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In praise of fiction

Prefaces to Romances and Novels 1650-1760

Baudouin Millet

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Prefaces are perhaps the most original and intriguing genres of commentary on early modern fiction in English. Surprisingly, the front materials of the ’lesser’fictional texts published between 1650 and 1760 have not yet received the scholarly attention they deserve, and have been only selectively reprinted so far. The purpose of this anthology is to make many of these prefaces available, including a number of texts authored by translators and editors of fiction published in English translation during this period. An introductory essay proposes a typology of the various strategies of legitimization of narrative prose fiction in early modern Britain, through an examination of the recurrent tropes and codes of the genre. It suggests that prefaces to narrative prose fiction in English played a key role in the emergence of a new status for fiction in the years that have traditionally been associated with accounts of the ’origins’of the ’novel’.

Peeters - La République des Lettres
510 pages - 16 × 24 cm
ISBN 978-90-429-3310-1 - janvier 2017

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