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date: 19 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This essay examines the place of fiction in eighteenth-century reviewing and the place of reviewing in eighteenth-century fiction. While reviewers might express scorn for many of the novels they reviewed and for their readers, generally assumed to be female, they also paid substantial attention to fiction. Sales of fiction might be substantially unaffected by reviews, but the reviewers’ comments were still seen as influential. Despite all the insults, complaints, and exaggerations, their judgements helped to solidify the position of fiction in the literary world. They also provide for us now a valuable resource for the history of the novel, including insight into the vagaries of literary reputation.

Keywords: novel, reviews, reviewing the novel, history of the novel, literary reputation

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