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The Oxford History of the Novel in English is a 12-volume series presenting a comprehensive, global, and up-to-date history of English-language prose fiction and written by a large, international team of scholars. The series is concerned with novels as a whole, not just the 'literary' novel, and each volume includes chapters on the processes of production, distribution and reception, and on popular fiction and the fictional sub-genres, as well as outlining the work of major novelists, movements and tendencies.
This volume offers the fullest and most nuanced account available of the last eight decades of British prose fiction. It begins during the Second World War, when novel production fell by more than a third, and ends at a time when new technologies have made possible the publication of an unprecedented number of fiction titles and have changed completely the relationship between authors, publishers, the novel and the reader. The collection is made up of thirty-four chapters by leading scholars in the field who detail the impact of global warfare on the novel from the Second World War to the Cold War to the twenty-first century; the reflexive continuities of late modernism; the influence of film and television on the novel form; mobile and fluid connections between sexuality, gender and different periods of women's writing; a broad range of migrant and ethnic fictions; and the continuities and discontinuities of prose fiction in different regional, national, class and global contexts. Across the volume there is a blurring of the boundary between genre fiction and literary fiction, as the literary thinking of the period is traced in the spy novel, the children's novel, the historical novel, the serial novel, shorter fiction, the science fiction novel, and the comic novel. The final chapters of the volume explore the relationship of twenty-first century fiction to post-war culture, and show how this new fiction both emerges from the history of the novel, and prefigures the novel to come.