The Novel New: Defoe and Richardson

  • J. A. Bull


The novel, as its name indicates, was regarded as a new phenomenon in its time. The sort of extended prose fiction which became popular in England in the mid eighteenth century was sufficiently different from anything which had preceded it for contemporary commentators including the novelists themselves to remark on the fact. For example, in 1741 Samuel Richardson told Aaron Hill that his first work, Pamela, might possibly ‘introduce a new species of writing’.


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  1. 1.
    See John J. Richetti, Popular Fiction before Richardson (Oxford University Press, 1969), p. aGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    For a historical account see Dorothy George, England in Transition (Penguin edn, 1953), particularly the Appendix, and Chapter 2 of Roy Porter, English Society in the Eighteenth Century (Penguin edn, 1982).Google Scholar

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© J. A. Bull 1988

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