The Eighteenth-century Novel
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The Eighteenth-century Novel book
Any major literary form is a way of interpreting experience-one might say it is a 'shape of experience' -which grows up in a particular phase of civilization and survives that phase, if at all, much altered or with diminished vitality. It resembles a kind of plant life, which flourishes in a particular soil and climate, and usually derives nourishment from other forms which find the same environment congenial. In the eighteenth century the middle classes, partly because their very existence depended on an essentially practical outlook, partly because the Puritan ethic, which influenced them so strongly, suspected fiction as falsification of experience, encouraged forms of writing which were the outcome of daily living and its problems, or recorded the progress of mundane affairs . This was the century when modern journalism took shape, the first great bio-
who manages Robinson's South American estates for him conscientiously during his long absence on the island.