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Rise of the Novel during 18th century

Novel as a literary genre emerged in the beginning of the 18th century. It also can be said that paved the way to the rise of the middleclass and it also created demand for the people’s desire for reading topics related to their everyday experience. The novel therefore developed as a piece of prose fiction that presented characters in real life events and situation.


Daniel Defoe’s ROBINSON CRUSOE and Henry Fielding’s TOM JONES are some of early English novels. The novel is a realistic prose fiction in such a way that it can demonstrate its relation to real life.

The eighteen century great novels are semi anti romantic and it was the first time that the novels emerged and distributed rapidly and widely among the readers. With the increase of the literacy, the demand of reading incased rapidly among well – to – do women, who were novels readers that time.

During that period theatre was not such realistic form of entertainment but novel was, due to its large audience it spread all over the country-houses. Age-related social and intellectual currents were intertwined to produce something fresh and novel. The perpetrators of the event took on a distinct identity; their complexity and the pressures of society were intricately described. When people wanted to know the story of those who are not too different from themselves, in a community recognizably kin to their own, then the novel was born.

There are also other reason and factors that influenced the rise of the novel. One of such was the development of the mobile library through trade, which advanced its development. The emergence of the English novel had a profound impact on the social context and social circumstances of middle-class life.

These people were obtaining their education, but it was less exclusively classical in context than the education of the upper-class. Women readers were considered as a crucial f actor in providing readership.

A better education for women was coincided with a period of great leisure for women left a time space, which needed to be filled in. Both men and women were open to literary genres that would introduce them to contemporary and actual realities outside of their own.

The production of newspaper in the eighteenth century is evidence on the rise of the novel and so in popularity of the periodicals. The readers were introduced by the novelists to new social worlds, providing the moral frame work. The novel is lengthy because it deals with the present details in a way that no other work of fiction before it has.

As a result, strange plots and concepts of heroic tragedy underwent numerous rational changes in the eighteenth century.
DANIEL DEFOE described “The great plague of London” in the journal of the plague year (1722), then his Robinson crusoe in (1719), a better and more famous book.  The book's plot was based on an actual event.

Printing was the second important factor that contributed to the rise of the English novels. The modern novels were the child of the printing press, which alone can produce the vast numbers of copies needed to satisfy literate publication up rise that they can pay for.
The third component was a market economy. In contrast to past means of funding publications or supporting authors like patronage or subscription, the sociology of the novel is heavily based on a market relationship between author and reader, mediated through publications. It lessens the writer's immediate reliance on particular people, groups, or interests and increases his relative freedom and isolation.

There have been attempts to write novels, but those efforts have not been as successful, possibly because of the work's elements and style. However, DANIEL DEFOE and other authors were able to successfully introduce the novel into society with the aid of the reading public, the rise of the middle class, printing presses, travel, and market economies. Due to the existence of romance and picaresque novels, the novel has risen in popularity.


By-
Sriparna Mukherjee
Amity University, Kolkata

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