Resa Dudovitz  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Resa L. Dudovitz is an Anglophone literary theorist specialized in women's fiction.

She has written a good introduction to the bestseller phenomenon and its history:

"A novel which sold well in the eighteenth century - and even the most successful book rarely sold more than a few thousand copies - did so within a fairly closed circle of readers, many of whom as writers also participated in deciding the prevailing criteria of literary excellence." -- page 21.
"By the mid-nineteenth century cheaper editions and improved access to reading material through subscriptions and in France, through reading rooms, pushed sales of a popular novel as high as 10,000 copies. Although critics continued to function as the arbiters of taste, the critical elite could no longer claim literature to be their exclusive property." -- page 22.

Both quotes are from The Myth of Superwoman : Women's Bestsellers in France and the United States (1990) by Resa L. Dudovitz

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