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The Oxford History of the Novel in EnglishVolume 2: English and British Fiction 1750-1820$
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Peter Garside and Karen O'Brien

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199574803

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199574803.001.0001

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(p.3) 1 Production
The Oxford History of the Novel in English

James Raven

Karen O’Brien

Oxford University Press

This introductory chapter discusses the production history of the novel. The revolution in book production across all genres is dramatic. Before 1700 up to about 1,800 different printed titles were issued annually; by 1820 up to 5,500—and this is simply a crude title count that does not consider the huge increases in the edition sizes of certain types of publication, increases that escalated sharply after 1820. It was only in the 1810s that the production of literature, and notably the novel, temporarily faltered. The great majority of the new novels of 1819–20 carried either ‘novel’ or ‘tale’ in their title. Early nineteenth-century British reviewers and advertising booksellers accepted and promoted the ‘novel’ as a distinct literary category, even though it encompassed a great many narrative forms. By 1820, readers were able to enjoy an accumulation of critical studies of the novels and even accounts of their production history and domestic and foreign influences.

Keywords:   book production, printed titles, publication, novel production, novels

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