Post by Robert Carnegie Post by Lynn McGuire Post by Robert Carnegie
Our wise ancestors saw no inconsistency in one novel
appearing as three volumes.
According to this, which I've skimmed, libararies
So the Honorverse series would be 57 novels instead of 19 ? Kind of
like the Tarzan and Tom Swift books ? Not even close to the Perry
Rhodan books though.
No, no. 57 /volumes/. How many distinct novels,
I allow you to decide.
If the page I linked to gives a reliable account of this,
the "triple-decker" was physically robust - and sold to
commercial libraries as being too expensive for most
readers, but might be followed by a cheaper-priced
but not necessarily worse retail edition in three volumes
or just one. Library customers might pay to borrow one
volume at a time, and work through the set thus.
Our genre trilogies correspond fairly well to these
triple-deckers, and much of the latter was pulp-ish
in content - although above the class of "shilling
shocker" and "penny dreadful" - so the pattern of
Extruded Fantasy Product also rhymes with what came
before. But it's also how the good stuff came out.
Explains a reference in the novel _Vice Versa_ by F. Anstey (1882):
passing the time with that description of literature
known as "Sunday reading."
And here, at the risk of being guilty of a digression, I
must pause to record my admiration for this exceedingly
happy form of compromise, which is, I think, peculiar to
the British and, to a certain extent, the American
It has many developments; ranging from the mild
Transatlantic compound of cookery and camp-meetings, to
the semi-novel, redeemed and chastened by an arrangement
which sandwiches a sermon or a biblical lecture between
each chapter of the story—a great convenience for the
race of skippers.
Then there are one or two illustrated magazines which it
is always allowable to read on the Sabbath without fear
of rebuke from the strictest—though it is not quite easy
to see why.
Open any one of the monthly numbers, and the chances are
that you may possibly find at one part a neat little
doctrinal essay by a literary bishop; the rest of the
contents will consist of nothing more serious than a paper
upon "cockroaches and their habits" by an eminent savant;
a description of foreign travel, done in a brilliant and
wholly secular vein; and, further on again, an article on
æsthetic furniture—while the balance of the number will be
devoted to instalments of two thrilling novels by popular
authors, whose theology is seldom their strongest point.
Oddly enough, too, when these very novels come out later
in three-volume form, with the "mark of the beast" in the
shape of a circulating library ticket upon them, they will
be fortunate if they are not interdicted altogether by
some of the serious families who take in the magazines as
being "so suitable for Sundays."
Post by Robert Carnegie
I'm just puzzled that when libraries capped their price
per volume, you didn't get novels in four, five, or six
instalments. Perhaps that was tried; I haven't yet
finished reading the article.
Would that require changing the story to a five-act structure? How does a five-act structure differ from the classic three-act -- if that is, as I've heard, "In the first act, you chase your hero up a tree, in the second act, you throw rocks at him up there, in the third act, he comes down from the tree."?
Are the three volumes of the novel already at the limit of their padding? The lending libraries seem to be on the Netflix mail model; a subscription fee for all you can use, with the throttling mechanism not shipping or corporate handling, but that the volumes cannot be blown through in an evening.
My Halloween reading is Jane Austen's _Northanger Abbey_(1803-ish), in which her heroine reads novels, because heroines in novels should stand together. Have to look up if any of the "horrid" titles she mentions are actual books.