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Newgate Novel


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Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803—1873) writer and politician

Charles Dickens (1812—1870) novelist

John Gay (1685—1732) poet and playwright

Henry Fielding (1707—1754) author and magistrate

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A term applied to certain popular English novels of the 1830s that are based on legends of 18th-century highwaymen and other notorious criminals as recorded in the Newgate Calendar (c.1773). Edward Bulwer's Paul Clifford (1830) and Eugene Aram (1832), along with W. H. Ainsworth's Rookwood (1834) and Jack Sheppard (1840), were the principal examples, and all came under fierce attack from critics, including W. M. Thackeray, who accused them of encouraging crime. Dickens's Oliver Twist (1838) shares many features of Newgate fiction, but it managed to escape the censure meted out to Ainsworth and Bulwer.

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