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Literature in the Regency Era

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Brianna Bonte

on 17 December 2015

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Transcript of Literature in the Regency Era

Charles Dickens was the author who started this style of publishing
It began when he published "Pickwick Papers" in 20 parts between 1836 and 37
Dickens kept up this style of publishing until his death, so unfortunately he left "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" unfinished
In the 19th century, people read novels the way we watch TV now
Now we watch it in weekly increments and they read novels in monthly increments
They were published in magazines and in newspapers
Serial Novels
19th Century Libraries
Although libraries were very popular in the lifestyles of people with a lot of money and extra time, they still created relatively cheap acess to books for the lower class
they served as a place for a woman to " ...add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading" and a place for them to see other women and be seen
Libraries became essentially daytime lounges
Jane Austen
Jane Austen is among the most famous authors of the Regency Period
She is considered to be a part of the "Romantic Movement"
Pros and Cons
It was great because it made reading more affordable
so reading was introduced to a new class and became more prevalent
Initially the novels were published in stand alone installments that were called part issues and cost a shilling
So when magazines began serializing novels, customers could get two novel installments for the price of one
Thus creating a popular, affordable format of reading
Literature in the Regency Era

Other authors followed suit including George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Anthony Trollope and William Makepeace Thackeray
The trend caught on in North America with authors Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mark Twain, William Dean Howells and Henry James
The downsides were deadlines
Authors would often miss their deadline and readers would not get their weekly installment
Other issues that arose would be content of the actual novel
Authors including Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Hardy sometimes included "offensive" scenes in their work and their contract with the magazine or newspaper would be dropped
Leaving readers very upset and unsatisfied
Later in the 19th century, circulating libraries played a huge role in popularizing the three volume novel
When a novel was published in three parts, it meant that the library could divide a book between three patrons, and they could charge more for patrons who wished to borrow all three volumes at once
So it benefited both the customer and the library
"...she had raced guiltily through her newly acquired book, which was volume one of two, and which was, she was sure of it, not quite respectable...
was clearly for private contemplation" (p. 58,
"triple decker" novels began to deplete in the late 19th century when Mudie and Smith stopped purchasing them
Although charging customers more for taking out all three volumes at once made up for some of the expenses of buying three seperate volumes, it was still relatively expensive for the library owners
Notable Works
Sense and Sensibility
Pride and Prejudice
Mansfield Park
Northanger Abbey
Lord George Gordon Noel Byron
Popular Works
Lord Byron wrote romantic poems and satire
the first cantos of "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" were pubished during the Regency Period
The first two cantos of "Don Juan" were published in 1819
He and Mary Shelley were considered "scandalous" writers of their time
Most notably for Byron because of "Don Juan"
"Till, after cloying the gazettes with cant, The age discovers he is not the
true one
; Of such as these I should not care to vaunt; I'll therefore take our ancient friend
Don Juan
He completed 16 cantos and left the 17th unfinished when he died
Because of the ambiguous ending, many people argue whether he had an ending in sight or would have continued it as an ongoing "comic" until people lost interest
Mary Shelley
The summer of 1816, while on vacation with her husband, Percey Shelley, her step-sister Claire Clairmont and close friend Lord Byron, Byron dared that they all try their hand at writing a horror novel after all reading ghost stories together
But Mary Shelley took this dare seriously
That same year, she penned her most famous work, Frankenstein which was later published in 1818 and proved very popular
James Fordyce
James Fordyce wrote Sermons to Young Women (Fordyce's Sermons) which was published in 1766
Although published in the 18th century, it was very popular during the Regency Period as seen in Pride and Prejudice
Fordyce's sermons were clearly popular considering it made it to its 6th ed. the same year it was published
Fordyce instructs women to be dutiful, submissive and modest in dress and behaviour: ‘Meekness, cultivated on Christian principles, is the proper consummation, and highest finishing, of female excellence’. Women should also be sensitive: the 'better kind of woman' will ‘melt into tears at the sight or hearing of distress’. At the same time, they should appear as elegant and attractive as possible, since beauty is a gift from God (p. 12)
." (www.bl.uk.com)
A Vindication of the Rights of Women
(1792), Mary Wollstonecraft [Shelley] critiques
Sermons for Young Women
. "She objects to Fordyce’s suggestion that the highest reward for female virtue is male attention; she also objects to his belief that if a husband becomes indifferent, it is because his wife is insufficiently submissive and forgiving " (www.bl.uk.com).
But men should not feel left out because Fordyce published
Addresses to Young Men
in 1777, which is the equivalence to Sermons to Young Women for males
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