"As for the common trash of novels, under which the press has groaned, which have introduced so wretched a taste of reading, and have been so hurtful to young minds, particularly of the female sex, they are unworthy to be named, except in the way of censure."
-- The English Review, Or, An Abstract of English and Foreign Literature, Vol V, 1785
Charles Robert Maturin was a writer of gothic novels. But he was also one of the critics who wrote dismissively of sentimental novels and the people who read them and wrote them.
“The path of novel-writing once laid open was imagined easy by all, and for about forty years the press was deluged with works to which we believe the literary history of no other country could produce a parallel. The milliner’s prentices who had expended their furtive hours, and drenched their maudlin fancies with tales of kneeling lords and ranting baronets at the feet of fair seamstresses, fair as they believed themselves to be, and in narrow back parlours as dark as their own, soon found it easy to stain the well-thumbed pages of a circulating library book with flimsy sentiments, and loose descriptions of their own..."
Just like Austen, Maturin wrote a pretty funny parody of this type of novel. Read on for more...