Full Text

6. The Newgate Novel and the Police Casebook

Lauren Gillingham


Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405167659.2010.00007.x


Extract

When a spate of novels appeared in Britain in the 1830s and 1840s dealing principally with crime, criminals, the urban underworld, and prisons, critics responded as though it were not only deplorable, but largely unprecedented. One need only think of works like Defoe's Moll Flanders (1722), Fielding's Jonathan Wild (1743), or Godwin's Caleb Williams (1794) to appreciate that British novels throughout the eighteenth century (not to mention other genres, especially drama) had familiarized readers with illicit acts, immoral desires, and nefarious characters. These new novels, nonetheless, which differed widely from one another in tone, structure, and ideology, were regarded as part of a distinct cultural phenomenon, and were collectively dubbed “Newgate fiction” by literary reviewers. The label referred to the frequency with which these novels drew characters directly from publications of criminal biography such as The Newgate Calendar , or introduced fictional characters who could have appeared in such publications. Even this feature, though, was not especially original. Authors had long been drawing on the narrative resources offered up by Newgate biographies, yet the new crime novels provoked a critical reaction that Keith Hollingsworth suggests was significantly more violent than that which had greeted earlier texts: the Newgate novel “attract[ed] a new kind of attention” ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:

 

     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.


[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top