Romance for Sale in Early Modern England: The Rise of Prose Fiction
The major claim made by this study is that early modern English prose fiction self-consciously invented a new form of literary culture in which professional writers created books to be printed and sold to anonymous readers. It further claims that this period's narrative innovations emerged not solely from changes in early modern culture like print & the book market, but also from the rediscovery of a forgotten late classical text from North Africa, Heliodorus's Aethiopian History. In making these claims, Steve Mentz provides a comprehensive historicist and formalist account of prose romance, the most important genre of Elizabethan fiction. He explores how authors and publishers of prose fiction in late 16th-century England produced books that combined traditional narrative forms with a dynamic new understanding of the relationship between text and audience.
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