ABSTRACT. The present article focuses on the major role played by popular culture in the development of eighteenth-century literature as a product catering to all walks of life. Although deemed as a set of social, cultural and artistic practices disparaged until the end of the eighteenth century, I claim that the elite did not refer to the category in question as a mere residue of cultural history. Conversely, in the early decades of the century, the polite became even more engaged in refining certain popular forms of entertainment they were conversant with. I shall argue that the “high” and the “low” were enmeshed in an ongoing process meant to reshape and redefine the idea of public entertainment. In doing so, my purpose is to show that entertainment, taken in a broad sense, was not only a matter of unpalatable performance ridiculed by the better sort of writers in their satirical works, but also a crucial ingredient of emerging genres, such as the newspaper, the periodical essay, and, most notably, the novel.

Keywords: popular culture; literature in eighteenth-century England; satire; the periodical essay; the newspaper; the novel

How to cite: Ivana D (2020) Popular culture as a stimulus for literary creativity: the case for eighteenth-century England. Creativity 3(1): 85–101. doi:10.22381/C3120204

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University of Bucharest,
Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures,
English Department; Bucharest, Romania

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