We can’t mention the beginning of the novel without mentioning Daniel
Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719), he uses news (reports of the castaway
Alexander Selkirk), the Puritan spiritual autobiography, the religious
allegory, and the travelogue into a tale .Even if it isn’t a novel it is
considered as a representative early novel.
Pamela (1740) often is seen as the first novel. In it, he claimed he
would "instruct" and "entertain"; it became one of the first
"bestsellers". It is the story of maid, who, through chastity, wins the
heart of her master and becomes his wife. Richardson's contemporary
readers were treated to what they identified as a new level of literary
"realism" in Pamela ; Ian Watt argues that this novel inaugurated the
psychological novel genre, because it focused on the psyche of one
character, though many argue that this distinction should be awarded to
William Godwin’s Caleb Williams (1795). Richardson achieved this feat
through “epistolarity ,” i.e. the novel is a series of Pamela's letters
to her parents. This style became popular after Pamela, and writers such
as Frances Burney adopted it .
In 1749, Henry Fielding published Tom
Jones his major, novelistic response to Pamela, criticizing what he saw
as "vulgar" or "low" language in Pamela, and its leveling theme. The
hero of Tom Jones, a seeming orphan, begins as a rake, reforms, and
discovers he is an aristocrat, thus gaining his fortune. Fielding saw
himself as reinstating the proper social hierarchy that Richardson
challenged. He also was trying to lay the foundations for the new genre,
denouncing Richardson’s popular style, and describing his own novel as a
“comic epic in prose,”.
Then came Tobias Smollett , in his
novel Humphry Clinker where men became the monster Lismahago
.Lismahago , in fact , is dehumanized he is represented as an insect ,
characters in smollett have been deprived of their
humanity , he stressed the unnaturalness .
Laurence Sterne had good
philosophical and psychological bases for his view of the mind’s working
, his characters express ways of behavior that are permanent from
generation to generation .
During that time, the genre of the novel
became fixed , i.e. readers knew what to expect. Typically, the novel
was the story of the education, from earlier in the century, such as
the scandal novels of Eliza Haywood, fell by the wayside.
mid-century, these two novels, and others, spawned the novel of
sensibility. In it, the protagonist, most often a young woman, naively
encounters the world and learns to refine her natural goodness.
Sensibility was a character trait important in the mid- to
late-eighteenth century. A person with sensibility was attuned with
nature and was easily, and rightly, affected by the feelings of others;
the "sensible" person noticed the hurt of others and was an indicator of
social morality. An excellent example of this type of novel is Frances
Burney's Evelina (1778), wherein the heroine, while naturally good, in
part for being country-raised, hones her politeness when visiting
London—she is educated into propriety. This novel also is the beginning
of "romantic comedy".
At the end of the eighteenth century,
sensibility's value was questioned, as it made its bearers, particularly
women, too exasperate and too prone to imagining worlds beyond their
appointed ones. These anxieties are in the rise of the Gothic novel, at
century's end. The Gothic novel's story occurs in a distant time and
place, often Renaissance Italy, and involved the fantastic exploits of
an imperiled heroine. The classic Gothic novel is Radcliff’s The
Mysteries of Udolpho (1794). As in other Gothic novels, the notion of
the sublime is central. Eighteenth-century aesthetic theory held that
the sublime and the beautiful were juxtaposed. The sublime was awful
(awe-inspiring) and terrifying while the beautiful was calm and
comforting . The characters and landscapes of the Gothic rest almost
entirely within the sublime, with the heroine the great exception.