chapter  6
Literary Contexts and A erlives
Pages 22

For many students and teachers of literature, it is the silver fork novel’s place in literary history – rather than the individual texts themselves – that holds the most interest. To that end, then, I would like to conclude by situating the silver fork novel within the context of nineteenth-century literary history and considering some of the genres that both preceded and followed it. Silver fork novels played a marked role in the development of nineteenth-century ction, forming a link between the novel of manners and later works of Victorian ction and inspiring a second-wave of fashionable ction in the latter half of the nineteenth century. As Richard Cronin explains, ‘ e fashionable novels of the 1830s are no longer much read, and yet they have at least a historical importance. It is through them that we can most easily trace a line that joins Byron and Jane Austen with the major Victorian novelists.’2 Similarly, Tamara Wagner writes, ‘ e silver fork novel, or novel of fashionable highlife, played a much more in uential role in the development of nineteenth-century literature than has commonly been acknowledged’.3 Silver fork authors established practices for engaging with the world of fashion in its material, social and theoretical forms that served as templates for later writers, particularly those looking to replicate the silver fork novel’s success in the popular marketplace.