The Myth of Minerva: Publishing, Popular Fiction, and the Rise of the Novel


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




"The Myth of Minerva" focuses on the novels of the Minerva Press, the most prolific English fiction publisher of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Drawing on extensive archival research, this project argues that the Minerva Press's many novels present a challenge to critical frameworks that privilege the singularity of authorial genius. Instead, these novels offer a model of authorship that redirects attention from the individual author to a broader field of literary production: each novel is written, and intended to be read, as one in a group of many. Tracing the connections between genre development, reception history, and the material conditions of publication, this dissertation challenges traditional prestige-focused accounts of the rise of the novel.