The Silver-Fork Novel

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

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Angela Tse (Hong Kong Polytechnic University)

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The silver-fork novel flourished between the mid-1820s and the 1840s, offering a rich portrayal of contemporary fashionable life. The name of the genre comes from the essay “The Dandy School” by William Hazlitt, published in The Examiner in 1827:

A writer of this accomplished stamp, comes forward to tell you, not how his hero feels on any occasion, for he is above that, but how he was dressed, and makes him a mere lay-figure of fashion with a few pert, current phrases in his mouth. … Then he gives you the address of his heroine’s milliner, lest any shocking surmise should arise in your mind of the possibility of her dealing with a person of less approved taste, and also informs you t…

2989 words

Citation: Tse, Angela. "The Silver-Fork Novel". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 October 2019 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=19315, accessed 30 January 2023.]

19315 The Silver-Fork Novel 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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