By Martin A Kayman

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Additional info for From Bow Street to Baker Street: Mystery, Detection and Narrative

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The orthodox view of the novel underwrites its modern literary status by viewing it as the realist descendent of the high-cultural prose romance. But the term 'novels' is to be found as early as c. 1566 as a synonym for 'newes', the 'low' literature of popular ballads which constituted the main product of the new press, a growing industry of entertainment and information embracing traditional songs and stories of monsters, scandals and murder. 3 The 'novelty' of the new popular form resided precisely in its being printed, in its capacity, in other words, not only to reach a wider readership but also to transcribe event into text with much greater rapidity.

Whereas Hobbes still clings to his nostalgia for absolutism, arguing that 'Where there is no common Power, there is no Law? for 'liberals' like Locke, where there was no Law there was no legitimate power. Sovereignty was a 'compact', 'contract' or, in Locke's legalistic term, a 'trust', an authority not merely to be instituted, but constituted by rules. The shift is particularly clear in the constitutional debates of the 'Glorious Revolution' of 1688-9. To legitimize its own action, Parliament needed to claim that James II had acted illegally, particularly 34 From Bow Street to Baker Street in using the key and exclusive power of the monarch to grant individual dispensation from the effects of the Law to suspend the Test Acts wholesale.

It is worth noting that the other major work issued by the Press in 1485 was a Life of Charles the Great, and the text whose sales exceeded both Chaucer and Malory was The Book of Good Manners (1487). Malory's compilation of codes which is lacking a code-book is thus bracketed by two non-fictional code-books, the one still looking back to the exemplary life of the incarnation of Romance and feudalism and the other a handbook to teach the rising classes how to behave. Just as the mint provides political power in a mercantile economy, Malory's heterogeneous and fragmented text is related to the development of a market in writing and its new sources and forms of authority.

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