Fashion and celebrity may be twenty-first century obsessions, but they were also key concepts in Regency culture. Both celebrated and condemned for their popularity, silver fork novels were extremely prolific during this period. This study looks at the social and literary impact of this significant genre.
"Glimpses of the silver fork novel’s cultural prominence have surely produced a desire among critics for a wider, deeper view of this genre’s aesthetic qualities and ideological effects. Wilson’s book…inform[s] readers about a number of topics about which they need to know if they wish to make more specialized arguments about the silver fork novel’s contexts and influence. Wilson…explain[s]…how these novels and novelists banked on the reading public’s fascination with the apparently exclusive world of aristocratic society. She then moves on to make other parts of the genre legible to readers who might be unfamiliar with them. [The book] reflect[s] some of the critical trends that have characterized nineteenth-century studies over the past few decades—a more serious interest in marginal, non-canonical literary works; a move toward increasingly factual, less abstract accounts of literary history; and an attempt to recover the concrete mechanisms of literary production and reception." --Amanpal Garcha, The Ohio State University, Victorian Studies