The English novel showed new vigour in the 1980s, from writers old and new. As fiction flourishes and poetry shrinks, writing and reading are affected by a marketplace as large as the reach of written English. Reception and production change with new electronic technologies, making the future of literature in the third millennium harder to predict. After a look at such global factors, discussion focuses on the novel’s leading practitioners. The reader of Chapter 15 is invited to turn to the Preface to the Third Edition (p. xviii) for an explanation of the approach adopted.
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