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Never Free, Never Me

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By Jackson55
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By around 1700, fiction was no longer a predominantly aristocratic entertainment. The Provençal 12th-century romances and their imitators had already attracted urban connoisseurs who had had the financial means to commission bigger manuscripts in the 14th and 15th centuries. Printed books had soon gained the power to reach readers of almost all classes, though the reading habits differed and to follow fashions remained a privilege. Spain was a trendsetter into the 1630s but French authors superseded Cervantes, de Quevedo, and Alemán in the 1640s. As Huet was to note in 1670, the change was one of manners.[note 12] The new French works taught a new, on the surface freer, gallant exchange between the sexes as the essence of life at the French court. Aristocratic and bourgeois customers sought distinctly French authors to offer the authentic style of conversations in the 1660s.

The situation changed again from 1660s into the 1690s: the French market split. Dutch publishers[55] began to sell works by French authors, published out of the reach of French censors. The publishing houses of The Hague and Amsterdam also pirated the entire Parisian production of fashionable books and thus created a new market of political and scandalous fiction and European fashions. Étienne Roger in Amsterdam published Renneville's L'inquisition Françoise (1715), which was also available in the year of its publication, in English and German. Books of the period boasted of their fame on the international market and of the existence of intermediate translations: "Written originally in Italian and translated from the third edition of the French" is found on title page of Manley's New Atalantis in 1709. A market of European rather than French fashions had arrived in the early 18th century.[56]
Intimate short stories: The Court and City Vagaries (1711).

By the 1680s the fashionable political European production had inspired a second wave of private scandalous publications and generated new productions of local importance. Women authors reported on politics and on their private love affairs in The Hague and in London. German students imitated them and used the relative anonymity they enjoyed in far smaller towns like Jena, Halle and Leipzig, to boast of their private amours in fiction.[57] The market of the metropolitan London, the anonymous international market of the Netherlands, the urban markets of Hamburg and Leipzig generated new public spheres.[note 13] Once private individuals, such as students in university towns and daughters of London's upper class began to use the novel as platform to exhibit their questionable reputations, the public began to call for a reformation of manners. [note 14]

The reform became the main goal of the second generation of 18th-century novelists who, by the mid-century, openly welcomed the change of climate that had first been promoted in journals such as The Spectator. The Spectator Number 10 had stated that the aim was now "to enliven morality with wit, and to temper wit with morality […] to bring philosophy out of the closets and libraries, schools and colleges, to dwell in clubs and assemblies, at tea-tables and coffeehouses"). Constructive criticism of novels had until then been rare.[note 15] The first treatise on the history of the novel had appeared as a preface to a novel, Marie de La Fayette's Zayde (1670). Journals devoted to the sciences could not easily switch to devote themselves to belles lettres,[58] and a distinct secondary discourse developed with a wave of entertaining new journals like The Spectator and The Tatler at the beginning of the century. New "literary journals" like Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's Briefe, die neuste Literatur betreffend (1758) added to this production in the middle of the century with the offer of new, scientific reviews of art and fiction. By the 1780s, reviews constituted a new marketing platform for fiction, and authors and publishers recognized it as such. One could write to satisfy the old market or one could address the authors of secondary criticism and gain an audience through their discussions. It would take yet another generation for the novel to arrive in the curricula of school and university education. By the end of the 18th century, the public perception of the place of a particular novel was no longer supplied simply by social status and fashionable geographical provenance, but by critical media attention.…...

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