Foundations of 19th Century English Literature

In England in the 1790’s, for the first time in history, novels written strictly to entertain, were being printed on moveable type presses in large quantities for sale to the general public. The most popular genre among this flood of books being sold were the Gothic Romances. These tales, usually written by women, influenced a whole generation of English readers – and influenced the next generation of English writers, including Jane Austen. Her first completed novel (although not the first one published) was a combination of homage and parody of the Gothic Romances she had loved to read as a girl. Jane Austen went on to establish forever the form of the realistic novel which dominated the literature of the 19th century, but the roots of her work were firmly set in the Gothic Romances of the 18th century.

Click here to download a PDF of a presentation on The Foundations of 19th Century Literature I gave at the Missouri University Life-Long Learning Institute on March 23, 2018.

Join Our Newsletter