Reasons why the Novel grew popular in the 18th century England

  • The Spread of Education and New reading public:

The spread of education and the appearance of newspapers led to a remarkable increase in the number of readers. The newspapers, the periodical essays encouraged a rapid, inattentive, almost unconscious kind of reading habit which is exactly required for novel reading. The middle class people assumed a foremost place in English life and history. They wanted to read for pleasure and relaxation without caring for any high classical or literary standards. They did not have any time or patience to read lengthy heroic romances. They wanted to read of their life, motives and struggles reflected in the books. So a new ideal in the eighteenth century, namely, the value and importance of individual life demanded a new type of literature. So the novel was born which mirrored the tastes and requirements of the new class of readers.

  • The Democratic Movement:  

The rise of the middle class is closely related to the democratic movement. With the growth of commerce and industry, the prestige of the old feudal nobility was on the wane and the middle class was steadily increasing in social and political power. The middle class people were inclined to morality, sentiment and reality. The novel reflected the temperament of the middle class and hence became popular.

  • Comprehensiveness of Form:

Novel, a new form of literary art was a sign that literature was beginning to outgrow the cramping limitations of classicism and tradition. It was difficult to reject the authority of the ancients in the epic or drama. In the novel that authority could be ignored. In general, novel affected a fresh field in which the modern writers were able to work independently.

  • New Prose Style:

One of the important causes for the rise of novel is the development of a new prose style. The novel deals with the ordinary life, ordinary people, ordinary events and with all sorts of miscellaneous matter, in a plain, lucid and straight forward style. The modern writers wrote in such a way to express the realities of life. So novel became popular.

  • The Decline of Drama:

It is a literary commonplace that the drama grew as the romance of chivalry declined and the novel grew as the drama declined. Drama, which was the most popular form of literature during the time of renaissance, became artificial, unnatural and immortal during the eighteenth century. The decline of drama led to the development of the development of the novel.

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Kristen Twardowski

A Writer's Workshop

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