2008 MM Origins of the Novel 1473-1700

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The modern novel is still generally seen as a production beginning in the period around 1700 – if Defoe was not its father, Aphra Behn, a generation earlier, had to be its mother. Traditionally a production of “romances” was believed to have preceded the early novel – French baroque romances the expert on English literature could dare to ignore.

The seminar will step into the territory before 1700 and look at the various beginnings offered here be it in the form of shorter prose stories (“novels” in the original sense of the word), of “romances”, or of more or less fictitious diaries and histories, of works of taste and of “low” entertainments.

A body of six texts will be discussed in group, individual research should use the debate to branch out into individual fields of interest.

Get your share of the national license so that you can access

  • EEBO — book production 1473-1700
  • ECCO — the book production of the 18th century
  • more links at Links

• 09.04.2008

Course outline

• 16.04.2008: Thie rise of the novel

Work to be done: Read either of Manley's Novels 3 and 4 (personal preference) and compare them with the respective parallel novel in Painter (Nos. 42-43). Direct links to pdf files on the institute's server: Painter [1] - Manley [2]

• 23.04.2008: The market of novels

Where do we find the word, what does it signify? How does it relate to the novella?


  • search The ESTC for the term novel, create an overview of the quantitative production. We can split this and look at centuries or half centuries and put the results together in joint work.
  • take a look at Ian Watt's Rise of the Novel and get a gist of the argument. What does he say about the early market?

Fabian tried to access EEBO without a national license access code - which he could not outside the university web. We decided that I would give a link to a novel of my choice:

  • The English monsieur a comical novel : wherein his travells, amours, and other passages of his life no less strange than delightful, are faithfully set down by an impartial hand : in four parts. London: Printed for William Cademan ..., 1679. EEBO Anglistik Server Oldenburg

I choose it because it had a French touch and an English topic. You may read this as your preparation or any other novel you rather want to read and find in EEBO. Note: Your title has to bear the word "novel" oder "novela" or "nouvelle" (etc.) on the title page - and I will appreciate a short statement on what made you choose your novel out of the many. --Olaf Simons 20:09, 21 April 2008 (CEST)

--> I (Fabian) have made a choice; if you would like to read two texts or if you would like to read mine rather than the other, please look up the following novel at EEBO:
  • Aphra Behn: "The unfortunate bride, or, The Blind lady a beauty", 1700

That's the following EEBO-Link --Olaf Simons 20:14, 21 April 2008 (CEST)

• 30.04.2008: Novels vs. Romances

We shifted the schedule to delay the Rogue stories - so a third session on "novels".


  • Compare Ian Watt on the Rise of the Novel with the preface to The Secret History, of Queen Zarah, and the Zarazians (Albigion, 1705) - which you will find in French, English and German contemporary versions at http://www.pierre-marteau.com/editions/1683-1712-novels.html
  • Read either The English monsieur a comical novel : wherein his travells, amours, and other passages of his life no less strange than delightful, are faithfully set down by an impartial hand : in four parts. London: Printed for William Cademan ..., 1679. EEBO Anglistik Server Oldenburg
  • or read a "novel" (the word has to appear on the title page) of your choice from EEBO - and offer us a title page reproduction and a short summary.


  • What do our novels have in common?
  • How do your observations relate to the preface of Queen Zarah and to Ian Watt's book
  • Why should short novels be better than long romances?
  • ...more questions? Ask them here.

• 7.5.2008: Rogue stories

Group: Bastian Martens, Robert Stahlschmidt, Malte Maria Unverzagt, Iris Poller

Session: Discussion of Ian Watt's Rise of the Novel - and its problems.

• 14.05.2008: Rogue stories

Reading material for this session: Rogue Stories Research Group

Those who went into the Rogue stories group will find first hints in my book p.525-28. The most important text (which cannot become a seminar reading in its entirety) is Richard Head's English Rogue (1665 ff.) See the en.wikipedia-article. More difficult to categorise are the reports on criminals which did also occasionally adopt the title of "rogue" stories. "Satirical romances" are a parallel genre - or the larger genre incorporating these stories...


  • The group should do some research on the ESTC to get an impression of how many of these books were produced between 1473 and 1700
  • Each group member should choose a title of his or her interest and propose it as seminar reading. A Thesenpapier of ideas on the questions below would be welcome to feed the discussion.
  • Course work: we split the English Rogue into sections of four chapters per person (everyone remembers his or her sections?) Fill in short notes on your chapters here Richard Head, English Rogue (1665)

Seminar debate

  • What do these titles have in common? Is there a genre - or is it a mixture of crime cases and satirical romances? What does the research in our library say about these titles (see the Handapparat). In case you find secondary literature on the subject in MLA we do not have, tell me and I take care that the library buys them.

• 21.05.2008: Chap books - the market of cheap books

Group: Dorothee Keßler

One can find almost all types of 16th and 17th century fiction in prestigious and in cheap editions - chap books. A list touching all the different genres of cheap books can be found at the end of one of these books published in 1719: The Illustrious and Renown'd History of the Seven Famous Champions of Christendom (London: T. Norris/ A. Bettesworth, 1719). ECCO

Prepare the session with a look through the following four items (of which you will have seen one already) - with the exception of Don Bellianis they each of these items is shorter than a Hemingway short story:

  • Smithson, Samuel. The famous history of Guy Earl of Warwick. 1600. EEBO
  • J. S. The famous history of the valiant London-prentice. 1693 EEBO - this is the story of a London apprentice who, humiliated by his boss and rejected by his bosses daughter makes a spectacular career in the Muslim world.
  • Fernández, Jerónimo. The honour of chivalry, or the famous and delectable history of Don Bellianis of Greece. ... Translated out of Italian. London, [1713?]. 168pp ECCO I choose this edition as it is adorned with spectacular illustrations; read at least four pages to get an impression of style and plot design. The "List of Illustrations" gives you direct access to the wood cuts.
  • R. H. The life and death of the English rogue 1679. EEBO - a short version of Richard Head's English Rogue (1666).

Remember that you can create pdf files from all these texts (put texts on a marked list and then follow the instructions...)

• 28.05.2008: Pornography - if the term is appropriate

Group: Sonja, Kendall K. Sadler, Marie-Catherine Bartels

Problem is here that the term "pornography" was not in use though we have stories we could put into the category. Some of the titles Inger Leemans listed for the Dutch market had English predecessors. I can provider Ingers dissertation - it is in Dutch. She also gave list on the web.

I was expecting some hints at text one might try to read as pornographic - here a list of items that just come to my mind... --Olaf Simons 13:28, 24 May 2008 (CEST)

French Titles

  • [L’Ecole des Filles (c.1655)] Venus in the cloister, Or The nun in her smock. In curious dialogues, addressed to the Lady Abbess of Loves Paradice, by the Abbot Du Prat. Done out of French. (London: Printed for H. Rodes, 1683). EEBO

English Titles

Dutch Titles

  • The London Bully (London: Printed by Hen. Clark, for Tho. Malthus, 1683). EEBO
  • The London Jilt, or The Politick Whore (London: Henry Rhodes, 1683). EEBO
    • [pt. 2, first edition] (London: Henry Rhodes, 1683). EEBO
  • The Dutch rogue or, Gusman of Amsterdam [...]. Out of Nether-dutch (London: Printed by A. M. for Greg. Hill, 1683). EEBO

A Classic

  • Apuleius. The. xi. bookes of the Golden asse conteininge the Metamorphosie of Lucius Apuleius, enterlaced with sondrie pleasaunt and delectable tales, with an excellent narration of the mariage of Cupide and Psiches, set out in the. iiii. v. and vj. bookes. Translated out of Latine into Englishe by VVilliam Adlington. (London: Henry VVykes, 1566). EEBO
    • [I do not know how this compares to the story I read in this edition:] Lucian, of Samosata. The works of Lucian, translated from the Greek, by several eminent hands. (London, 1710-11). 424pp. Vol. 1, p.114-143: "Lucian's ASS. [Translated] By Andrew Baden, M. D.]" ECCO - which is a wonderful reading.

Advice (non fictional)

  • [Sinibaldi, Giovanni Benedetto, 1594-1658.] Rare verities. The cabinet of Venus unlocked, and her secrets laid open. : Being a translation of part of Sinibaldus, his Geneanthropeia, and a collection of some things out of other Latin authors, never before in English. London: Printed for P. Briggs, at the Dolphin in St Pauls Church-yard, 1658). EEBO
  • [Available on the marked of cheap books:] Aristoteles Master-piece, or, The secrets of generation diplayed in all the parts thereof (London: Printed for J. How, 1684). EEBO
  • Onania; or, the heinous sin of self-pollution, and all its frightful consequences, in both sexes, considerd, ... The eighth edition, corrected, and enlarg’d (London, 1723). 211pp. ECCO


  • Atkins, John Alfred. Sex in Literature. London: Calder & Boyars, (1970-1982)
  • A history of Erotic Literature (1982) ISBN 0333341260 - Patrick J. Kearney
  • Sarah Toulalan, Imagining Sex: Pornography and Bodies in Seventeenth-Century England (Oxford: OUP, 1 2007). ISBN 0199209146

I still have not got any idea what you colleagues intended to as class reading. I propose you all take a tour through these books. Is there one title (published before 1740) among them you'd accept as pornography - and why? Do you find pornographic passages (Cleland is easy - yet I wonder about the other titles), why should one consider the passages or books you select as pornographic. --Olaf Simons 20:45, 26 May 2008 (CEST)

Hi @ all, sorry for the delay. We hope, that you are able to read the chosen passages for tomorrow.


  • Cleland, John, Memoirs of F****** H***. ... London, 1784. 135 pp. Vol. 1 of 2 (2 vols. available).

p. 35-38, p. 42-49

  • Guilleragues, Gabriel Joseph de Lavergne, vicomte de. Love without affectation, in five letters from a Portuguese nun, to a French cavalier. Done into English verse, from the newest edition lately printed at Paris. London, 1709. 118pp.

p. 1-10 (Letter the First), p. 25-39 (Letter the Third)

  • Rhodes, Henry, The London jilt: or, The Politick Whore. London, 1683.

p. 1-12

  • You can download these texts via stud.ip !


Compare the different writing styles and the content of these passages.

• 4.06.2008: Secret histories and politics

Group: Alex Storch, Jan Gaebel, Christian Ueckert.

Questions for all:

What does the Preface say about the book What historical background is given? How does the title compare to the titles we read that far? What sympathies evolve? Where were you surprised?

Question for those in the politics group: What do we know about the "real history"? - Janet Todd gives you information here with her edition.

Reading for all: If you do not read Janett Todd's edition you might read my annotated html-version:


If you want to print it, you should use the following link in order to get the text without the frame:


The entire first volume published in autumn 1683 counted 344 pages - 12mo (duodecimo), that is the smallest format, with hardly any text printed on them. My html version counts 103 pages A4 (with massive margin using the firefox browser). You should manage to read 50 pages of the 103 pages your browser will produce, that is up to page 190 of the original pagination. --Olaf Simons 18:33, 28 May 2008 (CEST)

• 11.06.2008: Secret histories and politics

• 18.06.2008: Romances

Group: Manuela Seidel , Anke Herbers, Christina Nolte

  • Chavigny de La Bretonnière, François de. The inconstant-lover an excellent romance translated out of French. London : Printed for Tho. Dring ..., 1671. Pages: [6], 214 [i.e. 216] p. original Title: L'amant parjure? EEBO Read p. 34-52 and p. 75-81.
  • Anon. The history of the most renowned Queen Elizabeth and her great favourite, the Earl of Essex. In two parts. A romance. London: printed by and for C. Brown and sold by the booksellers of Pye-corner and London-Bridge, [1700]. EEBO - Read Part 1 p.2-15
  • Desjardin, Marie-Catherine Hortense; Madame de Villedieu. Loves journal a romance, made of the court of Henry the II of France: printed with license at Paris, 1670 and now made English. London: Printed by Thomas Ratcliff and Mary Daniel, and are to be sold by the booksellers in London, 1671. EEBO Please read p. 8-25 ("The Second Day" and "The Third Day")

For a Chapter on differences between romance and novel you might take a look into my book (Marteau's Europa 2001), pp.599-606. I think it will not fit entirely to your titls - you will discover novel-aspects in your "romances". --Olaf Simons 17:30, 10 June 2008 (CEST)

I thought about some topics:

  • The intriguing narration of The inconstant-lover... (Why do we get the peculiar narration? How is it organised, what effects does it yield?)
  • Teaching gallantry and conduct (that can be done on at least the two French titles) - read Pierre Daniel Huet's Treatise on the recent French production.
  • Two fictions - one background: A comparison of Madame de Villedieu's Loves journal a romance, made of the court of Henry the II of France and Marie de LaFayette's Princesse de Cleves (1678). Both titles are situated at the French court of Henry II, the second was immediately translated into English and is one of the best novels ever written - a heartbreaking story (my promise) - I do not know why LaFayette chose this setting - does it offer options Villedieu had exploited successfully?
  • The history of the most renowned Queen Elizabeth and her great favourite, the Earl of Essex - a comparison of the two versions (if it should turn out that they belong together).

• 25.06.2008: King Arthur and the Amadis

  • The famous history of that most renowned Christian worthy Arthur King of the Britaines, and his famous Knights of the Round Table. , [London : printed for Francis Coles at the signe of the Lamb in the Old-Bailey, 1660] EEBO

• 02.07.2008: The history of romances

• 09.07.2008: The history of the novel



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  • Richetti, John J., Popular Fiction before Richardson. Narrative Patterns 1700-1739 (Oxford, 1969).
  • Spufford, Magaret, Small Books and Pleasant Histories (London, 1981). IBIT: bub 276.3 eng AW 8473
  • Davis, Lennard J., Factual Fictions. The Origins of the English Novel (New York, 1983). IBIT: ang 527.3 CE 7661
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  • Reconsidering The Rise of the Novel - Eighteenth Century Fiction, Volume 12, Number 2-3, ed. David Blewett (January-April 2000). ASIN: B000MV7YGA Amazon
  • Michael McKeon, Theory of the Novel: A Historical Approach (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000).
  • Simons, Olaf, Marteaus Europa, oder, Der Roman, bevor er Literatur wurde (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2001).
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