Anna Barbauld: The British Novelists

(1602 words)

In 1810, the London bookselling firm of F. C. and J. Rivington and their associates brought out a handsomely bound and pricey fifty volume collection of twenty-five novels spanning the previous century of British literature. Entitled The British Novelists, the publication constituted a landmark in the history of the British novel. No collection that professed to offer complete texts of a definitive set of exclusively British novels had as yet made its way to the public. A few ostensibly authoritative collections of poetry had been published, most notably Samuel Johnson’s Works of the English Poets (1779-81). International anthologies and selections of abridged British novels had appeared, as had complete works of a…

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Waters, Mary. "The British Novelists". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 15 January 2007
[, accessed 29 November 2015.]