The Makers of English Fiction

The Makers of English Fiction

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The Makers of English Fiction

The Makers of English Fiction

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Excerpt

Daniel Defoe, born 1661, in the parish of St. Giles, Cripplegate, London. Served in King William's army, 1688. Published a satirical poem , "The True-born Englishman," 1701; "The Shortest Way with Dissenters," 1703. Imprisoned in same year; released in August, 1704. Published Robinson Crusoe, 1719; Memoirs of a Cavalier, 1720; Moll Flanders, "The Journal of the Plague Year," The History of Colonel Jacob, 1722; "Roxana," 1724. Died in Ropemakers' Alley, Moorfields, April 26th, 1731, and was buried in Bunhill Fields .

PROSE fiction, which has come to occupy so large a part in English literature, was relatively a late growth. It first takes definite form in Lyly Euphues, the Anatomy of Wit, published in 1579. This book had an extraordinary success, due less to the story it unfolds, which is slight enough, than to the novelty of its style. Shakespeare was well acquainted with Lyly's masterpiece, for it is tolerably clear that he occasionally parodied, or perhaps imitated, its trick of antithesis, and its passion for ornament; but Shakespeare did not perceive that it marked the genesis of a new kind of imaginative literature which was destined to usurp the place of the acted drama. Perhaps it appeared to him, as to all his contemporaries, an illegitimate form of art. The drama . . .

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