I’m afraid I’ve become jaded. Rarely do the newest of fiction and nonfiction books, and even poetry, speak to me as they once have. Lately I’ve had to force myself to read them, something you might glean from the rare reviews I’ve been posting. What’s wrong? Is it me? Have I simply read too many…
There was a public demand for the novel. With the expansion of the middle class by the middle of the 18th century, more people could read and they had money to spend on literature.
There was already a high interest in autobiography, biography, journals, diaries, memoirs. Alexander Pope’s dictum that “The proper study of mankind is man” led to increased interest in the human character.
The early English novel departs from the allegory and the romance with its vigorous attempt at verisimilitude and it was initially strongly associated with the middle class, their pragmatism, and their morality.