Class 10 History

Novel Society and Culture: Rise of Novel and Publishing Market

Rise of Novel

Novel is a modern form of literature. It is born because of print which is a mechanical invention. Novels could reach a larger audience because of print.

Novels began to be written from the seventeenth century and flowered in the eighteenth century. New groups of lower-middle-class; along with the traditional aristocratic and gentlemanly classes in England and France formed the new readership of novels.

With the growing readership, the earnings of authors increased. This made them free from financial dependence on patronage of aristocrats. They became independent to experiment with different literary styles.

Publishing Market

Initially, novels did not come cheap and were out of reach for the poor classes. With the introduction of circulating libraries in 1740; people could get easier access to books. Apart from various innovations in printing, innovations in marketing also helped in increasing the sales and bringing down the prices. For example; the publishers in France realized that they could make high profits by hiring out novels by the hour.

The worlds created by novels were more realistic and believable. While reading a novel, the reader was transported to another person’s world. Novels allowed individuals the pleasure of reading in private. It also allowed the joy of publicly reading and discussing stories. People often got deeply involved in the lives of characters.

In 1836, Charles Dicken’s Pickwick Papers was serialized in a magazine. Magazines were cheaper and illustrated. Moreover, serialization allowed readers to relish the suspense. They could live for weeks in anticipation of the next plot of the story.

World of the Novel

Unlike earlier forms of writing, novels were not about kings or empires rather they were about ordinary people. In the nineteenth century, Europe entered the industrial age. While industrialization created new opportunities of growth and development, it also created new problems for the workers and the city life. It was the ordinary worker, who always suffered in the mad race for profits. Many novelists created stories around the problems of ordinary people in the new cities. Charles Dickens and Emile Zola were the notable authors of this period.