Licensing Entertainment: The Elevation of Novel Reading in Britain, 1684–1750

Front Cover
University of California Press, Sep 10, 1998 - Literary Criticism - 325 pages
Novels have been a respectable component of culture for so long that it is difficult for twentieth-century observers to grasp the unease produced by novel reading in the eighteenth century. William Warner shows how the earliest novels in Britain, published in small-format print media, provoked early instances of the modern anxiety about the effects of new media on consumers.

Warner uncovers a buried and neglected history of the way in which the idea of the novel was shaped in response to a newly vigorous market in popular narratives. In order to rein in the sexy and egotistical novel of amorous intrigue, novelists and critics redefined the novel as morally respectable, largely masculine in authorship, national in character, realistic in its claims, and finally, literary. Warner considers early novelists in their role as entertainers and media workers, and shows how the short, erotic, plot-driven novels written by Behn, Manley, and Haywood came to be absorbed and overwritten by the popular novels of Defoe, Richardson, and Fielding. Considering these novels as entertainment as well as literature, Warner traces a different story—one that redefines the terms within which the British novel is to be understood and replaces the literary history of the rise of the novel with a more inclusive cultural history.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

The Rise of the Novel in the Eye of Literary History
1
Behns Love Letters
45
Manleys
88
The Antinovel Discourse and Rewriting Reading in Roxana
128
The Pamela Media Event
176
Joseph Andrews as Performative Entertainment
231
The Freedom of Readers
277
Chronology of the Pamela Media Event
295
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1998)

William B. Warner is Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of Chance and the Text of Experience: Freud, Nietzsche, and Shakespeare's "Hamlet" (1986) and coeditor with Deidre Lynch of Cultural Institutions of the Novel (1996).

Bibliographic information