Novels of Interest

15. The use of the ‘three-decker’ novel persisted into the Victorian period, as evidenced by Oliver Cromwell: A Romance (1840), but as this narrative demonstrates, new and old novels were packaged in a number of ways by publishers and by buyers throughout the Romantic period. Publishers sold novels collected in one volume, individually in one volume, divided into multiple volumes and serially, according to their understanding of the market for books. Buyers bound their novels expensively in calf with gilt edges, more modestly in cloth, or sometimes not at all, depending on interest, use and budget. Just as authors responded to historical circumstances according to their own interests, the production and reception of the novel in the Romantic period was relative to the interests of both publishers and readers situated within changing social, economic and political conditions.