Sederi Yearbook 32

Sederi 32
Sederi 32 — 2022
Marta Cerezo Moreno
Isabel Guerrero Llorente
Miguel Ramalhete
ISSN 1135-7789

María José Coperías-Aguilar, “Between fictionality and reality: The ‘novels’ in the Gentleman’s Journal.” SEDERI 32 (2022): 9‒29

DOI:                                                         Download PDF


The Gentleman’s Journal (1692–1694), generally acknowledged as the first literary English magazine, included in each issue short narratives presented as “novels.” Published by using a fictive letter written from London to a gentleman in the country to keep him both informed and entertained, the use of this letter format brings together a number of elements that will result in the confrontation of fictionality and reality. This paper will discuss the way in which format and content constantly subvert each other throughout the thirty-two issues of the journal, especially in relation to the nature, titles, and content of the “novels.”

Keywords: Restoration prose fiction; early English periodicals; Gentleman’s Journal; fictionality and reality; letter writing.


Adburgham, Alison. 1977. Women in Print: Writing Women and Women’s Magazines from the Restoration to the Accession of Victoria. London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd.

Addison, Joseph, and Sir Richard Steele (1711–1712, 1714) 1965. The Spectator, edited by Donald F. Bond. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Batchelor, Jennie, and Manushag N. Powell. 2018. “Introduction: Women and the Birth of Periodical Culture.” In Women’s Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 16901820s. The Long Eighteenth Century, edited by Jennie Batchelor and Manushag N. Powell, 1–19. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Bayer, Gerd. 2016. Novel Horizons: The Genre Making of Restoration Fiction. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Bayer, Gerd, and Jaroslaw Jasenowski. 2019. “Dragging out the Truth: Restoration Periodicals and the Textual Creation of Gendered Identities.” Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses 79: 15–31.

Bell, Maureen. 2002. “Women Writing and Women Written.” In The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, 15571695. Vol IV, edited by John Barnard, D. F. McKenzie, and Maureen Bell, 431–451. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Berry, Helen. 2003. Gender, Society and Print Culture in Late-Stuart England. The Cultural World of the Athenian Mercury. London: Routledge.

Bond, Richmond P. 1957. “Introduction.” In Studies in the Early English Periodical, edited by Richmond P. Bond, 3–48. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press.

Cannan, Paul D. 2006. The Emergence of Dramatic Criticism in England. From Jonson to Pope. New York and Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.

Congreve, William. 1692. Incognita: Or, Love and Duty Reconcil’d. A Novel. London: Printed for Peter Buck.

Cunningham, Robert Newton. 1933. Peter Anthony Motteux, 16631718: A Biographical and Critical Study. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Davis, Lennard J. (1983) 1996. Factual Fictions. The Origins of the English Novel. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Day, Robert Adams. 1966. Told in Letters. Epistolary Fiction Before Richardson. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.

DiPlacidi, Jenny. 2018. “‘Full of pretty stories’: Fiction in the Lady’s Magazine (17701832).” In Women’s Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 16901820s. The Long Eighteenth Century, edited by Jennie Batchelor and Manushag N. Powell, 263–277. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Ettinghausen, Henry. 1995. “Política y prensa ‘popular’ en la España del Siglo XVII.” Anthropos: Boletín de información y documentación 166–167: 86–90.

Ettinghausen, Henry. 1996. “Hacia una tipología de la prensa española del siglo XVII: de ‘hard news’ a ‘soft porn’.” In Studia Áurea. Actas del III Congreso de la AISO, edited by Ignacio Arellano Ayuso, Carmen Pinillos Salvador, Marc Vitse and Frédéric Serralta,51–56. Pamplona: Universidad de Navarra.

Ettinghausen, Henry. 2005. “Informació, comunicació i poder a l’Espanya del segle XVII.” Manuscrits: revista d’història moderna 23: 45–58.

Ezell, Margaret J. M. 1992. “The Gentleman’s Journal and the Commercialization of Restoration Coterie Literary Practices.” Modern Philology 89, no.3: 323–340.

Ezell, Margaret J. M. 2018. “Multimodal Literacies, Late Seventeenth-Century English Illustrated Broadsheets, and Graphic Narratives.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 51, no.3: 357–373.

Ferdinand, Christine. 1998. “Constructing the Frameworks of Desire: How Newspapers Sold Books in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.” Prose Studies 21, no.2: 157–175.

Foster, Dorothy. 1917. “The Earliest Precursor of Our Present-Day Monthly Miscellanies.” PMLA 32, no.1: 22–58.

The Gentleman’s Journal: Or, the Monthly Miscellany (1692–1694). London: R. Baldwin.

Fowler, Elizabeth. 2003. Literary Character: The Human Figure in Early English Writing. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Graham, Walter. 1926. The Beginnings of English Literary Periodicals. A Study of Periodical Literature 16651715. New York: Oxford University Press.

Hughes, Gillian. 2015. “Fiction in the Magazines.” In The Oxford History of the Novel in English: English and British Fiction 17501820, edited by Peter Garside and Karen O’Brien, 461–477. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Maurer, Shawn Lisa. 2010. “The Periodical.” In The History of British Women’s Writing, 16901750. Vol. IV, edited by Ros Ballaster, 156–172. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.

Mayo, Robert D. 1962. The English Novel in the Magazines, 17401815. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.

McCutcheon, Roger Philip. 1923. “John Houghton, a Seventeenth-Century Editor and Book-Reviewer.” Modern Philology 20, no.3: 255–260.

McKeon, Michael. (1987) 2002. The Origins of the English Novel 16001740. Baltimore and London: The John Hopkins University Press.

Mish, Charles C. 1969. “English Short Fiction in the Seventeenth Century: I. Fiction in the Period 1660–1700.” Studies in Short Fiction 6, no.3: 279–330.

Mitchell, Linda C. 2012. “Teaching Grammar and Composition through Letter Writing in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-century England.” In Letter Writing in Late Modern Europe, edited by Marina Dossena and Gabriella Del Lungo Camiciotti, 229–250. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Raven, James. 2007. The Business of Books: Booksellers and the English Book Trade, 14501850. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Raymond, Joad. 1998. “The Newspaper, Public Opinion, and the Public Sphere in the Seventeenth Century.” Prose Studies 21, no.2: 109–136.

Salzman, Paul. 1985. English Prose Fiction 15581700. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Shevelow, Kathryn. 1989. Women and Print Culture. The Construction of Femininity in the Early Periodical. London and New York: Routledge.

Stearns, Bertha Monica. 1933. “English Periodicals for Ladies (1700–1760).” PMLA 48, no.1: 38–60.

Steele, Sir Richard. 1835. Tatler, with Notes, and a General Index; Complete in One Volume. Philadelphia: M. Wallis Woodward & Co.

Sutherland, James. 1969. English Literature of the Late Seventeenth Century. Oxford History of English Literature. Vol. VII. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sutherland, James. 1986. The Restoration Newspaper and Its Development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tadié, Alexis. 2013. “The Networks of Quarrels: The Strange Case of Peter Anthony Motteux.” Études anglaises 66, no.2: 147–160.

Villegas López, Sonia. 2020. “Truth and Wonder in Richard Head’s Geographical Fictions.” SEDERI 30: 117–137.

Zimbardo, Rose A. 1986. A Mirror to Nature. Transformations in Drama and Aesthetics, 16601732. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky.