Commerce and Culture

5. The Serialized Novel in the Nineteenth Century

Commerce and Culture
Paul A. Cantor

Dickens’ work reflects popular culture as a feedback mechanism. He saluted middle class virtues. He praised capitalism. He had high regard for free enterprise. Dickens was the greatest novelist in English. Dickens died a very wealthy man.

We are now in the world of commodification. Mass production of a unified product was demanded. Commercialization kept artists rooted in living audiences.

Serialization meant that a typical novel was three books of twenty parts each over a year or a year and a half, because the novel in single book form was too expensive. British publishing was the greatest opportunity open to women in the world by that time. There was ease of entry. The market tried everything.

Lecture 5 of 10 from Paul Cantor’s Commerce and Culture.