The 18th century novel: commercial and cultural buzz - EXPeditions

The 18th century novel: commercial and cultural buzz

by John Mullan
  • Key point 1
    After the Licensing Act lapsed in 1695, anyone with the capital and entrepreneurial spirit to set up a printing press could do so. Literature then became something that got bought and sold.
  • Key point 2
    Having noticed the fashion for travellers’ tales, Daniel Defoe published Robinson Crusoe in 1719, which is regarded today as the first proper novel in English.
  • Key point 3
    Published in 1740, Samuel Richardson’s Pamela marks the beginning of the rise of the novel. With its moral earnestness, it makes fiction respectable.