History and the Early English Novel

Matters of Fact from Bacon to Defoe

History and the Early English Novel

Robert Mayer argues that the modern English novel emerged from historical writing. Historical discourse in the seventeenth century embraced not only "history" in its modern sense, but also fiction, polemic, gossip, and marvels. Mayer shows how the narratives of Daniel Defoe--unlike those of his contemporaries Aphra Behn and Delarivière Manley--were read, in their own time, as history, making connections that later novelists developed. This new study makes an important contribution to the continuing debate about the origins of the novel in Britain.


"...a well-researched look at the writing and reading of history in the 17th century..." H. Benoist, Choice