 1695 onwards. As well as considering book production, the essay examines readers’ experiences in the period, looking at the testimony of individual, historical readers, and some specific genres of writing—such as diaries, autobiographies, and collections of letters—often considered important for the emergence of the novel form. The essay then turns to establish the ‘conceptual horizons’ of readers’ expectations with regard to fiction—horizons which authors could work within or seek to challenge and push further by innovating new forms of literary expression, the novel amongst them.
The British book trade evolved into a fully modern industry during this period. Its modernity was signalled by more effective copyright laws, clearer divisions of labour and responsibility, and the emergence of publishing as a distinctive branch of the trade. The period saw a significant increase in the publication of fiction as a purely commercial phenomenon. Publishers, booksellers, the owners of circulating libraries, and authors all benefited from this. New and more standardized formats developed, including the ‘three-decker’ and the one-volume cheap reprint, which were to characterize much of the nineteenth-century fiction industry, and at the same time the old practice of serial publication was revived from the early 1830s onwards in several forms. Fiction publishing was a business—and by the end of the period it was a commercially significant business.
Michael F. Suarez S.J.
The eighteenth century witnessed a remarkable proliferation of print, with annual publications in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland increasing by more than 350 per cent from the first decade to the last. This chapter relates the growth in novel publishing between 1695 and 1774 to population growth and the growth in literacy. Recent research links the book trade keeping prices artificially high to readers’ consumption of novels as luxury products and evidence of social status. This trend is considered, along with remuneration for authors; the market for fiction; Irish reprints; continuations and spin-offs; abridgements and serializations; translations; circulating libraries; and the significance of book history to understanding the emergence and development of the novel.
The advent of statutory copyright in eighteenth-century England raised questions about ensuring access to the materials that writers need to produce new books. The public domain did not spring into being as the obverse of the rights afforded by the Act of Anne (1710), nor was it created by nineteenth-century doctrines such as fair use; rather, it developed out of practices and assumptions predating the Act of Anne and others that emerged in the statute’s wake. To explore these ideas, this chapter considers booksellers’ and authors’ conceptions of copyright as property, the metaphors proposed by advocates of anti-piracy measures, arguments about copyright’s duration and its basis in the common law, and analogies between copyright and patent law during this period. Finally, the chapter discusses the booksellers’ strategic litigation in the equity courts, where pleading could rely on imaginative premises that, in some respects, rival those of contemporaneous novelists.
David J. Carlson
The basis of this article is the letters from an American farmer. First published in London in 1782, J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur's Letters from an American Farmer represents something of an odd case in the canon of early American writing. A work that appears to straddle the line between fiction and non fiction, written by a transplanted Frenchman of ambiguous political leanings, Letters has been variously ignored, challenged, and embraced as a vital cornerstone of the national literature of the United States. DH Lawrence's archetypal reading of Farmer James is perhaps best appreciated for its canny anticipation of the political considerations that would drive the renaissance of Crèvecoeur's literary reputation during the middle decades of the century. The emergence of American studies as a field during the 1940s and 1950s provided the vital context in which Letters was finally established as a classic formulation of the ideal of the ethnic melting pot.
This essay examines the reception of the French novel in Britain in the long eighteenth century and argues that prose fiction in the period developed through translation. Through case studies of novelist-translators, and some of the most important and influential French fictions such as La Fayette’s La Princesse de Clèves (1678), Marivaux’s La Vie de Marianne (1731–42), Rousseau’s Julie, ou la Nouvelle Héloïse (1761), and Genlis’s Adèle et Théodore (1782), the essay focuses on the French novel in translation, and on British readers of these fictions. Particular attention is paid to women translators, a largely neglected group. Moreover, the roman de sensibilité is prioritized over the roman-à-thèse, since it is through these largely forgotten and now unfashionable works that the ways in which fiction criss-crossed the Channel in the long eighteenth century can best be observed.
The sentimental strain in English fiction, which represents men of feeling and women of sensibility engaging in acts of sympathy and benevolence, became prominent in the 1760s through the novels of Charlotte Lennox, Oliver Goldsmith, Laurence Sterne, Henry Mackenzie, and others, building primarily on the work of Samuel Richardson and Henry and Sarah Fielding. The reformation of male manners, the feminization of taste and consumption, the grounding of ethics in human nature rather than rationalism or faith, and the emergence of a theory of moral sensibility all contributed to the popular reception of sentimental fiction. Frances Burney’s first two novels, Evelina and Cecilia, successfully combined sentiment with the comedy of Fielding and the moral sententiousness of Richardson, but in the third, Camilla, Burney felt the pressure of an increasing taste for realism, which eventually lessened the predominance, though it did not entirely eliminate, the sentimental form.
Kevin J. Berland
This article throws light on the idea of individualism and the expression of individuality. Titled ‘Diaries’, this article focuses on the importance of records in the form of diaries. The etymology of the term “diary” goes back to the Latin for “daily”. Generally, diaries record events in a regular sequence, most often on a regular daily basis, with the act of writing not far removed in time from when documented occurrences took place. Accounts written long afterward are usually designated as memoirs or autobiographies. Diaries are supposed to be immediate, comprehending both personal eyewitness observation and a register of the diarist's responses and thoughts about the occurrences observed. This article delves into the details of almanacs such as Nathan Bowen's series, The New England Diary, or, Almanack (Boston, 1722–1737), and Nathaniel Ames's An Astronomical Diary, or, An Almanack (1726–1764). By 1750 more than fifty distinct almanacs came out every year.
Kevin J. Hayes
This article focuses on life and work of Dr. Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton happened to spent a night with The Adventures of Joseph Andrews (1742), Joseph Andrews' seminal work and the first comic novel in the history of English Literature. Gradually Hamilton went on to compose his own work and embark on voyages. The History of the Ancient and Honourable Tuesday Club, the fictionalized proceedings of the Annapolis club that Hamilton founded, is to American literature what The History of Tom Jones (1749) is to English literature. Unlike Fielding, who established a sizable contemporary following, Hamilton, save for his pseudonymous contributions to the Maryland Gazette, was read solely by a close-knit group of friends. The history behind the establishment of the Tuesday Club is recorded in detail in this chapter. The concluding part of the article constitutes the history of the fictionalized club and the contribution of Dr. Hamilton to American literature.
Susan Clair Imbarrato
Early American autobiography is the main focus of this article. Autobiographical writings in early America tell us how individuals lived and imagined themselves within an evolving culture and amid a challenging environment. Explorers, statesmen, and travelers conveyed their findings and experiences to report discoveries, express gratitude for patronage, or illustrate divine Providence. With an emphasis on personal perspective, autobiography would seem closely aligned with American literature that values and celebrates the self. The study of this genre involves the study of the conditions for using the first person voice to express matters spiritual and secular, the general composition of an autobiographical text, and the sources for early American autobiography. Early American autobiography develops at the intersection of geographic, cultural, political, and religious change that values individual accomplishment yet prefers it to be expressed with modesty. Such texts range across class, gender, ethnicity, and creed to anchor our historical understanding of migration, settlement, rebellion, and nation building with valuable insight.
A discourse on early American slave narratives is the essence of this article. Early American slave narratives shed light on the successful strategies used by black narrators for telling their stories. Their narrative strategies significantly influenced how such critical issues as religion, politics, commerce, and captivity have been articulated. Once considered as marginally black, slave narratives reflect the distinct voice of black American identity. They appropriate yet subvert a variety of important literary genres, including captivity narratives and spiritual autobiography. Briton Hammon's Narrative of the Uncommon Sufferings, and Surprizing Deliverance of Briton Hammon, A Negro Man (1760); Ukawsaw Gronniosaw's Narrative of the Most Remarkable Particulars in the Life of James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw, An African Prince (1772) are some examples of this genre. Written by blacks, these narratives assert the identities of their authors even as they question the very meaning of identity and the possibilities of language to convey it.
This chapter surveys Charles Brockden Brown’s early biography into five sections. The first provides background on eighteenth-century Quaker history and culture in Philadelphia, including the unlawful arrest and banishment of Elijah Brown, Charles’s father. The second section reviews Brown’s youth, adolescence, and education. The third discusses his law apprenticeship from 1787 to 1793, a period during which he participated in literary clubs, experimented with writing, and developed meaningful friendships. His letters during these years show interest in a variety of moral issues and sometimes critique traditional tenets of Christianity. The fourth section discusses Brown’s early publications and his manuscript epistolary narratives. The final section focuses on the years 1793–1795, when Brown strengthened connections with the New York intellectual circle and distanced himself from his Philadelphia social network, culminating in a cogent rejection of Christianity.
Jayne Elizabeth Lewis
Integral to both Anglican liturgy and nonconformist devotional practice in the eighteenth century, the “Englished” Psalm supplied a common currency between competing but increasingly compatible confessional groups. The Psalms also turn up everywhere in emergent, nonreligious literary genres. In both settings, the Psalms calibrated signature speech acts of imprecation, petition, and praise with lexical praxes that a commercialized print culture made not only possible and common but visible and adjustable by individual writers and readers. A novel experimental culture of the English Psalms held unprecedented potential to turn class, credal, and historical division into unity but also posed uniquely “modern” perils. While the Psalms could now be experienced directly as sources of freedom and pleasure available to a wide range of Christian readers and writers, they also potentially transferred the experience of pleasure from a many-personed God to printed English words.
Jerrold E. Hogle
This article deals with the Gothic, and seeks to broaden the generic horizon of the study of elegy. It also argues that the relationship of the elegy to the Gothic and vice-versa is much more symbiotic, more rooted in deep-seated common grounds, than both their immediate similarities and their obvious differences might suggest. Gray, Richard Bentley, and Walpole revise the elegy and instigate a revisionist ‘Gothic’. John Milton proves to be just as influentially Janus-faced in his extremely classical and thoroughly rebellious use of the funereal pastoral elegy. Gothic works continue to be fed by the elegy, and they therefore continue to find new methods for drawing the inconsistent belief-systems of the times into the vital quest to keep generating meanings in the face of personal and cultural death.
This chapter explores the cultural logic of the Enlightenment as it manifested in the literature of the period, paying particular attention to new idioms of reason, to the imaginary voyage and its metaphorical apprehension of the Other, new vistas of the very large and the very small, which set in motion the mode that later became science fiction. Various texts are discussed, including detailed readings of Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726) and Voltaire’s “Micromégas” (1752).
This chapter analyzes the market for the English novel at the end of the 1760s. As far as British fiction is concerned, there were peaks and troughs during the 1760s rather than a steady upward curve, but by the end of the century getting on for 100 new novels were appearing annually in contrast to the forty listed for the year 1770. What was being offered to the reading public during the period were ‘Probable Feign’d Stories’ satisfying the most basic requirements of what Ian Watt called ‘formal realism’, a development in which Henry Fielding played an influential role. The chapter shows that, at the end of the 1760s, the British novel was patently flourishing, thanks in large part to the publishing of several innovative forms of prose fiction such as the Gothic and the sentimental novel.