Forbidden to Marry, by Isabella Banks
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Forbidden to Marry by Isabella Varley Banks (1821-1897) typifies the "triple-decker" novel, which was a standard form of publishing for British fiction from the early 1800s until the 1890s. The market for this form of fiction was closely tied to commercial "circulating libraries," such as Mudie’s and W. H. Smith. Unlike free public libraries, these circulating libraries charged patrons to borrow books, much like video rental stores do today. Publishing longer works of fiction was quite expensive, and by releasing them in multiple parts publishers captured an audience who eagerly awaited the next installment while proceeds from the first volumes paid for the printing of later volumes. Often sensational in subject matter, the genre was populated by heroines in danger, misdirected letters, amazing coincidences, characters in disguise, potions and poisons. This copy of Forbidden to Marry contains an autographed photograph of and inscription by the author. The University of Illinois Library holds one of the largest collections of triple-decker novels and will be digitizing many of them over the coming year. To see more titles as they are added, visit http://illinois.edu/goto/triple_deckers