Subgenres of the Novel from 1830 to 1837

  • Elliot Engel
  • Margaret F. King
Part of the Macmillan Studies in Victorian Literature book series (MSVL)


Not surprisingly, the market for fiction during William iv’s reign was dominated by historical novels; it was both a history-making and a history-loving epoch.1 These pre-Victorian Victorians had inherited the Romantics’ nostalgia for the past, an appreciation of both its uniqueness and its organic relationship to the present. But in these very earliest post-Romantic years, the fascination with past ages was intensified by a consciousness that industrial technology and reformist legislation (most notably the Reform Bill of 1832) were propelling England into a future so remote from the manners, values and simplicity of the past that they could never be retrieved — except in the imagination of writer and reader.


Dinner Party Historical Fiction Realistic Detail Realistic Fiction Fashionable Society 
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Notes and References

  1. 2.
    Avrom Fleishman, The English Historical Novel (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1971) pp. 23, 28.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    George Henry Lewes, Westminster Review, 45 (1846) 35.Google Scholar
  3. 13.
    Andrew Sanders, The Victorian Historical Novel, 1840–1880 ( London: Macmillan, 1978 ) pp. 49–50.Google Scholar
  4. 19.
    William Harrison Ainsworth, Crichton (London: Routledge & Sons, 1880) p. 104. All future citations will be to this edition.Google Scholar
  5. 21.
    G. P. R. James, Attila, or the Huns (London: Sims and M’Intyre, 1852) p. 217. All future citations will be to this edition.Google Scholar
  6. 34.
    Michael Sadleir, The Strange Life of Lady Blessington ( New York: Farrar, Straus, 1947 ) p. 198.Google Scholar
  7. 43.
    Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (Yale University Press, 1979) p. 29.Google Scholar
  8. 53.
    Bonnie Rayford Neumann, Robert Smith Surtees ( Boston: Twayne, 1978 ) p. 48.Google Scholar
  9. 54.
    Anonymqus, New Monthly Magazine, 48 (1836) 234.Google Scholar
  10. 55.
    Robert Smith Surtees, Jorrocks’s Jaunts and Jollities ( London: Ackermann, 1843 ) p. 162.Google Scholar
  11. 56.
    Theodore Hook, Maxwell (London: Bentley, 1849) p. 117. All future citations will be to this edition and will be given in the text.Google Scholar
  12. 57.
    Theodore Hook, The Parson’s Daughter 3 vols (London: Bentley, 1833) ill, p. 127.Google Scholar
  13. 61.
    G. K. Chesterton, Charles Dickens: The Last of the Great Men ( New York: Press of the Reader’s Club, 1942 ) p. 72.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Elliot Engel and Margaret F. King 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elliot Engel
  • Margaret F. King

There are no affiliations available

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