The 18th-Century English Novel’s Journey Towards Mass Marketing
Sones-Marceau, Marion (2012-06), The 18th-Century English Novel’s Journey Towards Mass Marketing, International Symposium "Money and Literature/ Money in Literature", 2012-06, Paris, France
TypeCommunication / Conférence
Conference titleInternational Symposium "Money and Literature/ Money in Literature"
MetadataShow full item record
Abstract (EN)A market comprises three elements : a customer need, a product to fill that need and a means of connecting those two requirements to each other. Mass marketing, as it applies to literature, extends the concept of marketing to the reaching of the widest possible public. Up to the 18th century in England, the market for literature was limited. Men and women of letters were either wealthy aristocrats who used part of their leisure time for literary activity, or poorer writers who had literary talents, but no financial means to allow them to pursue their art. The latter writers found a solution in the form of patronage. Through this mechanism the wealthy would financially support them, sometimes in exchange for flattering dedications, sometimes securing them with posts and positions in the royal court and other important institutions. The literature market was growing as such, but exclusively governed by the hand of the wealthy few. There was no requirement for any form of mass publication as the reading public was restricted. The wealthy did not need to have a large-scale market for their books and didn’t need the income either. It wasn’t until the 18th century that the first moves towards building a real bookmarket were starting to take place. The cause was the growth of a wealthier and more literate middle class who wanted literature in a form that appealed to them. That form was to be the novel. The rapid rise of this new genre together with the development of commercial publishers first established a popular market for books, after which the invention of powered-printing presses accelerated literature’s change from a somewhat elitist artform towards a mass-marketed product for the wider public.
Subjects / Keywordsnovel; 18th century; market for literature; Mass marketing
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