Explain the following: Social changes in Britain which led to an increase in women readers
As the middle classes became more affluent, women got more leisure time to read and write novels. Also, novels began to explore the world of women, their emotions, identities, experiences and problems. Domestic life became an essential subject of novels- a field women had an authority to speak about.
Explain the following: What actions of Robinson Crusoe make us see him as a typical coloniser.
Robinson Crusoe's actions that make us see him as a typical coloniser are many. Shipwrecked on an island inhabited by coloured people, Crusoe treats them as inferior beings. He is portrayed as "rescuing" a native and then making him a slave. He gives him the name Friday, without even caring to ask for his name. Colonised people were seen as barbaric and primitive, and colonialism became their self-professed civiliser. Crusoe was a direct representation of this ideology of colonisers.
Explain the following: After 1740, the readership of novels began to include poorer people.
After 1740, the readership of novels began to include poorer people because of the introduction of circulating libraries, low-priced books, and also because of the system of hiring out of books by the hour. This made books easily available to the poor people, who could not afford books earlier due to high costs and absence of lending libraries.
Novelists in colonial India wrote for a political cause because the novel was a powerful medium for expressing social defects and suggesting remedies for the same. It also helped establish a relationship with the past. Since people from all walks of life could read novels, it was an easy way to popularise anti-colonial ideas. It also helped bring about a sense of national unity among the people.
Outline the changes in technology and society which led to an increase in readers of the novel in eighteenth-century Europe.
→ Print made novels to be read widely and become popular quickly.
→ Novels produced a number of common interests and a variety of readers.
→ Readers were drawn into the story and identified themselves with the lives of fictitious characters. They now could think about issues like love and marriage, proper conduct for men and women.
→ Prosperity, due to industrialisation, made new groups join the readership for novels. Besides the aristocratic and gentlemanly classes, new groups of lower-middle-class people such as shopkeepers and clerks joined in.
→ The rise in the earnings of authors freed them the from the patronage of aristocrats. They could now experiment with different literary styles. Epistolary novel – Samuel Richardson’s Pamela – written in the 18th century was the first of its kind. It was a story told through letters.
→ Books became cheap and even the poor could buy them. Circulating libraries made books easily accessible. Publishers also started hiring out novels. Books could now be read in private or could be heard by more people, while one of them read it out.
→ Magazines serialised stories (Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers was the first), illustrated them and sold them cheap.
All these changes increased the number of readers.